“A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews
In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.
His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.
From the Hardcover edition.
The most momentous change in American warfare over the past decade has taken place away from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, in the corners of the world where large armies can’t go. The Way of the Knife is the untold story of that shadow war: a campaign that has blurred the lines between soldiers and spies and lowered the bar for waging war across the globe. America has pursued its enemies with killer drones and special operations troops; trained privateers for assassination missions and used them to set up clandestine spying networks; and relied on mercurial dictators, untrustworthy foreign intelligence services, and proxy armies.
This new approach to war has been embraced by Washington as a lower risk, lower cost alternative to the messy wars of occupation and has been championed as a clean and surgical way of conflict. But the knife has created enemies just as it has killed them. It has fomented resentments among allies, fueled instability, and created new weapons unbound by the normal rules of accountability during wartime.
Mark Mazzetti tracks an astonishing cast of characters on the ground in the shadow war, from a CIA officer dropped into the tribal areas to learn the hard way how the spy games in Pakistan are played to the chain-smoking Pentagon official running an off-the-books spy operation, from a Virginia socialite whom the Pentagon hired to gather intelligence about militants in Somalia to a CIA contractor imprisoned in Lahore after going off the leash.
At the heart of the book is the story of two proud and rival entities, the CIA and the American military, elbowing each other for supremacy. Sometimes, as with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, their efforts have been perfectly coordinated. Other times, including the failed operations disclosed here for the first time, they have not. For better or worse, their struggles will define American national security in the years to come.
The Last Punisher is a “thoughtful, funny, and raw…always compelling” (Bing West, New York Times bestselling author of No True Glory) first-person account of the Iraq War. With wry humor and moving testimony, Kevin Lacz tells the bold story of his tour in Iraq with SEAL Team THREE, the warrior elite of the Navy. This legendary unit, known as “The Punishers,” included Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Mike Monsoor, Ryan Job, and Marc Lee. These brave men were instrumental in securing the key locations in the pivotal 2006 Battle of Ramadi.
Minute by minute, Lacz relays the edge-of-your-seat details of his team’s missions in Ramadi, offering a firsthand glimpse into the heated combat, extreme conditions, and harrowing experiences they faced every day. Through it all, Lacz and his teammates formed unbreakable bonds and never lost sight of the cause: protecting America with their fight.
“A rare glimpse into the mind of a Navy SEAL,” (Clint Emerson, New York Times bestselling author of 100 Deadly Skills) Kevin Lacz brings you onto the battlefield and relays the tough realities of war. At the same time, Lacz shares how these experiences made him a better man and how proud he is of his contributions to one of this country’s most difficult military campaigns.
The Last Punisher is the story of a SEAL and an “honest-to-God American hero” (Mike Huckabee, #1 bestselling author) who was never afraid to answer the call.
Drawn from the ranks of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, former Blackwater and other private security contractors, the CIA's Special Activities Division and the Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC), these elite soldiers operate worldwide, with thousands of secret commandos working in more than one hundred countries. Funded through “black budgets,” Special Operations Forces conduct missions in denied areas, engage in targeted killings, snatch and grab individuals and direct drone, AC-130 and cruise missile strikes. While the Bush administration deployed these ghost militias, President Barack Obama has expanded their operations and given them new scope and legitimacy.
Dirty Wars follows the consequences of the declaration that “the world is a battlefield,” as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond, Scahill reports from the frontlines in this high-stakes investigation and explores the depths of America's global killing machine. He goes beneath the surface of these covert wars, conducted in the shadows, outside the range of the press, without effective congressional oversight or public debate. And, based on unprecedented access, Scahill tells the chilling story of an American citizen marked for assassination by his own government.
As US leaders draw the country deeper into conflicts across the globe, setting the world stage for enormous destabilization and blowback, Americans are not only at greater risk—we are changing as a nation. Scahill unmasks the shadow warriors who prosecute these secret wars and puts a human face on the casualties of unaccountable violence that is now official policy: victims of night raids, secret prisons, cruise missile attacks and drone strikes, and whole classes of people branded as “suspected militants.” Through his brave reporting, Scahill exposes the true nature of the dirty wars the United States government struggles to keep hidden.
Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.
In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
WE ARE ANONYMOUS is the first full account of how a loosely assembled group of hackers scattered across the globe formed a new kind of insurgency, seized headlines, and tortured the feds-and the ultimate betrayal that would eventually bring them down. Parmy Olson goes behind the headlines and into the world of Anonymous and LulzSec with unprecedented access, drawing upon hundreds of conversations with the hackers themselves, including exclusive interviews with all six core members of LulzSec.
In late 2010, thousands of hacktivists joined a mass digital assault on the websites of VISA, MasterCard, and PayPal to protest their treatment of WikiLeaks. Other targets were wide ranging-the websites of corporations from Sony Entertainment and Fox to the Vatican and the Church of Scientology were hacked, defaced, and embarrassed-and the message was that no one was safe. Thousands of user accounts from pornography websites were released, exposing government employees and military personnel.
Although some attacks were perpetrated by masses of users who were rallied on the message boards of 4Chan, many others were masterminded by a small, tight-knit group of hackers who formed a splinter group of Anonymous called LulzSec. The legend of Anonymous and LulzSec grew in the wake of each ambitious hack. But how were they penetrating intricate corporate security systems? Were they anarchists or activists? Teams or lone wolves? A cabal of skilled hackers or a disorganized bunch of kids?
WE ARE ANONYMOUS delves deep into the internet's underbelly to tell the incredible full story of the global cyber insurgency movement, and its implications for the future of computer security.
In 1997, young Richard Engel, working freelance for Arab news sources, got a call that a busload of Italian tourists was massacred at a Cairo museum. This is his first view of the carnage these years would pile on. Over two decades he has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, and taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the shooting match in Iraq and the Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, and was kidnapped in the Syrian cross currents of fighting. Engel takes the reader into Afghanistan with the Taliban and to Iraq with ISIS. In the page-turning And Then All Hell Broke Loose, he shares his “quick-paced...thrilling adventure story” (Associated Press).
Engel takes chances, though not reckless ones, keeps a level head and a sense of humor, as well as a grasp of history in the making. Reporting as NBC’s Chief-Foreign Correspondent, he reveals his unparalleled access to the major figures, the gritty soldiers, and the helpless victims in the Middle East during this watershed time. His vivid story is “a nerve-racking...and informative portrait of a troubled region” (Kansas City Star) that shows the splintering of the nation states previously cobbled together by the victors of World War I. “Engel’s harrowing adventures make for gripping reading” (The New York Times) and his unforgettable view of the suffering and despair of the local populations offers a succinct and authoritative account of our ever-changing world.
Today, she argues, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims can be divided into a minority of extremists, a majority of observant but peaceable Muslims and a few dissidents who risk their lives by questioning their own religion. But there is only one Islam and, as Hirsi Ali shows, there is no denying that some of its key teachings—not least the duty to wage holy war—are incompatible with the values of a free society.
For centuries it has seemed as if Islam is immune to change. But Hirsi Ali has come to believe that a Muslim Reformation—a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity—is now at hand, and may even have begun. The Arab Spring may now seem like a political failure. But its challenge to traditional authority revealed a new readiness—not least by Muslim women—to think freely and to speak out.
Courageously challenging the jihadists, she identifies five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that Muslims have to make to bring their religion out of the seventh century and into the twenty-first. And she calls on the Western world to end its appeasement of the Islamists. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” she writes. It is the Muslim reformers who need our backing, not the opponents of free speech.
Interweaving her own experiences, historical analogies and powerful examples from contemporary Muslim societies and cultures, Heretic is not a call to arms, but a passionate plea for peaceful change and a new era of global toleration. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, with jihadists killing thousands from Nigeria to Syria to Pakistan, this book offers an answer to what is fast becoming the world’s number one problem.
From the barbarians of ISIS to the terror tactics of Al-Qaeda and its offshoots, to the impending threat of a nuclear Iran, those motivated by extreme fundamentalist Islamic faith have the power to endanger and kill millions. The conflict with them will not end until we face the truth about those who find their inspiration and justification in the religion itself.
Drawing on quotes from the Koran and the hadith, as well as from leaders of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Glenn Beck seeks to expose the true origins of Islamic extremism as well as the deadly theological motivations behind these agencies of destruction.
Using the same unique no-holds-barred style from his bestselling books Control and Conform, Glenn Beck offers straight facts and history about the fundamental beliefs that inspire so many to kill.
From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.
During the 1980s, Bacevich argues, a great transition occurred. As the Cold War wound down, the United States initiated a new conflict—a War for the Greater Middle East—that continues to the present day. The long twilight struggle with the Soviet Union had involved only occasional and sporadic fighting. But as this new war unfolded, hostilities became persistent. From the Balkans and East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, U.S. forces embarked upon a seemingly endless series of campaigns across the Islamic world. Few achieved anything remotely like conclusive success. Instead, actions undertaken with expectations of promoting peace and stability produced just the opposite. As a consequence, phrases like “permanent war” and “open-ended war” have become part of everyday discourse.
Connecting the dots in a way no other historian has done before, Bacevich weaves a compelling narrative out of episodes as varied as the Beirut bombing of 1983, the Mogadishu firefight of 1993, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the rise of ISIS in the present decade. Understanding what America’s costly military exertions have wrought requires seeing these seemingly discrete events as parts of a single war. It also requires identifying the errors of judgment made by political leaders in both parties and by senior military officers who share responsibility for what has become a monumental march to folly. This Bacevich unflinchingly does.
A twenty-year army veteran who served in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich brings the full weight of his expertise to this vitally important subject. America’s War for the Greater Middle East is a bracing after-action report from the front lines of history. It will fundamentally change the way we view America’s engagement in the world’s most volatile region.
Praise for America’s War for the Greater Middle East
“Bacevich is thought-provoking, profane and fearless. . . . [His] call for Americans to rethink their nation’s militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Bacevich’s magnum opus . . . a deft and rhythmic polemic aimed at America’s failures in the Middle East from the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to the present.”—Robert D. Kaplan, The Wall Street Journal
“A critical review of American policy and military involvement . . . Those familiar with Bacevich’s work will recognize the clarity of expression, the devastating directness and the coruscating wit that characterize the writing of one of the most articulate and incisive living critics of American foreign policy.”—The Washington Post
“[A] monumental new work.”—The Huffington Post
“An unparalleled historical tour de force certain to affect the formation of future U.S. foreign policy.”—Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
From the Hardcover edition.
Michael B. Oren’s memoir of his time as Israel’s ambassador to the United States—a period of transformative change for America and a time of violent upheaval throughout the Middle East—provides a frank, fascinating look inside the special relationship between America and its closest ally in the region.
Michael Oren served as the Israeli ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013. An American by birth and a historian by training, Oren arrived at his diplomatic post just as Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton assumed office. During Oren’s tenure in office, Israel and America grappled with the Palestinian peace process, the Arab Spring, and existential threats to Israel posed by international terrorism and the Iranian nuclear program. Forged in the Truman administration, America’s alliance with Israel was subjected to enormous strains, and its future was questioned by commentators in both countries. On more than one occasion, the friendship’s very fabric seemed close to unraveling.
Ally is the story of that enduring alliance—and of its divides—written from the perspective of a man who treasures his American identity while proudly serving the Jewish State he has come to call home. No one could have been better suited to strengthen bridges between the United States and Israel than Michael Oren—a man equally at home jumping out of a plane as an Israeli paratrooper and discussing Middle East history on TV’s Sunday morning political shows. In the pages of this fast-paced book, Oren interweaves the story of his personal journey with behind-the-scenes accounts of fateful meetings between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, high-stakes summits with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and diplomatic crises that intensified the controversy surrounding the world’s most contested strip of land.
A quintessentially American story of a young man who refused to relinquish a dream—irrespective of the obstacles—and an inherently Israeli story about assuming onerous responsibilities, Ally is at once a record, a chronicle, and a confession. And it is a story about love—about someone fortunate enough to love two countries and to represent one to the other. But, above all, this memoir is a testament to an alliance that was and will remain vital for Americans, Israelis, and the world.
Praise for Ally
“The smartest and juiciest diplomatic memoir that I’ve read in years, and I’ve read my share. . . . The best contribution yet to a growing literature—from Vali Nasr’s Dispensable Nation to Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights—describing how foreign policy is made in the Age of Obama.”—Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal
“Provocative . . . Oren’s book offers a view into the deep rifts that have opened not only between Washington and Jerusalem, but also between Israeli and American Jews.”—Newsweek
“[Oren is] one of the most uniquely qualified judges of this ever more crucial special relationship.”—The Washington Times
“The diplomatic equivalent of a ‘kiss-and-tell’ memoir . . . informative and in parts entertaining.”—Financial Times
“The talk of Washington and Jerusalem . . . an ultimate insider’s story.”—New York Post
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Former ABC journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the riveting true story of Kamila Sidiqi and other women of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s fearful rise to power. In what Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, calls “one of the most inspiring books I have ever read,” Lemmon recounts with novelistic vividness the true story of a fearless young woman who not only reinvented herself as an entrepreneur to save her family but, in the face of ferocious opposition, brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Kabul.
In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top.
A Rage for Order is the first work of literary journalism to track the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. In the style of V. S. Naipaul and Lawrence Wright, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth brings the history of the present to life through vivid stories and portraits. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the Qaddafi-regime torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy.
Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East, and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.
Though Saudi Arabia sits on one of the richest oil deposits in the world, it also produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. In this immensely important book, journalist Robert Lacey draws on years of access to every circle of Saudi society giving readers the fullest portrait yet of a land straddling the worlds of medievalism and modernity. Moving from the bloody seizure of Mecca's Grand Mosque in 1979, through the Persian Gulf War, to the delicate U.S.-Saudi relations in a post 9/11 world, Inside the Kingdom brings recent history to vivid life and offers a powerful story of a country learning how not to be at war with itself.
In this remarkably human portrait of one of the twentieth century's most complicated personalities, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Andrew Scott Cooper traces the Shah's life from childhood through his ascension to the throne in 1941. He draws the turbulence of the post-war era during which the Shah survived assassination attempts and coup plots to build a modern, pro-Western state and launch Iran onto the world stage as one of the world's top five powers. Readers get the story of the Shah's political career alongside the story of his courtship and marriage to Farah Diba, who became a power in her own right, the beloved family they created, and an exclusive look at life inside the palace during the Iranian Revolution. Cooper's investigative account ultimately delivers the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty through the eyes of those who were there: leading Iranian revolutionaries; President Jimmy Carter and White House officials; US Ambassador William Sullivan and his staff in the American embassy in Tehran; American families caught up in the drama; even Empress Farah herself, and the rest of the Iranian Imperial family. Intimate and sweeping at once, The Fall of Heaven recreates in stunning detail the dramatic and final days of one of the world's most legendary ruling families, the unseating of which helped set the stage for the current state of the Middle East.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Guardian • Financial Times
When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. Hisham would never see him again, but he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance. The Return is the story of what he found there.
The Pulitzer Prize citation hailed The Return as “a first-person elegy for home and father.” Transforming his personal quest for answers into a brilliantly told universal tale of hope and resilience, Matar has given us an unforgettable work with a powerful human question at its core: How does one go on living in the face of unthinkable loss?
Praise for The Return
“A tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage. It simply must be read.”—The Spectator (U.K.)
“Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read.”—Zadie Smith
“[An] eloquent memoir . . . at once a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father’s fate . . . and a son’s efforts to come to terms with his father’s ghost, who has haunted more than half his life by his absence.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“This outstanding book . . . roves back and forth in time with a freedom that conceals the intricate precision of its art.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Truly remarkable . . . a book with a profound faith in the consolations of storytelling . . . a testament to [Matar’s] father, his family and his country.”—The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
“The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. . . . Likely to become a classic.”—Colm Tóibín
“Matar’s evocative writing and his early traumas call to mind Vladimir Nabokov.”—The Washington Post
“Utterly riveting.”—The Boston Globe
“A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart.”—Kazuo Ishiguro, The Guardian
“Beautiful . . . The Return, for all the questions it cannot answer, leaves a deep emotional imprint.”—Newsday
“A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging, and above all, family. It is, as well, a study of the shaping—and breaking—of the bonds between fathers and sons. . . . This is writing of the highest quality.”—The Sunday Times (U.K.)
With his unique mix of clandestine knowledge and paramilitary training, Berntsen represents the new face of counterterrorism. Recognized within the agency for his aggressiveness, Berntsen, when dispatched to Afghanistan, made annihilating the enemy his job description.
As the CIA’s key commander coordinating the fight against the Taliban forces around Kabul, and the drive toward Tora Bora, Berntsen not only led dozens of CIA and Special Operations Forces, he also raised 2,000 Afghan fighters to aid in the hunt for bin Laden.
In this first-person account of that incredible pursuit, which actually began years earlier in an East Africa bombing investigation, Berntsen describes being ferried by rickety helicopter over the towering peaks of Afghanistan, sitting by General Tommy Franks’s side as heated negotiations were conducted with Northern Alliance generals, bargaining relentlessly with treacherous Afghan warlords and Taliban traitors, plotting to save hostages about to be used as pawns, calling in B-52 strikes on dug-in enemy units, and deploying a dizzying array of Special Forces teams in the pursuit of the world’s most wanted terrorist. Most crucially, Berntsen tells of cornering bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains—and what happened when Berntsen begged Washington to block the al-Qaeda leader’s last avenue of escape.
As disturbingly eye-opening as it is adrenaline-charged, Jawbreaker races from CIA war rooms to diplomatic offices to mountaintop redoubts to paint a vivid portrait of a new kind of warfare, showing what can and should be done to deal a death blow to freedom’s enemies.
CIA Commander Gary Berntsen on…
His eyebrow-raising style:
“Most CIA Case Officers advanced their careers by recruiting sources and producing intelligence, I took a more grab-them-by-the-neck approach…I operated on the principle that it was easier to seek forgiveness than ask for approval. Take risks, but make sure you’re successful. Success, not good intentions, would determine my fate.”
Doing whatever it took:
“I didn’t just want to survive: I wanted to annihilate the enemy. And I didn’t want to end up like one of my favorite historical characters—Alexander Burns…He was one of the first of more than 14,000 British soldiers to be wiped out by the Afghans in the First Afghan War. Like Burns before me, I was also an intelligence officer and spoke Persian. This was my second trip into Afghanistan, too. The difference, I told myself, was that Burns had been a gentleman and I would do whatever it took to win.”
Dealing with a Taliban official who controlled American hostages:
“Tell him that if he betrays me or loses the hostages I’ll spend every waking moment of my life hunting him down to kill him. Tell him I’m not like any American he has ever met.”
The capabilities of his Tora Bora spotter team:
“Working nonstop, the four men directed strike after strike by B-1s, B-2s, and F-14s onto the al-Qaeda encampment with incredible precision. Somehow through the massive bureaucracy, thousands of miles of distance [and] reams of red tape…the U.S. had managed to place four of the most skilled men in the world above the motherlode of al-Qaeda, with a laser designator and communications system linked to the most potent air power in history…As I listened over our encrypted radio network, one word kept pounding in my head: revenge.”
Also available as a Random House AudioBook
From the Hardcover edition.
A few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, journalist Megan K. Stack was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen, prodding warlords for information, and witnessing the changes sweeping the Muslim world. Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is her riveting story of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the promise of democracy; she records the raw pain of suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and, one by one, she marks the deaths and disappearances of those she interviews.
A war is being waged against us by radical Islamists, and, as current events demonstrate, they are only getting stronger. Al-Qaeda has morphed into a much more dangerous, menacing threat: ISIS. Lt. General Michael T. Flynn is blunt and urgent. This book aims to inform the American people of the grave danger we face in the war on terror?and will continue to face?until our government takes decisive action against the terrorists that want nothing more than to destroy us and our way of life.
Flynn spent more than thirty three years in Army intelligence, and as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency worked closely with Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, Admiral Mike Mullen, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and other policy, defense, intelligence, and war-fighting leaders. From coordinating on-the-ground operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, to building reliable intelligence networks, to preparing strategic plans for fighting terrorism, Flynn has been a firsthand witness to government screw-ups, smokescreens, and censored information that our leaders don’t want us to know.
The Field of Fight succinctly lays out why we have failed to stop terrorist groups from growing, and what we must do to stop them. The core message is that if you understand your enemies, it’s a lot easier to defeat them?but because our government has concealed the actions of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and groups like ISIS and al Qaeda, and the role of Iran in the rise of radical Islam, we don’t fully understand the enormity of the threat they pose against us.
A call to action that is sensible, informed, and original, The Field of Fight asserts that we must find a way to not only fight better, but to win.
Revelatory and groundbreaking, The Art of Intelligence will change the way people view the CIA, domestic and foreign intelligence, and international terrorism. Henry A. “Hank” Crumpton, a twenty-four-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, offers a thrilling account that delivers profound lessons about what it means to serve as an honorable spy. From CIA recruiting missions in Africa to pioneering new programs like the UAV Predator, from running post–9/11 missions in Afghanistan to heading up all clandestine CIA operations in the United States, Crumpton chronicles his role—in the battlefield and in the Oval Office—in transforming the way America wages war and sheds light on issues of domestic espionage.
For more than a quarter of a century, few countries have been as resistant to American influence or understanding as Iran. The United States and Iran have long eyed each other with suspicion, all too eager to jump to conclusions and slam the door. What gets lost along the way is a sense of what is actually happening inside Iran and why it matters. With a new hard-line Iranian president making incendiary pronouncements and pressing for nuclear developments, the consequences of not understanding Iran have never been higher.
Ray Takeyh, a leading expert on Iran's politics and history, has written a groundbreaking book that demystifies the Iranian regime and shows how the fault lines of Iran's domestic politics serve to explain its behavior. In Hidden Iran, he explains why this country has so often confounded American expectations and why its outward hostility does not necessarily preclude the normalization of relations. Through a clearer understanding of the competing claims of Muslim theology, republican pragmatism, and factional competition, he offers a new paradigm for managing our relations with this rising power.
There is a Threat Lurking Online with the Power to Destroy Your Finances, Steal Your Personal Data, and Endanger Your Life.
In Spam Nation, investigative journalist and cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs unmasks the criminal masterminds driving some of the biggest spam and hacker operations targeting Americans and their bank accounts. Tracing the rise, fall, and alarming resurrection of the digital mafia behind the two largest spam pharmacies-and countless viruses, phishing, and spyware attacks-he delivers the first definitive narrative of the global spam problem and its threat to consumers everywhere.
Blending cutting-edge research, investigative reporting, and firsthand interviews, this terrifying true story reveals how we unwittingly invite these digital thieves into our lives every day. From unassuming computer programmers right next door to digital mobsters like "Cosma"-who unleashed a massive malware attack that has stolen thousands of Americans' logins and passwords-Krebs uncovers the shocking lengths to which these people will go to profit from our data and our wallets.
Not only are hundreds of thousands of Americans exposing themselves to fraud and dangerously toxic products from rogue online pharmacies, but even those who never open junk messages are at risk. As Krebs notes, spammers can-and do-hack into accounts through these emails, harvest personal information like usernames and passwords, and sell them on the digital black market. The fallout from this global epidemic doesn't just cost consumers and companies billions, it costs lives too.
Fast-paced and utterly gripping, Spam Nation ultimately proposes concrete solutions for protecting ourselves online and stemming this tidal wave of cybercrime-before it's too late.
"Krebs's talent for exposing the weaknesses in online security has earned him respect in the IT business and loathing among cybercriminals... His track record of scoops...has helped him become the rare blogger who supports himself on the strength of his reputation for hard-nosed reporting." -Bloomberg Businessweek
The very name of the Israel Defense Forces—which many Israelis speak of as "the most moral army in the world"—suggests that its primary mission is the defense of the country's territory. Indeed, both internationally and within Israel, support for the occupation of Palestinian territory rests on the belief that the army's actions and presence in the West Bank and Gaza are essentially defensive and responsive, aimed at protecting the country from terror.
But Israeli soldiers themselves tell a profoundly different story. In this landmark work, which includes hundreds of soldiers' testimonies collected over a decade, what emerges is a broad policy that is anything but defensive. In their own words, the soldiers reveal in human and vivid detail how the key planks of the army's ostensibly protective program—"prevention of terror," "separation of populations," "preservation of the fabric of life," and "law enforcement"—have in fact served to accelerate acquisition of Palestinian land, cripple all normal political and social life, and ultimately thwart the possibility of independence.
The many soldiers who have spoken out have taken aim at a silence of complicity, both within Israel and in the wider world, that perpetuates the justification for occupation. In the process, they have created a gripping and immediate record of oppression. Powerful and incontrovertible, Our Harsh Logic is a supremely significant contribution to one of the world's most vexed conflicts.
“An important and powerful book that should be read by anyone who believes it is time to take stock after thirteen years and re-evaluate the nature of the threat the country faces and its response to the atrocity of 9/11.” —New York Times Book Review
Ever since 9/11 America has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere and never promising peace. In Pay Any Price, Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen reveals an extraordinary litany of the hidden costs of that war: billions of dollars that went missing from Iraq only to turn up in a bunker in Lebanon; whistleblowers abused, including a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee persecuted by the F.B.I. for expressing her concerns about the NSA spying on U.S. citizens; and an entire professional organization, the American Psychological Association, forced to investigate its own involvement with the government’s use of torture. In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has perpetrated acts that rival the shameful historic wartime abuses of generations past, and it has worked very hard to cover them up. James Risen brings them into the light.
“[Pay Any Price is] a wide-ranging look at consequences of the so-called war on terror and includes stories of shocking thievery during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.” —U.S. News & World Report
“A no-holds-barred tarring and feathering of the past thirteen years of the U.S. national security system. At times frightening, Risen’s book is a strong reminder of the importance of a free press keeping a powerful government in check.” —Daily Beast
At the time, John Nixon was a senior CIA leadership analyst who had spent years studying the Iraqi dictator. Called upon to make the official ID, Nixon looked for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and asked Hussein a list of questions only he could answer. The man was indeed Saddam Hussein, but as Nixon learned in the ensuing weeks, both he and America had greatly misunderstood just who Saddam Hussein really was.
Debriefing the President presents an astounding, candid portrait of one of our era’s most notorious strongmen. Nixon, the first man to conduct a prolonged interrogation of Hussein after his capture, offers expert insight into the history and mind of America’s most enigmatic enemy. After years of parsing Hussein’s leadership from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing sessions and subsequently strips away the mythology surrounding an equally brutal and complex man. His account is not an apology, but a sobering examination of how preconceived ideas led Washington policymakers—and the Bush White House—astray. Unflinching and unprecedented, Debriefing the President exposes a fundamental misreading of one of the modern world’s most central figures and presents a new narrative that boldly counters the received account.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In these twenty-eight interviews, Said addresses everything from Palestine to Pavarotti, from his nomadic upbringing under colonial rule to his politically active and often controversial adulthood, and reflects on Austen, Beckett, Conrad, Naipaul, Mahfouz, and Rushdie, as well as on fellow critics Bloom, Derrida, and Foucault. The passion Said feels for literature, music, history, and politics is powerfully conveyed in this indispensable complement to his prolific life's work.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century is the groundbreaking history of a family and its fortune. It chronicles a young illiterate Yemeni bricklayer, Mohamed Bin Laden, who went to the new, oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia and quickly became a vital figure in its development, building great mosques and highways and making himself and many of his children millionaires. It is also a story of the Saudi royal family, whom the Bin Ladens served loyally and without whose capricious favor they would have been nothing. And it is a story of tensions and contradictions in a country founded on extreme religious purity, which then became awash in oil money and dazzled by the temptations of the West. In only two generations the Bin Ladens moved from a famine-stricken desert canyon to luxury jets, yachts, and private compounds around the world, even going into business with Hollywood celebrities. These religious and cultural gyrations resulted in everything from enthusiasm for America—exemplified by Osama’s free-living pilot brother Salem—to an overwhelming determination to destroy it.
The Bin Ladens is a meticulously researched, colorful, shocking, entertaining, and disturbing narrative of global integration and its limitations. It encapsulates the unsettling contradictions of globalization in the story of a single family who has used money, mobility, and technology to dramatically varied ends.
Three and a half years ago, David Sanger’s book The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power described how a new American president came to office with the world on fire. Now, just as the 2012 presidential election battle begins, Sanger follows up with an eye-opening, news-packed account of how Obama has dealt with those challenges, relying on innovative weapons and reconfigured tools of American power to try to manage a series of new threats. Sanger describes how Obama’s early idealism about fighting “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan quickly turned to fatigue and frustration, how the early hopes that the Arab Spring would bring about a democratic awakening slipped away, and how an effort to re-establish American power in the Pacific set the stage for a new era of tensions with the world’s great rising power, China.
As the world seeks to understand the contours of the Obama Doctrine, Confront and Conceal is a fascinating, unflinching account of these complex years, in which the president and his administration have found themselves struggling to stay ahead in a world where power is diffuse and America’s ability to exert control grows ever more elusive.
Who is ISIS? Where did it come from, and what is driving its successful campaign of murder and conquest? Our government and our media alike seemed to be blindsided by the Islamic State’s blitzkrieg-like advance, which forced American troops back into Iraq. ISIS has conquered a territory roughly the size of the state of Indiana, rules over eight million terrorized souls, and has even revived the practice of legal slavery. And yet the true motivations, inner workings, and future plans of this terror state and its mysterious caliph seem almost as obscure as when ISIS first burst onto the world scene. In ISIS Exposed, veteran investigative reporter Erick Stakelbeck gets inside the story of the new caliphate and reveals just how clear and present a threat it is.
"The best overall survey of the politics, regional rivalries and economics of the contemporary Arab World." -The Washington Post
One of the most crucial, volatile, and complex regions of the modern world, the Middle East has long confounded the dreams of conquerors and peacemakers alike. This now-classic book, fully updated to 2012 and still the essential work on the subject, follows the historic struggles of the Middle East from Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt and Syria, through the slow decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of Islam and its recent resurgence.
For this fourth edition, Economist correspondent Nicolas Pelham contributes an extensive new section examining recent developments throughout the Middle East, including the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the situation in Iran, the region’s relations with the United States under President Obama, the Arab Spring, and more.
In Europe’s Last Summer, David Fromkin provides a different answer: hostilities were commenced deliberately. In a riveting re-creation of the run-up to war, Fromkin shows how German generals, seeing war as inevitable, manipulated events to precipitate a conflict waged on their own terms. Moving deftly between diplomats, generals, and rulers across Europe, he makes the complex diplomatic negotiations accessible and immediate. Examining the actions of individuals amid larger historical forces, this is a gripping historical narrative and a dramatic reassessment of a key moment in the twentieth-century.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1979, seemingly overnight—moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world—Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon. But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be. They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them.
With more than a decade of experience reporting on, researching, and writing about Iran, Laura Secor narrates this unprecedented history as a story of individuals caught up in the slipstream of their time, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with their country’s apparatus of violent repression as well as its rich and often tragic history. Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been more entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting; an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change.
From the Hardcover edition.
ISIS, IS, the Islamic State. The name is chilling. The images are horrific. This is a group that beheads journalists—and yet one, the German Jürgen Todenhöfer, went out of his way to get an invitation to visit ISIS fighters in Mosul in 2014 to ask them to explain their beliefs. This book is the result of his conversation. My Journey into the Heart of Terror: Ten Days in the Islamic State shows how the organization grew from its al-Qaeda roots and takes a harsh look at the West’s role in its past and today. Along the way, Todenhöfer offers startling insights into what ISIS thinks, what it wants—and what must change if it is to be defeated. Only by understanding, Todenhöfer believes, can we move forward and combat ISIS’s radical, violent interpretation of Islam and the terror and destruction it brings.
In the spring of 1946, American journalist I. F. Stone embarked on an incredible adventure, accompanying Holocaust survivors as they made their historic voyage from Eastern Europe to the biblical Promised Land. Undertaken in secrecy against the strict orders of Palestine’s British colonial governors, this harrowing escape began in the displaced persons camps of Germany and Poland. An illegal convoy of the homeless, proud, and determined, these refugees traveled by train and by foot across the European continent before boarding the ship that would carry them past the British blockade to their ancient, ancestral home.
No account of the historic twentieth-century exodus is as poignant, powerful, exhilarating, and dramatic as this acclaimed first-person narrative. Through the words of author I. F. Stone, one of America’s most provocative and revered investigative reporters, these courageous men, women, and children live again. Largely implicit but nevertheless unyielding is Stone’s belief in a binational Arab-Jewish state, a creed unacceptable to the Zionist movement of the time.
Included are essays written in the years following Israel’s establishment, reflecting on the state of the newly reborn nation and the volatile situation in the Middle East thirty years beyond the establishment of Mandatory Palestine. Caught between the immediate, innate sense of belonging he felt in Palestine and his own developing critique of Zionism, Stone wrote into each of these works a personal struggle, a question of justice unsolved today.
With a new introduction by D. D. Guttenplan, this edition reveals a perspective indispensable to understanding past and present tensions in the Middle East.
Geoffrey Wawro approaches America's role in the Middle East in a fundamentally new way-by encompassing the last century of the entire region, rather than focusing narrowly on a particular country or era. The result is a definitive and revelatory history whose drama, tragedy, and rich irony he relates with unprecedented verve. Wawro combed archives in the United States and Europe and traveled the Middle East to unearth new insights into the hidden motivations, backroom dealing, and outright espionage that shaped some of the most tumultuous events of the last one hundred years. Wawro offers piercing analysis of iconic events from the birth of Israel to the death of Sadat, from the Suez crisis to the energy crisis, from the Six-Day War to Desert One, from Iran-contra to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rise of al- Qaeda. Throughout, he draws telling parallels between America's past mistakes and its current quandaries, proving that we're in today's muddle not just because of our old errors, but because we keep repeating those errors.
America has juggled multiple commitments and conflicting priorities in the Middle East for nearly a century. Strands of idealism and ruthless practicality have alternated- and sometimes run together-in our policy. Quicksand untangles these strands as no history has done before by showing how our strategies unfolded over the entire century and across the entire region. We've persistently misread the intentions and motivations of every major player in the region because we've insisted on viewing them through the lens of our own culture, hopes, and fears. Most administrations since Eisenhower's have adopted their own "doctrine" for the Middle East, and almost every doctrine has failed precisely because it's a doctrine-a template into which events on the ground refuse to fit. Geoffrey Wawro's peerless and remarkably lively history is key to understanding our errors and the Middle East-at last- on its own terms.
One of Financial Times' Books of the Year, 2015
A New York Times Editors' Choice
A New Statesman [UK] Essential Book of the Year 2015
A Times [UK] Book of the Year 2015
Shortlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction
Shortlisted for the 2016 Orwell Prize
When Emma Sky volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, she had little idea what she was getting in to. Her assignment was only supposed to last three months. She went on to serve there longer than any other senior military or diplomatic figure, giving her an unrivaled perspective of the entire conflict.
As the representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Kirkuk in 2003 and then the political advisor to US General Odierno from 2007-2010, Sky was valued for her knowledge of the region and her outspoken voice. She became a tireless witness to American efforts to transform a country traumatized by decades of war, sanctions, and brutal dictatorship; to insurgencies and civil war; to the planning and implementation of the surge and the subsequent drawdown of US troops; to the corrupt political elites who used sectarianism to mobilize support; and to the takeover of a third of the country by the Islamic State.
With sharp detail and tremendous empathy, Sky provides unique insights into the US military as well as the complexities, diversity, and evolution of Iraqi society. The Unraveling is an intimate insider's portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed and contains a unique analysis of the course of the war. Highlighting how nothing that happened in Iraq after 2003 was inevitable, Sky exposes the failures of the policies of both Republicans and Democrats, and the lessons that must be learned about the limitations of power.
Rather than focusing on one state or angle, this anthology fills a gap in the literature on the Kurds by providing a panoramic view of the Kurdish homeland's various parts. The volume focuses on aspects of Kurdish nationalism and identity formation not addressed elsewhere, including perspectives on literature, gender, and constitution making. Further, broad thematic essays include a discussion of the historical experiences of the Kurds from the time of their Islamization more than a millennium ago up until the modern era, a comparison of the Kurdish experience with other ethno-national movements, and a treatment of the role of tribalism in modern nation building. This collection is unique in its use of original sources in various languages. The result is an analytically rich portrayal that sheds light on the Kurds' prospects and the challenges they confront in a region undergoing sweeping upheavals.
Sciutto profiles a cross-section of people in the Arab world, including a former Al-Qaeda jihadi turned electrician in Saudi Arabia, a Jordanian college student willing to risk his life by killing Americans in Baghdad, a Christian woman who supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, bitter pro-democracy advocates in Egypt who feel betrayed by the United States, and British-born Muslim terrorists living in London. The result is an alarming portrait of the depth and scope of anti-American sentiment.
Opposing America has become the unifying rallying cry for a rapidly growing pan-Arab nationalist movement. Conspiracy theories abound as Muslims begin to feel they are targeted by America, their political autonomy sabotaged. The Iraq war has become one of the most powerful recruiting tools for enemies of the United States.
Yet there is hope for America to turn the tide of hate. Sciutto talks with a young female student in Afghanistan who is cautiously optimistic that the United States will not fail her country in the rebuilding effort—and with a reformed jihadi in London who is finding ways to counsel young British Muslims away from their hatred of America. Democratic ideals are still held in high esteem, even as America’s perceived actions against Muslims are not.
Against Us is an urgent wake-up call for all Americans—and in particular those charged with formulating U.S. foreign policy—to rebuild relations with the Arab world and restore confidence in American values.
From the Hardcover edition.
The greatest danger to America’s peace and prosperity, notes leading Middle East policy analyst Kenneth M. Pollack, lies in the political repression, economic stagnation, and cultural conflict running rampant in Arab and Muslim nations. By inflaming political unrest and empowering terrorists, these forces pose a direct threat to America’s economy and national security. The impulse for America might be to turn its back on the Middle East in frustration over the George W. Bush administration’s mishandling of the Iraq War and other engagements with Arab and Muslim countries. But such a move, Pollack asserts, will only exacerbate problems. He counters with the idea that we must continue to make the Middle East a priority in our policy, but in a humbler, more humane, more realistic, and more cohesive way.
Pollack argues that Washington’s greatest sin in its relations with the Middle East has been its persistent unwillingness to make the sustained and patient effort needed to help the people of the Middle East overcome the crippling societal problems facing their governments and societies. As a result, the United States has never had a workable comprehensive policy in the region, just a skein of half-measures intended either to avoid entanglement or to contain the influence of the Soviet Union.
Beyond identifying the stagnation of civic life in Arab and Muslim states and the cumulative effect of our misguided policies, Pollack offers a long-term strategy to ameliorate the political, economic, and social problems that underlie the region’s many crises. Through his suggested policies, America can engage directly with the governments of the Middle East and indirectly with its people by means of cultural exchange, commerce, and other “soft” approaches. He carefully examines each of the region’s most contested areas, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and explains how the United States can address each through mutually reinforcing policies.
At a time when the nation will be facing critical decisions about our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, A Path Out of the Desert is guaranteed to stimulate debate about America’s humanitarian, diplomatic, and military involvement in the Middle East.
From the Hardcover edition.
With the rise of ISIS, a new style of terrorism that publicly gloats over acts of extreme cruelty has reawakened the fears of the global audience. But in Don't Panic, Gwynne Dyer argues that the advent of "Islamic State" and its clones does not substantially raise the risk of major terrorist attacks in Western countries. It does, however, pose a grave threat to the Arab countries of the Middle East.
In Don't Panic, Dyer first explains why the Middle East has become the global capital of terrorism. He then examines how terrorist organisations in the Arab world have evolved over time, with particular emphasis on the events of the past fifteen years and the current situation in Syria and Iraq. And in the end Dyer departs from his long-standing position that foreign interventions always make matters worse to argue that a little military intervention of the right kind may avert a genocide in Syria.
"When my information changes, I alter my conclusions," said John Maynard Keynes. "What do you do, sir?"
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Despite numerous warnings from intelligence services, ISIS's rise to power has left countries around the world floundering for solutions. Today, we face a threat that is more violent, powerful and financially stronger than ever before. In this book, Journalist Benjamin Hall will provide insights by answering the basic questions we still don't have the answers to; Who are they? Where did they come from? How are they so successful, so quickly? How can they be stopped?
By embedding himself behind enemy lines, Hall provides a riveting narrative based on firsthand experience and personal interviews. He goes beyond the vicious jihadis, to reveal a generation of chaos, and uncover a volatile region engulfed in turmoil. Hall reveals why ISIS is a problem that will define the Middle East - and the West - for decades to come.
The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the single most consequential event in Israel’s recent history, and one that fundamentally altered the trajectory for both Israel and the Palestinians. In Killing a King, Dan Ephron relates the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker, Yigal Amir, over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one of them planned political deals he hoped would lead to peace, and the other plotted murder. "Carefully reported, clearly presented, concise and gripping," It stands as "a reminder that what happened on a Tel Aviv sidewalk 20 years ago is as important to understanding Israel as any of its wars" (Matti Friedman, The Washington Post).
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 the most powerful and respected members of Congress, lasted thirty-five years and culminated in his transformational role as budget czar and White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. But after a brief “retirement,” he returned to public service in 2009 as the CIA director who led the intelligence war that killed Osama Bin Laden and then 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 also a testament to a lost kind of political leadership that favors progress and duty to country over partisanship.
Leon Panetta calls them as he sees them in Worthy Fights. Suffused with its author’s decency and common sense, the book is an inspiring American success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the defining figures and events of our time.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Here is a scrupulously documented account—much of which is based on unprecedented access to previously undisclosed documents—of the agency’s tireless hunt for intelligence on enemies and allies alike. Body of secrets is a riveting analysis of this most clandestine of agencies, a major work of history and investigative journalism.
A New York Times Notable Book
Americans are in denial when it comes to facing up to how vulnerable our nation is to disaster, be it terrorist attack or act of God. We have learned little from the cataclysms of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. When it comes to catastrophe, America is living on borrowed time–and squandering it. In this new book, leading security expert Stephen Flynn issues a call to action, demanding that we wake up and prepare immediately for a safer future.
The truth is acts of terror cannot always be prevented, and nature continues to show its fury in frighteningly unpredictable ways. Resiliency, argues Flynn, must now become our national motto. With chilling frankness and clarity, Flynn paints an all too real scenario of the threats we face within our own borders. A terrorist attack on a tanker carrying liquefied natural gas into Boston Harbor could kill thousands and leave millions more of New Englanders without power or heat. The destruction of a ship with a cargo of oil in Long Beach, California, could bring the West Coast economy to its knees and endanger the surrounding population. But even these all-too-plausible terrorist scenarios pale in comparison to the potential destruction wrought by a major earthquake or hurricane.
Our growing exposure to man-made and natural perils is largely rooted in our own negligence, as we take for granted the infrastructure handed down to us by earlier generations. Once the envy of the world, this infrastructure is now crumbling. After decades of neglect, our public health system leaves us at the mercy of microbes that could kill millions in the next flu pandemic. Flash flooding could wipe out a fifty-year-old dam north of Phoenix, placing thousands of homes and lives at risk. The next San Francisco earthquake could destroy century-old levees, contaminating the freshwater supply that most of California relies on for survival.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The Edge of Disaster tells us what we can do about it, as individuals and as a society. We can–and, Flynn argues, we must–construct a more resilient nation. With the wounds of recent national tragedies still unhealed, the time to act is now.
Flynn argues that by tackling head-on, eyes open the perils that lie before us, we can remain true to our most important and endearing national trait: our sense of optimism about the future and our conviction that we can change it for the better for ourselves–and our children.