THE BOOK PARTY'S OVER

AND AS POWELL DECIDES WHETHER TO RUN, A SMALL ARMY OF POLITICAL OPERATIVES GETS READY TO SERVE

WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell was known for how carefully he prepared for battle. He would order up satellite photos, send out scouting patrols, and collect all the intelligence available before deciding where--or whether--to attack. Partly as a result, he was sometimes a reluctant warrior.

As Powell concluded a 35-day book tour last week, he admitted it was time to game out a war for the White House. He said he would spend a couple of weeks "in seclusion," studying his choices and talking with family and friends about seeking the G.O.P. nomination. The closer Powell...

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