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No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy: The Life of General James Mattis

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The first in-depth look at the marine hero who has become one of the most beloved and admired men in America today: Secretary of Defense James Mattis. A devout student of history and erudite reader revered by rank and file soldiers, officers, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens, General James Mattis is one of the most admired leaders serving America today. A man w The first in-depth look at the marine hero who has become one of the most beloved and admired men in America today: Secretary of Defense James Mattis. A devout student of history and erudite reader revered by rank and file soldiers, officers, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens, General James Mattis is one of the most admired leaders serving America today. A man who has long used his position as a model for the soldiers he leads, Mattis in 2003 shared a "Message to All Hands" with the men and women under his command, outlining their responsibilities as soldiers of the corps. Emphasizing the importance of the mission and the goal to act with honor, Mattis ended with the motto he had adopted from another great figure, Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla: "Demonstrate to the world that there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a US Marine." The first Trump presidential cabinet nominee, Mattis, retired from activity military duty for only three years at the time, received a rare Congressional waiver to hold the civilian position of Secretary of Defense, and in the hyper-partisan political atmosphere of 2017, astonishingly received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support for his nomination. After months of headline-making chaos involving the White House, Mattis remains one of the few widely revered members of the Trump administration. In this illuminating biography, Jim Proser looks beyond Mattis’ professional competence to focus on the driving element behind Mattis’ success: his unimpeachable character—a formidable personal integrity that fosters universal confidence. Proser carefully examines the events of Mattis’ life and career to reveal a man who leads with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion—not only for his fellow Marines, but for the innocent victims of war. Chronicling how Mattis’ martial and personal values have elevated him to the highest levels of personal success and earned him the trust of a nation, Proser makes clear how America is stronger because of his service and his example.


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The first in-depth look at the marine hero who has become one of the most beloved and admired men in America today: Secretary of Defense James Mattis. A devout student of history and erudite reader revered by rank and file soldiers, officers, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens, General James Mattis is one of the most admired leaders serving America today. A man w The first in-depth look at the marine hero who has become one of the most beloved and admired men in America today: Secretary of Defense James Mattis. A devout student of history and erudite reader revered by rank and file soldiers, officers, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens, General James Mattis is one of the most admired leaders serving America today. A man who has long used his position as a model for the soldiers he leads, Mattis in 2003 shared a "Message to All Hands" with the men and women under his command, outlining their responsibilities as soldiers of the corps. Emphasizing the importance of the mission and the goal to act with honor, Mattis ended with the motto he had adopted from another great figure, Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla: "Demonstrate to the world that there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a US Marine." The first Trump presidential cabinet nominee, Mattis, retired from activity military duty for only three years at the time, received a rare Congressional waiver to hold the civilian position of Secretary of Defense, and in the hyper-partisan political atmosphere of 2017, astonishingly received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support for his nomination. After months of headline-making chaos involving the White House, Mattis remains one of the few widely revered members of the Trump administration. In this illuminating biography, Jim Proser looks beyond Mattis’ professional competence to focus on the driving element behind Mattis’ success: his unimpeachable character—a formidable personal integrity that fosters universal confidence. Proser carefully examines the events of Mattis’ life and career to reveal a man who leads with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion—not only for his fellow Marines, but for the innocent victims of war. Chronicling how Mattis’ martial and personal values have elevated him to the highest levels of personal success and earned him the trust of a nation, Proser makes clear how America is stronger because of his service and his example.

30 review for No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy: The Life of General James Mattis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aryssa

    Soooo military heavy. Good writing and I love the insight into Mattis' life but the military scenes really wore me out. However, if you LIKE military scenes (active duty type stuff and strategy) you'll LOVE this book. I liked the inclusion of interviews Mattis has done during the years.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Very worthwhile book that covers the life to date of James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense. It bordered on being a hagiography at times, but the connections between events (Kobar bombing, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1991-Iraq/Kuwait war, the 1993 Twin Towers bombing, 9-11, and the 2003 Iraq war) and depth of detail by the author concerning Mattis's career was very illuminating. The book suffered at the end. Little detail was provided (in comparison to the Mattis's early career), and left me wa Very worthwhile book that covers the life to date of James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense. It bordered on being a hagiography at times, but the connections between events (Kobar bombing, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1991-Iraq/Kuwait war, the 1993 Twin Towers bombing, 9-11, and the 2003 Iraq war) and depth of detail by the author concerning Mattis's career was very illuminating. The book suffered at the end. Little detail was provided (in comparison to the Mattis's early career), and left me wanting another chapter or two to complete the journey to date.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    ‘Mattis and Trump agree that, unlike previous administrations, there will be no public discussion of American military plans or timetables ‘ Florida author Jim Proser began his professional writing career at age 15 as a city reporter for the Lambertville (NJ) Beacon newspaper and as a regional photojournalist for the Bucks County Courier Times. He went on as a journalist to write interviews of business leaders for the Investor's Business Daily. He has written screenplays for film and television p ‘Mattis and Trump agree that, unlike previous administrations, there will be no public discussion of American military plans or timetables ‘ Florida author Jim Proser began his professional writing career at age 15 as a city reporter for the Lambertville (NJ) Beacon newspaper and as a regional photojournalist for the Bucks County Courier Times. He went on as a journalist to write interviews of business leaders for the Investor's Business Daily. He has written screenplays for film and television producers including 20th Century Fox Television, Showtime Networks and numerous independent producers. He is best known for his major work I’M STAYING WITH MY BOYS – both the novel and the screenplay – the book being awarded the United States Marine Corps Commandant's Recommendation. In this homage to Mattis, Jim Proser writes in the manner that Mattes lives and thinks and speaks. Evidence of the tone of this biography opens his book:’ Mattis, a blunt, smart warfighter and a lifelong bachelor, has dedicated his life completely to the success and safety of the warriors he commands. In return, he is deeply beloved by them. His constant study of history and philosophy has earned him the affectionate nickname the Warrior Monk and made being smart and well-read cool, elevating the sometimes anti-intellectual, tribal Marine culture. He ordered every Marine in the First Division to read Russell Braddon’s The Siege, which follows the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force during World War I in what was then called Mesopotamia. Mattis wants every Marine to understand the inhospitable Iraqi terrain and the mistakes that cost the British twenty-five thousand men. His voice is calm and loud, with a slight sibilance that softens some of his s’s. He speaks without notes, hands on hips or in “knife-hand” gestures, fixing his attention on individual Marines as he scans the rows of officers from the front to the back of the room. Marine commanders sit in rows before him now, Third Air Wing pilots up front in tan flight suits, pistols strapped across their chests, ground commanders behind them in desert camouflage. They are silent, intent on every word. Among the commanders is Lieutenant Colonel Stanton Coerr who later reports on this meeting, “Gentlemen, this is going to be the most air-centric division in the history of warfare,” Mattis says. “Don’t you worry about the lack of shaping; if we need to kill something, it is going to get killed. I would storm the gates of Hell if Third Marine Air Wing was overhead.”5 By shaping, he means shaping of the battlefield by air power and artillery. This is usually the preparation for battle meant to find and exploit the enemy’s weakest spot. But instead of shaping, Mattis’s new “maneuver warfare” relies on speed and mobility, as he then makes clear with typical good humor.’ For those unfamiliar with the character of James Mattis the book summary offers the essentials ‘The first in-depth look at the marine hero who has become one of the most beloved and admired men in America today: Secretary of Defense James Mattis. A devout student of history and erudite reader revered by rank and file soldiers, officers, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens, General James Mattis is one of the most admired leaders serving America today. A man who has long used his position as a model for the soldiers he leads, Mattis in 2003 shared a "Message to All Hands" with the men and women under his command, outlining their responsibilities as soldiers of the corps. Emphasizing the importance of the mission and the goal to act with honor, Mattis ended with the motto he had adopted from another great figure, Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla: "Demonstrate to the world that there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a US Marine." The first Trump presidential cabinet nominee, Mattis, retired from activity military duty for only three years at the time, received a rare Congressional waiver to hold the civilian position of Secretary of Defense, and in the hyper-partisan political atmosphere of 2017, astonishingly received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support for his nomination. After months of headline-making chaos involving the White House, Mattis remains one of the few widely revered members of the Trump administration. Jim Proser looks beyond Mattis’ professional competence to focus on the driving element behind Mattis’ success: his unimpeachable character—a formidable personal integrity that fosters universal confidence. Proser carefully examines the events of Mattis’ life and career to reveal a man who leads with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion—not only for his fellow Marines, but for the innocent victims of war. Chronicling how Mattis’ martial and personal values have elevated him to the highest levels of personal success and earned him the trust of a nation, Proser makes clear how America is stronger because of his service and his example.’ Proser reveals the man James Mattis – a unique individual in the otherwise disappointingly dark cabinet of Trump. There is hope here.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt Cannon

    This book increases my admiration for the current Secretary of Defense, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis. With the nickname of “The Warrior Monk” and his studying of history in the carrying out of war and conflict. His humility, dedication of service, studying of conflicts and lessons learned from others who’ve gone before us. He really is a remarkable leader that Americans should be proud and glad he is at the top. Learning more about him personally was also cool, such as reasons he’s stayed a ba This book increases my admiration for the current Secretary of Defense, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis. With the nickname of “The Warrior Monk” and his studying of history in the carrying out of war and conflict. His humility, dedication of service, studying of conflicts and lessons learned from others who’ve gone before us. He really is a remarkable leader that Americans should be proud and glad he is at the top. Learning more about him personally was also cool, such as reasons he’s stayed a bachelor, his role in the Iraq war and how he was unanimously confirmed beyond party lines despite being disqualified for his recent service in the military. It’s also inspiring that he has a personal library of over 7,000 books which he’s read. This book explains why he is a better person to have as a friend and how you couldn’t find a worse person to be an enemy against. This is worth reading if you want to understand current events and military conflict and strategies better. I would love to see what his library consists of and his thoughts on those books. As it would be a serious masterclass to gain knowledge and insight from. This book mentions his thoughts on a few books and how it influenced his thinking, but it only scrapes the surface. Will look forward to reading his memoir one day.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    You can't go wrong with General Jim Mattis. On a personal basis or on a professional basis, this is the man to emulate. The writing is crisp, reveals things I didn't know (he's from Richland, WA; he got sucked in by the Theranos garbage show; he doesn't like the nickname Mad Dog). Some of the quotes are semi-famous, but others, like the one about making it a traumatic experience for the enemy, are not. I also got a very interesting insight about Donald Rumsfeld who plays some role in this: leanin You can't go wrong with General Jim Mattis. On a personal basis or on a professional basis, this is the man to emulate. The writing is crisp, reveals things I didn't know (he's from Richland, WA; he got sucked in by the Theranos garbage show; he doesn't like the nickname Mad Dog). Some of the quotes are semi-famous, but others, like the one about making it a traumatic experience for the enemy, are not. I also got a very interesting insight about Donald Rumsfeld who plays some role in this: leaning out the Pentagon was the right thing to do. However, the way you run the Pentagon is NOT the way you take over Iraq, with minimum personnel. I'll be taking notes on this book before returning it to the library. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    Good book about a incredible Marine. Heavy on miltary terminology, battle planning, and action, which bogged me down a bit as that's not necessarily in my wheelhouse. That said, it was fascinating to get into the mind of the Warrior Monk, a truly exceptional leader. Semper fidelis, General Mattis.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tevlin

    If you are purchasing this to read about General Mattis's life, this is not the book for you. About 95% of this is about battles led by Mad Dog. This is a good book if you are big on military actions, but not for those who do not like historical events.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I've always admired the Warrior Monk and now even more so. The book could have been better written but the story of such a dynamic man was very impressive.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angus Isles

    Great insight into Mattis, specifically focuses on Iraq 1, Afghanistan and Iraq II - not much about post service or pre-service

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Steele

    Inspirational and informative.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Amazing man!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ramon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Neptunalia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robert Proko

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pontus Lennklev

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Jones

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Richard E.Ladd

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Steward

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philip Christian Ulrich

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jim Proser

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gene J Leonard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter Moran

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Bradley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

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