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Blackwater: The Rise Of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Hardcover]

Jeremy Scahill
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 23 2007
On September 16, 2007, machine gun fire erupted in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, leaving seventeen Iraqi civilians dead, among them women and children. The shooting spree, labeled “Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday,” was neither the work of Iraqi insurgents nor U.S. soldiers. The shooters were private forces working for the secretive mercenary company, Blackwater Worldwide.

This is the explosive story of a company that rose a decade ago from Moyock, North Carolina, to become one of the most powerful players in the “War on Terror.” In his gripping bestseller, award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill takes us from the bloodied streets of Iraq to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans to the chambers of power in Washington, to expose Blackwater as the frightening new face of the U.S. war machine.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Scahill, a regular contributor to the Nation, offers a hard-left perspective on Blackwater USA, the self-described private military contractor and security firm. It owes its existence, he shows, to the post–Cold War drawdown of U.S. armed forces, its prosperity to the post-9/11 overextension of those forces and its notoriety to a growing reputation as a mercenary outfit, willing to break the constraints on military systems responsible to state authority. Scahill describes Blackwater's expansion, from an early emphasis on administrative and training functions to what amounts to a combat role as an internal security force in Iraq. He cites company representatives who say Blackwater's capacities can readily be expanded to supplying brigade-sized forces for humanitarian purposes, peacekeeping and low-level conflict. While emphasizing the possibility of an "adventurous President" employing Blackwater's mercenaries covertly, Scahill underestimates the effect of publicity on the deniability he sees as central to such scenarios. Arguably, he also dismisses too lightly Blackwater's growing self-image as the respectable heir to a long and honorable tradition of contract soldiering. Ultimately, Blackwater and its less familiar counterparts thrive not because of a neoconservative conspiracy against democracy, as Scahill claims, but because they provide relatively low-cost alternatives in high-budget environments and flexibility at a time when war is increasingly protean. (Apr. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Scahill provided me information...which I have not been able to get from the U.S. military...I have read more from Mr. Scahill, than I've got from our own government."--Representative Marcy Kaptur, Defense Appropriations Committee"[T]his is no uninformed partisan screed...Meticulously documented and encyclopedic in's a comprehensive and authoritative guide...this book serves as a provocative primer for advancing the debate."--Bill Sizemore, Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist, "Virginian-Pilot""Andy McNab couldn't have invented this prescient tale of the private army of mercenaries run by a Christian conservative millionaire who, in turn, bankrolls the president. A chilling expose of the ultimate military outsource."--Christopher Fowler, "The New Review"'s "Best Books of 2007""Fascinating and magnificently documented...Jeremy Scahill's new book is a brilliant expose and belongs on the reading list of any conscientious citizen."--Scott Horton, International and Military Law Expert, Columbia University Law School

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive! May 16 2010
This book will give you nightmares. The author provides an extremely thorough look at the Blackwater empire and the issue of combat contractors in whole. Thoroughly researched (although I recommend the reader consistently refer to the endnotes throughout), this work will make you consider the future of the United States' military-industrial complex and how far it will go. Extremely well-written, entertaining, intriguing, and conducive to critical thought, this comes very highly recommended for both the policy expert and civilian-on-the-sidelines alike.

I hope he publishes an updated version soon, as there have been many important developments since the pressing of this edition.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A diligent analysis of a disturbing trend Aug. 29 2008
Far more than just a "spin of the week," this book represents the only substantial investigation of the growth of government-sponsored mercenary armies. Blackwater may have made the biggest splash across the headlines, but it is worth noting that the book came out in hardcover before Blackwater was kicked out of Iraq. It would have been nice to see some comparative analysis of other mercenary companies as well, but for the moment, Scahill's analysis of Blackwater will have to stand on its own.

Scahill covers the rise of the Prince family, as well as the growth of the connection between the family and the neo-cons of the Republican party. I don't personally see the menace behind Prince's Christianity - I think this is where Scahill is stretching - but his analyses of specific incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan is detailed and informative. Scahill's book only shows the need for further reporting on the world of soldiers for hire.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener March 11 2012
An extremely well-written, eye opening book. Would highly recommend it. It's particularly unsettling that a lot of ordinary people have mutual funds invested in organizations that they would probably never knowlingly support.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Information! April 28 2011
A very informative, well researched book. Very easy to read,understand and digest. It's great deatail and connection of the dots is well laid out by the author. Quite ambitious plans,that the "powers at be in the U.S.A" will go to to enhance the influence of the "Empire" and yet mis-inform, or not inform, the U.S. and world public.
Highly recommend this book for it's content and the entertainment value as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book Jan. 25 2010
I found the book to be pretty thorough. Lots of information, lots of background, well researched. Scahill's opposition to the war in general is obvious, but it does not come off as blatantly biased as some reviewers felt it did. I enjoyed it a lot.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concerning Private Armies Aug. 24 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a very revealing,expose on the private armies of The is very concerning,A great job of Authorship and devoted digging,.
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