An American Soldier Summary & Study Guide

Tommy Franks
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An American Soldier Summary & Study Guide Description

An American Soldier Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on An American Soldier by Tommy Franks.

Tommy Ray Franks was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, the only child of Lorene and Ray Franks, who adopted him as an infant. Franks describes an idyllic "Tom Sawyer" childhood in small town America. Franks' parents hold a simple, black and white view of the world. Franks' father is a repairman who has trouble making a steady living.

After flunking out of the University of Texas in 1965, Franks enlists in the Army and gets sent to Vietnam. There, he becomes a real soldier, and after facing combat in jungles and rice paddies, he returns home with medals of valor and three Purple Hearts. Franks uses the Army to complete his college education, and then serves in Germany as commander of Howitzer Battery, 1st Squadron, Second Army Calvary Regiment. The main concern there in 1975 is strategies, should the Cold War against the Soviet Union turn hot. Franks returns to the States and works at The Pentagon, becoming disillusioned by the machinations of politicians.

In the 1980s, Franks works with other officers to develop the 'New Army,' an armed services without draftees. The New Army will be smaller, yet more highly trained; victory will depend more upon the use of equipment like 'smart bombs' and computers than masses of troops. Franks believes that ending the draft eliminates problems like racism, drug abuse and low morale.

In 1990, under the first Bush Administration, Franks becomes a key player in Desert Storm, America's reaction to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Using a combination of surprise, deception, and speed, Americans and their allies are able to defeat Hussein in fewer than one hundred days.

By 1997, Franks has been promoted to a two-star general, and he has commanded the Second Infantry Warrior Division for two years; his challenge is North Korea. Franks takes command of the Third Army Forces, Central Command - a three year tour to end in 2000. Under the Clinton Administration, Franks is involved in another bombing of Iraq.

On April 24, 2000 Franks takes over as Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command. CENTCOM is responsible for maintaining stability in a twenty-five nation region that includes the most dangerous part of the world - the Middle East. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Franks is one of the leaders of the response. Franks helps plan and execute the war in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq. Franks develops a four-phase plan for removing Saddam Hussein from office, removing his weapons of mass destruction, and developing a democracy. Franks retires from the Army after Phase 3, leaving the task of rebuilding Iraq to those who follow.

Franks writes a lot about the art and science of war. Franks gives details about meetings at the highest levels among people like President George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld while they plan the response to world terrorism that threatens the United States.

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