OVERRIDE

Without Hesitation

The Odyssey of an American Warrior

General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton, 14th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Ronald Levinson and Malcolm McConnell

St. Martin's Press

The powerful unvarnished memoir of General Hugh Shelton, war hero, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during 9/11, and one of the leading military figures of our time

Whether serving under a Democratic president or a Republican president, General Shelton was never afraid to speak out and tell it like it is. Shelton chronicles his incredible journey from a small farming community in North Carolina to the highest level of American military and political power at the Pentagon and White House.

As one of the nation’s elite Special Forces soldiers, Shelton served twice in Vietnam, commanding a Green Beret unit and then an airborne infantry company. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart for a wound suffered when a booby trap drove a poisoned stake through his leg.

Shelton rose up the ranks and was assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division as they invaded Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, then led the 20,000 American troops tasked with restoring Haiti’s deposed President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to power. Promoted to 4-star General, he became Commander in Chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (including Delta Force, Navy SEALS and other top secret Special Mission Units).

But it was while serving as Chairman during both the Clinton and Bush administrations that he faced his biggest challenges, including his role as chief architect of the U.S. military response to 9/11. General Shelton speaks frankly of how decisions were made behind the scenes in the inner sanctum of the E-Ring and Oval Office, and reveals key military operations and meetings that have not yet been revealed, including:

* High-ranking Cabinet member proposes intentionally allowing an American pilot to be killed by the Iraqis to have an excuse to retaliate and go to war.

* Details of a contentious Camp David meeting among President George W. Bush and his National Security Council immediately after 9/11, where internal battle lines were drawn---and Shelton (along with Colin Powell) convinced President Bush to do the right thing.

* How Rumsfeld persuaded General Tommy Franks to bypass the Joint Chiefs, leading to a badly flawed Iraq war plan that failed to anticipate the devastating after-effects of the insurgency and civil war.

* Attempts to kill Usama bin Laden that were shot down by our State Department.

* CIA botched high-profile terrorist snatches, leaving Shelton’s Special Operations teams to clean up their mess.

* How Shelton “persuaded” Haiti’s dictator to flee the country.

* And much more.

Yet it's Shelton’s amazing personal story that puts his military career in perspective. It began with a fall from a ladder in his backyard, resulting in total paralysis from the neck down---and a risky experimental procedure, so dangerous that if it didn’t cure him, chances are it would kill him.

Revealing, compelling, and controversial, this is the story of a man whose integrity and ethics were always above reproach, and who dedicated his life to serving his country.


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WITHOUT HESITATION Chapter One THE BEGINNING

January 1942–July 1963

Mapleton Farm was two miles north of Speed, a small North Carolina coastal plains town of about eighty people with a cluster of white frame houses shaded by tall old oaks and elms. The tracks of the Atlantic Coast Line ran through town. There was the post office, the train station, three stores, and the Speed Baptist and Episcopal churches.

My grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Shelton, developed a farm of over one thousand acres. He was one of the state’s first “master farmers,” recognized

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  • Without Hesitation by General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton's memoir Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. During a nearly forty-year career in the United States Army, Hugh Shelton has been known as a straight shooter—when he speaks he means what he says. Whether serving under a Democratic president or a Republican president, whether in a war that was popular at home or not, Hugh Shelton gave all he had, and asked nothing less of the men and women who worked for him.

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Praise for Without Hesitation

“General Shelton is a man from another time, when honor and one's word were more important than personal gain and the fiscal bottom line. I hope there are more like him out there. We need them now, more than ever.”

 --Tom Clancy, New York Times bestselling author

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton, 14th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Ronald Levinson and Malcolm McConnell

  • Born in North Carolina, GENERAL HUGH SHELTON served in the U.S. Army for thirty-eight years as a specialist in airborne operations and special operations tactics, was Commander in Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command (including Delta Force, Navy SEALS, and other top secret Special Mission Units). Shelton was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. He lives in North Carolina.

    RON LEVINSON is a veteran film and television producer, director, writer, and studio executive. A past board member of the U.S. Air Force Public Advisory Counsel (where he counseled the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force on motion picture and television production), he currently lives in Los Angeles.

    MALCOLM McCONNELL is the author or co-author of twenty-nine books, including the New York Times #1 bestseller, American Soldier, with Gen. Tommy Franks. McConnell lives in Queenstown, MD.

  • Hugh Shelton Department of Defense—Scott Davis
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    Without Hesitation

    The Odyssey of an American Warrior

    General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton, 14th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Ronald Levinson and Malcolm McConnell

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    St. Martin's Press

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