WESLEY K. CLARK: A Biography

Antonia Felix, Author . Newmarket $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-55704-625-3

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 (né 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)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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