cover image GENERALLY SPEAKING: A Memoir by the First Woman Promoted to Three-Star General in the United States Army

GENERALLY SPEAKING: A Memoir by the First Woman Promoted to Three-Star General in the United States Army

Claudia J. Kennedy, Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, with Malcolm McConnell. . Warner, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-446-52793-4

Beginning in a Women's Army Corps still largely restricted to clerical duties, Kennedy finished three-plus decades in the army as a senior intelligence officer during a period when military intelligence was no longer an oxymoron, but a critical element of national security. Her memoir says the expected from a successful senior officer. It stresses the importance to a soldier of physical, mental and spiritual fitness. It offers a few generalizations about the future of the army and the world, making familiar points about the increasing likelihood of asymmetric violence by substate actors. Readers, however, are unlikely to seek out this book for its perspectives on national security. Kennedy was known within the army as a determined advocate for women soldiers. She gained national recognition for successfully blocking the promotion of another general, on the grounds of his having sexually harassed her. More significant, however, is Kennedy's principled commitment to creating a more domesticated army, a female-friendly force whose male soldiers wish neither to drink to excess, to use bad language, nor to consider women as sexual objects. The possibilities of this kind of civilized force are more important than whether a particular general engaged in inappropriate touching. They should be the focus whenever Generally Speaking is discussed. PW's readers are advised not to hold their breaths waiting for that to happen. (Sept. 20)

Forecast:This book has been under "semi-embargo" in anticipation of a Barbara Walters appearance on Sept. 19. That interview will be followed by Good Morning America on pub day, while a subsequent author tour takes in New York, Washington, D.C., and various military base areas, as well as a 25-city radio satellite tour. Look for a huge spike in sales, followed by a relatively quick drop.