Cover image for Wesley K. Clark : a biography
Wesley K. Clark : a biography
Felix, Antonia.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Newmarket Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
249 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840.5.C58 F45 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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After winning the war in Kosovo as NATO'sSupreme Allied Commander, Wesley Clark wentdown in the history books as one of the greatgenerals of modern times. He successfully ranthe first all-air war in history and ended theruthless dictatorship of Serbian leaderSlobodan Milosevic without one allied casualty.President Clinton awarded him the Medal ofFreedom and dozens of foreign countries lavishedhim with their highest honors. But in theUnited States, Clark received no fanfare orparades, as had the generals who came homefrom Desert Storm a decade earlier. Why?

Now this fascinating biography, filled withinsights from those who know him well,addresses this puzzling question, while tellingthe complex story of this remarkable Americanhero who has been hailed as one of the mosttalented, creative, and brilliant officers in theU.S. Army. First in his class at West Point, aRhodes Scholar at Oxford and quickly promoted,Clark was among the "water-walkers,"high-achieving officers whose performancesets them apart.

Like every organization though, the Army is anetwork of alliances that must be carefullymaneuvered. And like other top officers, Clarkclashed with some colleagues--while earningthe loyalty and respect of the majority of othersenior officers as well as of the soldiers under hiscommand. During his last command during thewar in Kosovo, Clark's clashes with the Pentagonresulted in his low-profile, early retirement. Hismany allies were furious with his treatment,including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,who had told President Clinton that "Clark wasthe best partner we could have."

Drawing on research and her extensive interviewswith Clark's relatives, friends, military colleagues,and others close to him in Chicago,Little Rock, West Point, among other locales,bestselling biographer Antonia Felix highlightsClark's notable experiences that led to his riseto national prominence. The author brings usmemorable descriptions of an immigrant familyfleeing persecution in Russia to establish itselfin Chicago, of a childhood tragedy and a longheldfamily secret, of growing up in the Southduring the civil rights struggle, and of a brilliantmind that brought him extraordinary academicand professional achievement.

Here is the compelling story of a spiritualindividual, son of a Jewish father andMethodist mother, later converting to his wife'sCatholic faith while fighting in Vietnam, whohas made a noble commitment to public service.Wesley Clark truly embodies West Point'sideals of duty, honor, and country. As he statedin February 2004 upon withdrawing from hiscandidacy for the Democratic nomination forpresident, "I'll be doing all I can to contributeto building a new and better America."

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

It may not be too little, but it is too late. Felix's previous bio is of Condi, and this chronicle of the former supreme allied commander in Europe-and now 2004 presidential also-ran-crosses party lines in a thorough and periodically engaging fashion. Felix begins with Clark's childhood "response" to the launch of Sputnik: he built a rocket and began learning Russian in an attempt to "know your enemy." From there, Felix backtracks through the Jewish immigrant heritage of Clark's paternal side; with Clark's (n? Kanne) father's death just before Clark's fourth birthday, he moved with his mother from Chicago back to her Methodist family in Little Rock, Ark., where she met her third husband, Victor Clark. Felix is detailed on these years and the rest of Clark's life, having dug up almost everyone who can tell her anything firsthand (and nice) about Clark (as well as 16 pages of unremarkable photos). After getting himself into West Point (first in his class), Clark landed a Rhodes scholarship, got married, got wounded as a platoon leader in Vietnam, converted to Catholicism, went back to West Point for a three-year teaching stint and piled up more degrees and more prestigious posts. By midbook, Clark accepts his first Joint Staff position in 1994, and the rest-much of it related to his work in Bosnia commanding NATO forces-is covered in dutiful detail. More sympathetic and more minutiae-oriented than the average newspaper campaign profile, the book leaves Clark, who comes off as super-smart and dedicated, graciously handing the Democratic nomination off to John Kerry. Look for this book's second edition, if necessary, in 2008. (June 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved