The Good Captain
A Personal Memoir of America at War
298 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 20–30 photographs
- June 2022
- In Stock
R. D. Hooker, Jr. was a combat soldier and leader in five wars. He then served as a senior Pentagon advisor and as a White House staff member in four different administrations. At the time of his retirement from the military in 2010 he was the most decorated colonel in the US Army.
Beginning with his enlistment at 18 in 1975, this memoir chronicles his experiences in the post-Vietnam Army as a young paratrooper, as a West Point cadet, and as a combatant in the many military conflicts which followed. Hooker served in the invasion of Grenada, in the earliest days of the Somalia intervention, as one of the first American responders to the Rwandan genocide, with the first American units to enter both Bosnia and Kosovo, in peace-keeping operations in the Sinai desert, in the Pentagon on 9/11, and again in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rising from private to colonel, he commanded a paratroop company, battalion and brigade and served in the continental US, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. When not serving with troops, he taught at West Point and served in several high-level Pentagon assignments and in the White House in the administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
As a gritty and accomplished combat soldier and leader of vast experience, the author’s writing conveys a first-person, hands-on appreciation of the American soldier and of close combat, around the globe and through five different conflicts, in all its demanding, heroic, and often tragic dimensions. Few if any memoirs of this genre can match the narrative arc shown here. In addition, the author describes each of these campaigns from a strategic and policy perspective informed by his White House and Pentagon experiences as well as years of academic training. The juxtaposition of these contrasting perspectives is compelling and unique.
2 "Strike Hold"
4 "Let's Go"
5 "H Minus!"
6 "Sky Dragons"
7 "All the Way"
“Retired Colonel Hooker's well-written and engaging memoir about his life in uniform takes the reader on an incredible journey…offers unique and invaluable insights into the military world and its place in U.S. society.” ~Booklist
"...at heart a soldier’s story with compelling lessons from one of America’s most highly decorated field grade officers. This combat odyssey deserves a wide audience." ~ARMY Magazine
"Hooker has crafted one of those select books in which you are not only reading his words but also hearing them as well." ~Military Review
"This is a phenomenal book. Hooker’s grit, determination, and courage in defending the country as well as his men is remarkable." ~Manhattan Book Review
"...offers leadership lessons that are applicable from the squad level on the ground to the national level in Washington. Nor is Hooker reluctant to both praise and critique military leaders he served with, the defense bureaucracy, and national security policy." ~Infantry Magazine
“This is a compelling tale of service, not only of experiences but also of the spirit and ethos that animates the warrior’s soul. I hope that young Americans read Rich Hooker’s story, understand better the rewards of a life of service, and look for ways that they too might help defend and strengthen our Republic." ~Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, USA (Ret), former National Security Adviser
“R. D. Hooker’s memoir is a microcosm of the US Army’s history from just after the Vietnam War through the first decade of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns of the Global War on Terror. Incredibly, through multiple airborne tours, Rich was an eye witness to the Army’s actions in Grenada, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Sinai, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He also served on the White House staff of four administrations, participating in policy-making at the highest levels. Anybody interested in the military history of the past four decades will benefit from reading this book.” ~Lieutenant General Rick Waddell, US Army (Ret), former Deputy National Security Adviser
"The Good Captain is a gripping account of one Soldier’s journey in war and peace, from the difficult post-Vietnam era, through the end of the Cold War and the Balkan interventions, as a witness to 9/11, and as a commander and senior staff officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book is unique in charting the author’s experiences 'in the trenches,' but also as a policymaker and strategist at the highest levels, including the Pentagon and three tours in the White House. Throughout, the courage and resilience of the American Soldier shines through. A must read for those who will lead our great Army today and tomorrow." ~General Bob Brown, USA (Ret), President and CEO of The Association of the U.S. Army and former Commander, U.S. Army Pacific
"More than a memoir, The Good Captain is a provocative and unflinching history of American military operations over more than three decades. Colonel Richard Hooker delivers eye-opening reports from the frontlines of U.S. missions in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He pulls no punches, describing commanders' sometimes faulty judgments and Special Forces' mistaken targeting which resulted in innocent civilian deaths. Most of all, Hooker brings intellect and heart to the experience of a soldier serving his country - from the heartbreak of battlefield losses to wrenching regrets of missed time with family over long deployments. Reading The Good Captain, you will come away with greater appreciation for the complexities of battlefield command and the powerful bonds of love and loyalty soldiers have for each other. This book gives new meaning to the phrase 'service and sacrifice.' It will be with you long after you've read the last page." ~Mary Walsh, CBS News Producer and 6-time Emmy Award winner
"In the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, ‘it is not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is in the arena’, and The Good Captain is the story of one man who, throughout a lifetime’s dedicated service to the US Army, was very much ‘in the arena’. Enlisting as an 18 year old private soldier in the post-Vietnam US Army, Rich Hooker retired 32 years later as a distinguished and highly decorated veteran having seen extensive active campaign service while also contributing to the development of policy at the highest levels. This is a soldier’s story: thoughtful, full of insight and written with humility, compassion and the deepest attachment for the army he served. It is a chronicle of a unique time in the history of the United States and its allies and deserves to be read widely." ~General Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff, KCB, CBE, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander NATO
"...will be of special interest to military history buffs with respect to the Iraq & Afghan War histories." ~Midwest Book Review