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Watchman at the Gates

A Soldier's Journey from Berlin to Bosnia

General George Joulwan played a role in many pivotal world events during his long and exceptional career. Present at both the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, he served multiple tours in Germany during the Cold War and two tours in Vietnam. By chance, he was recruited as Nixon's White House deputy chief of staff and witnessed the last acts of the Watergate drama first-hand. He went on to lead US Southern Command—fighting insurgencies and the drug war in Latin America—and was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe (SACEUR) during the Rwandan genocide and the Bosnian peacekeeping missions of the 1990s.

Joulwan chronicles his career in the upper echelons of the armed forces. He shares his experiences working with major military and political figures, including generals William E. DePuy, Alexander Haig, John Vessey, and Colin Powell, US ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Beyond the battlefield, Joulwan became an advocate for military and civilian relations during the Vietnam War, deescalating several high-intensity situations while studying at Loyola University as part of the US Army's Option C program.

Watchman at the Gates
merges memory and lessons in leadership as Joulwan pays tribute to his teachers and colleagues and explains the significance of their influence on his personal approach to command. As a leader of combat troops in Vietnam, he appealed to his subordinates on an individual basis, taking time to build relationships that proved vital to the effectiveness of his commands. He also reveals how similar relationships of mutual understanding were crucial in his peaceful and productive dealings with both allies and enemies.

At its heart, this inspiring memoir is a soldier's story—written by a warrior who saw defending his country and the democratic values it stands for as his highest calling. Featuring a foreword by Tom Brokaw, Watchman at the Gates offers incredible insights into world events as well as valuable lessons for a new generation of leaders.

About the Authors

General George Joulwan retired from the army in 1997 as a four-star general. His career spanned thirty-six years and included roles in some of the highest leadership positions in the armed forces. Joulwan also gained teaching experience at both the United States Military Academy and Loyola University. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

David Chanoff
is the author and coauthor of numerous books and articles on foreign affairs and military history, including Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon and The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Reviews

"Watchman at the Gates is a major contribution to American military history and a magnificent leadership primer. General Joulwan's narrative of his experiences at West Point, in the crucible of Vietnam, in the maelstrom of the Nixon White House, and in military positions from platoon leader through SACEUR provides profound insights for civilian and military readers alike. His account of events he helped to shape offers unique perspectives that clarify key moments of recent history and speak to today's challenges."—Peter R. Mansoor, author of Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq

"A terrific book. Joulwan's exceptional memoir is not just a paean to his service, but touches upon many of the key issues of this forty-year period: the wrenching trauma of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the role of the military in a democratic society, Watergate, the US Army in the Cold War, the war on drugs, and the role of NATO in the post-Cold War world."—James Scott Wheeler, author of Jacob L. Devers: A General's Life

"Wonderfully done. The right tone, no puffery, a journey tracking the maturation of a statesman-general."—Maj. Gen (ret) Mark Hamilton, former president, University of Alaska

"In this extraordinary chronicle drawn from decades of service, General George Joulwan lays bare insightful and crystal clear wisdom for today's leaders confronting the challenges of our time. Skillfully presented, Watchman at the Gates is a must read for all those committed to our nation's survival in the face of new challenges."—General Jim Mattis, US Marines (ret.) and 26th Secretary of Defense

"Geostrategic leaders and thinkers need this book, so do all of us concerned with America's well-being. Gen. George Joulwan commanded American and NATO forces on the German border. He led a 60,000 person stong NATO army into Bosnia to stop the ethnic massacres there. Building alliances takes commitment and trust. That's what General Joulwan has done for 60 years, building trust with allies. America needs allies now more than ever. Watchman at the Gates is the playbook."—LTG (ret.) Ben Hodges, former Supreme Allied Commander and current Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis

"George Joulwan and I served together from the 1968 Chicago riots, through tours in Vietnam, the Cold War years, and the Gulf Wars in the Middle East. He was a wonderful leader in peace and war, with duty and experience at the tactical, operational, national and strategic levels. I found his judgement, keen insight, clear focus on mission, and leadership superb. He was, importantly, very much a teacher. As such, Watchman at the Gates is a splendid read for current and future military and political leaders, who must set the best conditions for success of the mission."—General J.H. Binford Peay III, US Army (Retired),

superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute and former Commander in Chief of the US Central Command

"Watchman at the Gates is an incredible story of turbulent times and events where leadership, partnership, professionalism, discipline and decency combined to prevent conflict and restore peace. And General George Joulwan was at the helm. A SECDEF could not have asked for a more capable SACEUR."—William J. Perry, 19th US Secretary of Defense

"Retired Gen. George Joulwan's Watchman at the Gates: A Soldier's Journey from Berlin to Bosnia provides a compelling mix of history, memoir and cogent insight. It will be invaluable to anyone interested in the Army and its experiences through the last third of the 20th century. Beyond that, the book also speaks to issues and suggests solutions that remain strikingly relevant now, a generation later."—Association of the United States Army

 

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