Rumsfeld memoir to reveal what he knows of the unknown

Even casual addicts of American politics are likely to pounce on Known and Unknown, the memoir that Donald Rumsfeld has been writing since resigning as George W Bush's Defence Secretary in 2006. Sentinel Books, an imprint of Penguin, said last night that it will be released in January next year.

The title implies that secrets will be divulged. And because it is meant to evoke a famously obfuscatory line that he uttered at the Pentagon about pre-invasion Iraq, we can also assume that the secrets in question will have to do with precisely the period of history that most threatens the author's legacy – Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction (or lack thereof) and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Apparently there is so much for us to learn, that reams of previously unseen documents will be put up on a website that will accompany the book – documents that presumably will assist in correcting any ill impressions readers might have of Mr Rumsfeld, now 78, but fit and hail, judging by the book cover that shows him leaning on a cattle gate at his New Mexico ranch.

"This book will tell readers things that they didn't know, and it may well unsettle a few people who think the history of certain events has already been written," a Rumsfeld aide, Keith Urbahn, tells politico.com. "Never-before seen memos and previously classified documents," will "let sceptics make their own judgments based on the contemporary information Rumsfeld had at his disposal."

The timing means the book won't be a favourite on this year's Christmas gifts list. But it is possible that author and publisher opted to leave a decent gap after the promised early-November release of Mr Bush's memoir, Decision Points.

The Rumsfeld tome is not limited to re-telling his years in the Bush Pentagon, however. It will include earlier years in his career when he was a US Congressman in Illinois and White House Chief of Staff for Gerald Ford. But it is what he has to say about Iraq that will get most attention, including the version he is expected to offer of his famous "hand-shake" meeting with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in 1983.

"Like Donald Rumsfeld himself, this memoir pulls no punches," Adrian Zackheim, the president of Sentinel, promised yesterday.

Drawing attention to his 2002 remarks about US intelligence on Iraq may not seem entirely wise. Questioned on what evidence there was regarding weapons of mass destruction, he said: "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because there are known knowns: there are things we know that we know". He famously went on: "There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know."

The critics will be waiting to see if Rumsfeld's written prose is less obscure. Political gossip hounds, meanwhile, will hunt for titbits he may offer about his relationships with other power-players, not least with his close friend and ally, Dick Cheney. Among other Rumsfeld buddies you will also find Elvis Presley. Could it be that he has an unknown about him? Elvis lives?

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat