My American Journey

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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MY AMERICAN JOURNEY         The novel, My American Journey, is written by Colin Powell along with the help of co-writer Joseph E. Persico. This book is constructed of four parts, which contain twenty-two chapters, portraying many interesting and valuable information on Colin Powell himself. The autobiography recounts the life of a man from Harlem, New York who becomes the first black general to become Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.

        Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem, New York on April 5, 1937 to father Luther and mother Maud Powell, both from Jamaica. Upon graduation from Morris High School in the South Bronx, The now young adult, Colin studied geology at City College of New York. It was here in New York that he earned his bachelor's degree in the summer of 1958.

        In this book, Powell writes about his anxieties and missteps as well as his triumphs that led to the rising of him becoming a four star general, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, master of the Desert Storm, and most recently he would have been a fine presidential candidate.

Powell's thoughts of running for presidency in the oval office were, "If I were to run, I would enter because I believe I would do a better job than the other candidates of solving our nations problems"¦I would enter not to make a statement, but to win. I understand the battlefield and know what it takes to win." This only part of this mans persuasive speeches.

        We see Colin's first steps forward when he was posted in Germany, and was assigned to guard an atomic cannon. We also go on patrol with him throughout the jungles in Vietnam, where he is wounded, and into Washington bureaucracy as a Pentagon aide in the administration of Jimmy Carter. He is also the humiliation inflicted upon him as a black soldier traveling in the Deep South and the challenges he faced as a battle commander in Korea. Colin handles problems well and acts as if nothing happened. "Get mad and get over it." best describes this influential AAfrican American and may be why he handles some of the problems he was faced with the way he did.

        As an active soldier, Colin experienced the many political decisions in Washington. He has been an advisor to three presidents, therefore, he has seen how important policy is shaped and important decisions are made; thus making and help shaping a few of his own. It was Powell himself that President Ronald Reagan called upon in the White House to help the National Security Advisor, Frank Carlucci, clean up the mess following the Iran-contra debacle. After proving that he knew how to shape and decide to Reagan, President Reagan called upon him once again, but this time he was to accompany Jimmy Carter on his mission to Haiti. During this time is when Colin Powell went from a soldier to a statesperson and a popular leader in the United States.

        This book, very long but still rather interesting was filled with political excitement in much depth and detail. It also a life well lived so far and well portrayed in writing. While reading, you can imagine yourself in Colin's position, in his different roles throughout his young life. Although he is a few years passed his prime, Colin was a fine choice as a presidential candidate, and at the time the book was written had not yet run his full course in politics.

        My American Journey is a title that states the truth of a young black American coming up through some troubled times. From the streets of Harlem to war to a career in politics, you follow him through it all. It is a book to read and to enjoy. It inflicts on you a great sense of admiration, honor, and pride that Colin Powell had not only for himself, but for the United States as well.