PART I: WHY RUMSFELD, WHY THIS BOOK?
Donald Rumsfeld is my grandmother.
He is also my father. Like many of us, he is a writer; like our heroes, he wants to change the world; like our villains, he was almost great, but he almost wrought destruction. He’s the scholarship kid at Princeton, a Tobias Wolff or Harry Potter. Like all compelling characters, he mostly ends up changing himself.
This is why people cannot stop writing about Donald Rumsfeld. Cheney is opaque and static; Bush a simple prince; Condi wonky; Wolfowitz JV. Rumsfeld though—spendthrift, moral, middle class-ish, workaholic, perfectionist, judging, prolific, linguistic, on the record, enemy to the status quo, reaching highest, failing, falling, an insider with an outsider’s soul burning with something to prove. We all know Rumsfeld. We love and hate him more because that’s how we love and hate grandmothers, fathers, writers, changers, heroes, villains, Harry Potter, and ourselves.