Colin Powell biography examines a successful but flawed leader

Author: Notre Dame Press News


Jeffrey J. Matthews's new book Colin Powell: Imperfect Patriot traces the rise to power and the professional life of American statesman and retired four-star general in the U.S. Army, Colin Powell. For the past three decades, Powell has been among America's most trusted and admired leaders. Matthews offers a balanced and revisionist interpretation of Powell's career, including his role in the My Lai massacre cover-up, the Iran-Contra Scandal, and the decisions to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The first biography of Powell since 2009, Matthews utilizes a wide variety of new sources that have come to light in the intervening years. Not only was Matthews given access to interview Powell himself, but he also utilizes brand new sources including Powell's personal papers and recent emails, declassified government documents, as well as recent memoirs of leading Bush administration figures such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and George Tenet. 

Matthews traces Powell's life from his youth in the South Bronx, where he was raised by his Jamaican immigrant parents, to his rise through the military ranks, and his tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State. New source materials and first person accounts provide an authoritative reading on the life of a complex, historically significant, and widely admired American statesman and leader.


Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

“Center stage once again: Colin Powell’s UN speech in ‘Vice’,” The Hill

“What Does William Barr Have to Do With Iran Contra?” History News Network

“Colin Powell and Jim Mattis: Two Generals, Two Presidents, Two Paths in Crisis,” The Seattle Times




Jeffrey Matthews will discuss Colin Powell: Imperfect Patriot in the following locations:

• Colin Powell Book TalkUniversity of Kentucky, Gatton Student Center 331, March 18, 2019, 5:00 pm, Lexington, KY

• University Forum Lecture Series, April 4, 2019, 7:30pm, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

• Book Launch, April 24, 2019, 6:30 pm, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Alumni Chapter

• Colin Powell Book Talk, May 22, 2019, 7:00pm, The Collective, Seattle, WA

• Colin Powell Book Talk, May 23, 2019, 7:00 pm, Washington Square, Bellevue, WA

• Colin Powell Book Talk, June 7, 2019, 1:00 pm, Alumni College, University of Puget Sound

• Colin Powell Book Talk, June 14, 2019, Boise, ID

• Colin Powell Book Signing, June 15, 2009, Boise (Idaho) Book Festival, Boise, ID

• Colin Powell Book Talk, June 21, 2019, San Francisco, CA

• Colin Powell Book Talk, June 22, 2019, Palo Alto, CA

• Kentucky Book Festival, November 10-16, 2019 Lexington, KY


Jeffrey Matthews is available for interviews.


Colin Powell: Imperfect Patriot

Jeffrey J. Matthews

416 pages

ISBN 978-0-268-10509-9

$35 Hardcover

March 30, 2019 Release


For more information, or for a review copy, contact: Kathryn Pitts, Marketing Manager, e:, p: 574.631.3267,