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In the days after September 11, 2001, the President of the United States reached out to one man to help guide the nation in its quest to shore up domestic security. In this candid and compelling memoir, Tom Ridge describes the whirlwind series of events that took him from the state capital of Pennsylvania, into the fray of Washington, D.C., and onto the world stage as a new leader in the fight against international terrorism.
A Washington outsider, Ridge went above and beyond in his new post, identifying the need to integrate response teams on a wide-reaching scale and leading the nation’s ambitious initiative of establishing a new Cabinet department, the Department of Homeland Security. The author recounts how the new department’s unsung heroes, brought together under great duress, succeeded against difficult odds and navigated the politics of terrorism.
Perhaps most importantly, Ridge offers a prescriptive look to the future with provocative ideas such as a national ID card and the use of biometrics to track not just who enters the United States but also how long they are here. Tom Ridge simply tells it like it is, offering a refreshingly honest assessment of the state of homeland security today—and what it needs to be tomorrow.
"Tom has written a first draft of history, and it’s a very memorable one."—Senator John McCain
"As the man who created U.S. Homeland Security in the post-9/11 era, [Tom Ridge] is also the man who can most authoritatively recount how it happened, where we are now, and what still needs to be done. In a candid voice, he does all of that in The Test of Our Times."—Barry Casselman, syndicated columnist
"Tom Ridge describes unknown successes and struggles, and explores the persistent obstacles to achieving a safer country with candor, honesty, and integrity."—Lee H. Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission
Tom Ridge became the nation’s first assistant to the president for Homeland Security and later the first secretary of Homeland Security in 2001. Previously, he was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania after serving as a congressman. Ridge is the president and CEO of Ridge Global, a firm that consults worldwide on security, risk management, and technology integration.
Lary Bloom cowrote Letters from Nuremberg: My Father’s Narrative of a Quest for Justice with Senator Christopher J. Dodd and is the author of The Writer Within.