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Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman,liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill. Only slightly less improbable is Gust Avrakotos, a blue-collar Greek immigrant who joined the CIA when it was an Ivy League preserve and fought his elitist colleagues almost as ruthlessly as he fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War's waning years. In conjunction with President Zia of Pakistan in the 1980s, Wilson and Arvakotos circumvented most of the barriers to arming the Afghan mujahideen-distance, money, law and internal CIA politics, to name a few. Their coups included getting Israeli-modified Chinese weapons smuggled into Afghanistan, with the Pakistanis turning a blind eye,and the cultivation of a genius-level weapons designer and strategist named Michael Vickers, a key architect of the guerrilla campaign that left the Soviet army stymied. The ultimate weapon in Afghanistan was the portable Stinger anti-aircraft missile, which eliminated the Soviet's Mi-24 helicopter gunships and began the train of events leading to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites. A triumph of ruthless ability over scruples, this story has dominated recent history in the form of blowback: many of the men armed by the CIA became the Taliban's murderous enforcers and Osama bin Laden's protectors. Yet superb writing from Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, will keep even the most vigorous critics of this Contra-like affair reading to the end.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A longtime Sixty Minutes producer investigates the expenditure of what eventually amounted to $1 billion a year to support Afghanistan's Mujahideen in their battle against the Soviets.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
When anyone sets out to establish the historical record of any particularly murky period of history like the 1980s and the collapse of Communism, they would be well advised to have... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2008 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
If this were fiction I would have to give it three stars or less for being unbelievably over-the-top. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by joe-maryland
Apparently many more awake than i knew the story Crile tells (in great detail) in this book of how 1) the Cold War really ended, and 2) why the Middle East is a hotbed of... Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by Carroll Straus
Author George Crile has documented America's initial plunge into the cauldron of fundamentalist Islamic politics in an account that is both eye-opening and disturbing. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Amazon Customer
This story is so unbelievable that it has to be true... right?
It should be called Gust's and Charlie's War, but that just wouldn't flow, now, would it?
Poor Gust. Read more
We purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my Father-in-law, who is incredibly difficult to buy for. This is the first gift ever I think he has actually enjoyed. Read morePublished on June 3 2004
How would you like to meet Charlie Wilson, Carol Shannon, Mike Vickers, Gust Avrakotos, Joanne Herring, Doc Long and Zia ul-Haq? Read morePublished on May 1 2004 by Brady Buchanan
"In little over a decade, two events have transformed the world we live in: the collapse of our Cold War nuclear foe, the Soviet Union; and the discovery, after 9/11, that we... Read morePublished on April 15 2004 by Ron Atkins