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About the book
  • Published: 21 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143127802
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $29.99
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Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace


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The inspiring and revelatory autobiography of the defense secretary and CIA director who led the intelligence war that killed Bin Laden, among many important roles in a legendary career—a New York Times bestseller

It could be said that Leon Panetta has had two of the most consequential careers of any American public servant in the past fifty years. His first career, beginning as an army intelligence officer and including a distinguished run as one of Congress’s most powerful and respected members, lasted thirty-five years and culminated in his role as Clinton’s budget czar and White House chief of staff. He then “retired” to establish the Panetta Institute with his wife of fifty years, Sylvia; to serve on the Iraq Study Group; and to protect his beloved California coastline. In 2009, he became the director of the CIA, taking it from a state of turmoil after the Bush-era torture debates and moving it back to the vital center of America’s war against Al Qaeda, including the campaign that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. And then, Panetta became the U.S. secretary of defense, inheriting two troubled wars in a time of austerity and painful choices.

Like his career, Worthy Fights is a reflection of Panetta’s values. It is imbued with the frank, grounded, and often quite funny spirit of a devoted public servant who never lost touch with where he came from: his family’s walnut farm in beautiful Carmel Valley, California. It is also a testament to a lost kind of political leadership, which favors progress and duty to country over partisanship. Suffused with its author’s decency and stubborn common sense, Worthy Fights is an epic American success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the great figures and events of our time.

  • Pub date: 21 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143127802
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Authors

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009-2011, and as secretary of defense from 2011-2013. An Italian American Democrat, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977-1993, the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993-1994, and President Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994-1997. He is the founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, and has served as professor of public policy at his alma mater, Santa Clara University.

Jim Newton

Jim Newton is editor at large of the Los Angeles Times, where he has worked for twenty-five years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, and columnist. He is the author of two critically acclaimed biographies, Justice for All: Earl Warrenand the Nation He Made and Eisenhower: The White House Years.


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