Why? Read his memorable memoir published in 2005 for a thousand reasons, and then some .
Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“One Soldier’s Story: A Memoir”, by Bob Dole. Harper, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers: 2005; 287 pages. Available from Amazon in print and Amazon Kindle.
Numberless biographies, magazine articles, radio and television interviews, to say nothing of thousands of newspaper nibbles and snippets covering virtually all aspects of his life, are available, but none more deserving to be read and pondered than his own quietly written words.
Reviews at the time of the original publication of his poignant and inspiring personal experiences and recollections of life’s episodes assisted Bob’s reminiscences, often sad, catapult into a national bestseller, and rightly so. The New York Times bannered, “A harrowing tale of wartime courage and suffering . . . Affecting!”; the Philadelphia Inquirer insisted, “Dole’s odyssey of courage and determination can be a guideline to us all”; “Compelling”, cried the Boston Globe, “A great and important story”; “Gripping, deeply inspiring, Bob has produced a surprisingly wonderful book,” echoed the Toledo Blade; “A marvelous tribute to the World War II generation. Dole has produced a journal of hope and recovery that will resonate with millions of readers”, the Library Journal starred in its review.
Simply put, this nondescript “book reviewer” will neither comment whether Bob was a gifted writer nor critique his narrative skills. He is proud to say, however, that from Day One, he liked the man because of his natural animal warmth. In him, he saw hope for the Senator’s vision of American manhood. Bob, himself, could easily serve as the exemplar, benign and gracious; decent and seemingly; always propitious, ready, brave, resolute, with an added unbreachable backbone of steel; and, especially, old-fashioned respect and honor, kindly feelings toward all, gentleness, and loving patience, just as his parents brought him up to be. I’ve often wondered if Bob would have been capable of lying, even once, to the American people; of any “smidgen” of scandal or corruption, even selfishly swiping, now and then, a paper clip from the Oval Office; of betraying loyalty, even in its barest form, to man or animal; or, cheating, even in fantasy, on his wife; of turning his back on the destitute, indigent, crippled, and hungry. Only one answer is needed to respond. And, if you turn to page 277 in “One Soldier’s Story”, you’ll find it at the bottom. It is one of Bob’s more memorable quotations:
“In the final analysis, our country’s problems would vanish overnight if we could just get Ike’s words right when he wrote on the eve of the Normandy invasion: ‘The troops, the air and navy, will do all that bravery and devotion to duty can do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone’. This is what great leaders do, not just in the Senate but also in daily life. They face life without flinching. They make the tough decisions. They live with consequences whether good or bad. They make the most of what they have. That’s the kind of leader I have always tried to be.”