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Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi and the Selling of the Iraq War [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Richard Bonin , Kaleo Griffith

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Book Description

Dec 6 2011
In 1958, Ahmad Chalabi’s wealthy Shiite family was exiled from Iraq after a revolution that ultimately put Saddam Hussein in power. The young Chalabi devoted his life to restoring his family to prominence. His first coup attempt was in 1963 at age nineteen, while on a school break from MIT. His next was aided by Iranian intelligence. But as the years passed and Saddam stayed in power, Chalabi made an audacious decision: he needed the support of both Iran and its powerful archenemy, the United States.

Drawing on unparalleled access to Chalabi, Bonin traces the exile’s ingenious efforts to stoke a desire for Iraqi regime change in the U.S. He narrates Chalabi’s ill-fated engage­ment with the CIA and his later focus on neoconservative policy makers who rose to power under George W. Bush. As a result, from day two of the Bush presidency, the push for a new Iraq was on, with the intent to install Ahmad Chalabi as overseer of U.S. interests in the Middle East. The outcome was perhaps the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history and a triumphant end to Chalabi’s forty-five-year quest.

Today, as we prepare to withdraw our troops from Iraq, Arrows of the Night is full of shocking revelations about how we got there, including the true story of Chalabi’s relation­ship with Iran. This page-turner, with its definitive account of the war, irrevocably alters a story we thought we knew.

Product Details

  • Audio CD: 10 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (Dec 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307940691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307940698
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 13.5 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g

Product Description


Praise for Arrows of the Night

"This is the most thorough telling of the story of Ahmad Chalabi... Arrows of the Night is a first-rate case study of both Middle Eastern émigré politics and the American way of dealing with the Middle East."
     —Foreign Affairs

Arrows of the Night is the best book on the Iraq War, bar none. Bonin has written the authoritative account of how one man, along with a handful of well-meaning but naïve confederates, conned the greatest power on earth into a war it will rue for years. I read it in a sitting, and it answered every question I had about this folly. It is a must-read for the historian and anyone with the slightest interest in politics.”
     —Robert Baer, author of See No Evil and The Company We Keep

“People ask me, ‘Why was there an Iraq War?’ Now I can tell them: read Arrows of the Night. It’s the best-researched, most readable narrative about how a small group of people caused the United States to fight a war that was unnecessary, and, worse, counterproductive. Most Americans do not know who Ahmad Chalabi is, but this is the story of how every American has paid a price for Chalabi’s successful manipulation of our government.”
     —Richard A. Clarke, author of Against All Enemies

“In Arrows of the Night, Richard Bonin has provided a stunning portrayal of Ahmad Chalabi that, for the first time, brings him to life and places him in his proper historical context. Bonin, one of our best reporters in Washington, provides a fascinating account of Chalabi’s secretive ties to the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, and shows us that Chalabi and the neoconservatives were engaged in an elaborate dance, using each other to justify war.”
     —James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

“A marvelous read about a tragic and deceitful relationship.”
     —James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory, Body of Secrets, and The Puzzle Palace

About the Author

RICHARD BONIN is a producer at 60 Minutes, working with Lesley Stahl, and has won five Emmys for his work. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Exploration of a Tragic Figure Dec 8 2011
By JonaAmazon - Published on
Just as you cannot separate the dancer from the dance, you cannot separate significant historical figures from their enveloping history. Such is one lesson from ARROWS OF THE NIGHT, which explores the biography of Ahmad Chalabi who coaxed the United States into a war of choice in Iraq by "cloudseeding" public and private debates "in the steadfast belief that eventually the circumstances of history [would] combine to produce the outcome of [his] choosing".

Richard Bonin provides exhaustive primary and secondary research, deftly and meticulously acknowledging the nuanced ambiguity of the historical record. He breathes life into Chalabi who mirrors the infantile amoral brilliance of the Monkey King in classical Chinese literature. The title has a poetic quality, originating from Shia "prayers and execrations [at night] sent up to heaven by the oppressed and the innocent" and "returned like arrows directed at your enemies". Bonin effortlessly makes fascinating references to Shakespeare, CIA secure telephone units, 18th century Russian Potemkin villages, the ancient Roman patrician Cincinnatus, Che Guevara and the 1941 Lend-Lease Act. Though he provides an abundance of fascinating details, vignettes and side trips, he never loses sight of the historical context or the larger narrative arc.

This book rivals Kinzer's ALL THE SHAH'S MEN or Wright's THE LOOMING TOWER as an accessible, original and significant contribution to understanding the modern history of the Islamic world and its interactions with the American government. You'll enjoy the VIP pass to the backstage of the CIA, DOD, White House and State Department.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ Dec 15 2011
By Josh Rushing - Published on
Clearly the previous reviewer's ties to Chalabi present a conflict of interest. Amazon should remove his two-star review.

I read ARROWS OF THE NIGHT and loved it. It is perhaps the most instructive book I've found on why the US went to war in Iraq--including the one I wrote and the many I've read.

I recommend this book to everyone, unless of course, they're a close associate of Chalabi. (See the comments on Nibras Kazimi's review)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A biography that you cannot put down Jan. 1 2012
By Brian M. Beitner - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For a first effort this book is monumental. It reads like a gripping spy thriller but educates the way non fiction and biographies should. Bonin clearly has a talent for telling a story but he brings a professional journalist's (in his case as a veteran producer with 60 minutes) ability to present the full story without bias. Despite the serious treatment he keeps the reader engrossed. I look forward to Bonin's next book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The CIA gets exposed again, but this time the congress tops 'em Jan. 9 2012
By C M Thomes - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm not quite done with the book, but it's the same old story. Secret usa taxpayers money by the truckload to people who could care lees about American interests, and nobody audits them. I read "Legacy Of Ashes", by Tim Wiener a while back which covers the period of my life and what the secret CIA did during that time, and I thought nothing could make me more sick to my stomach or leave me feeling more hopeless about America's ability to control itself. But the Chalabi story shows that the same insane and illegal operations are still fully funded with our money and overseen by people who you wouldn't loan your car too in an emergency. If anything this great book says "your government is like an iceberg, 90% of it is underwater and unknown to the American People". And it's run by fanatics and manipulators - well, con men - and our presidents and congress are just pawns in the game. Spineless - I would say traitorous stooges - politicians who care more about being in on secret illegal operations than about following the duties laid out for them in the constitution. Every one of these books I read about the CIA (actually they look "good" compared to the other conspirators in the Iraq disaster) makes me want to puke, and move to a country that demands transparency and honesty. That IS NOT the current America.
5.0 out of 5 stars Devil Is In The Details June 7 2013
By CenturionOfTheSeed - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
A wonderful work that vastly enhanced my understanding of the man and his motives. Quite the fascinating character--whatever ills he brought upon us. Upon gaining such insight, I feel less disdain for him than I do for those in our government that relied on him.

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