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How Did This Happen?: Terrorism And The New War [Paperback]

James F. Hoge Jr. , Gideon Rose
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 10 2001 Publicaffairs Reports
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on September 11, one question has been on everyone's mind: "How did this happen?" This book seeks to answer this question in all its critical aspects--the motives and actions of the terrorists, the status of the U.S. military, the context of the Middle East, bioterrorism, airport security, diplomatic pressures--and to provide readers with perspective, information, and sound interpretation. The editors of Foreign Affairs have brought together noted experts whose insights make the events of that terrible day more understandable, even as we steel ourselves for the conflicts ahead.

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"A thorough, accessible and highly balanced primer, which should raise the quality of the ongoing debate." -- Peter Gizewski, Toronto Globe and Mail, February 16, 2002.

About the Author

James F. Hoge, Jr., is the editor of Foreign Affairs and was previously publisher of the New York Daily News and editor and publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times. Gideon Rose, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, has served on the staff of the National Security Council and has taught at Princeton and Columbia universities.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Did it Not Happen Sooner Feb. 20 2003
Although this book was a rush job right after the 9-11 attacks it does cover some very interesting issues and points of view. The book has essays from a number of foreign policy and terrorism experts on topics ranging from the CIA efforts in Afghanistan, the cultural environment in the Middle East, airport security, bio-weapons and the ability of the US armed forces to handle this new threat. The topics covered are very interesting and gives the reader and good overview of the different issues involved in this complicated foreign policy and security issue. The essays are also minus most of the emotion that many other books on the 9-11 attacks have. This is probably due to the topics of the essays and the limited space each author was given. The editors also did a good job of arranging the essays so that the book had a good flow and the items lead into one another.
Overall my only real complaint with the book is that there were a few errors here and there, but they are due to the quick publishing date of the book and do not take away much from the points. Also reading a book with a new author per chapter you do not have a consistent writing style but the editors did a good job in that the wide range of authors is not a detriment to the flow of the book. I assumption is that the test of some was edited with a heavy hand to provide the consistent writing style. Overall the book is an interesting look at the causes of the 9-11 attacks and well worth reading.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Compilation Falls Short of Answers Sept. 8 2002
With such an indispensable question asked of this book's title, the book never reaches it to that indispensable mark. It certainly hits all around the dartboard like a late night drunk randomly firing darts in his favorite corner bar at three in the morning. But to answer a question like "How did this happen (9/11?" we need a stone cold sober dart champion focused and singular firing bull's eye after bull's eye.
Here's what I mean, in the same book we get disparate articles on "The Biological Threat From Abroad," by Richard Butler, "What's next for U.S. Armed Forces," by Gen Wesley Clark, and "American Society Responds to the New War," by Alan Wolfe; none of which go towards answering the question that continues to burn in the minds of free people across the world, "How did this happen?" or more succinctly "Why?"
Give credit where it is due to the editors of Foreign Affairs (one of my favorite journals) for assembling such a powerhouse of national policy experts writing about the topics they know best, but to unroot the causes of Islamic extremist one book alone won't cut it. Delve much deeper than what this book has to offer. Check out some of the assembled suggested reading listmania lists here on "Amazon.com" and start digging in. I've read about 10 books on the subject to date and feel like I have ten more to go to scratch at some sort of understanding.
What we need to here from is from inside the Maddrassas that ingrain a hatred of the West from an early age. These schools are all over Pakistan and dotted about the Middle East. If we can get at why these children are taught to hate and are hijacking a peaceful beautiful religion maybe we can get closer to answering the question, "How did this happen?"
Read this book to hear how the leaders in their respective fields view the terrorist problem and what is to be done all from a US perspective, but don't buy into the preconception that it will answer the question published on the title.
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The question that is the title of this book is one that will be pondered over for a very very long time. Obviously the 9/11 attacks had many causes from the roots of the "jihad" against us to the failures of security and intelligence operations. In this book, published shortly after the attacks, the editors of "Foreign Affairs" have gathered together a diverse group of experts on various subjects relating to the terrible events of that day and asked each to submit a short essay on their particular area of expertise. The first group concern Islam, the Middle East and the U.S. role in the region. Brian Jenkins attempts to dissect the Al Quaeda organization. Fouad Ajami, a foreign affairs thinker I greatly admire, writes about the uneasy American presence in the Middle East and its relationship to the jihad against the West. Michael Scott Doran also covers this subject from the perspective that the United States is intervening in an Islamic civil war. Karen Armstrong, an expert on Islam, briefly examines the religion's history to demonstrate how Islam has no tradition of violence and the Medieval tradition of conquest was not inspired by the Koran. It is her view that today's Islamic radicalism is a modern phenomenon. Walter Laqueur, an expert on terrorism, contributes a fascinating piece on the changing tactics of terrorists. He looks at the stark difference in scale of bloodshed between the nationalistic terrorists such as the IRA or the Basque Separatists who had at least rational goals, if not deplorable methods, and the nihilism of the Islamists. Other essays look at the history of Afghanistan, the duplicitous role played by Saudi Arabia and Sandy Berger contributes an essay on Bin Laden's phony concern for the Palestinians. The next series looks to issues of protecting the U.S. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Invaluable Frame of Reference June 3 2002
For those who wish to understand both "how" and "why" events on September 11th occurred, I think this is the best single-source of information and analysis. Hoge and Rose have assembled and edited 23 essays written by a commendably diverse number of authorities on separate but related subjects which include an "anatomy of the terrorist attack" (Brian M. Jenkins). "Islam through history" (Karen Armstrong), "prevention, deterrence, defense" (William J. Perry), "the economic repercussions" (Martin N. Bailey), and "what September 11th hath wrought" (Fareed Zakaria). Obviously, all of us (including these and other authorities) are still sorting through and correlating new information as it becomes available. Definitive "answers" to the questions we now ask may not be determined for years and perhaps not for decades. Obviously, the events which occurred on September 11th did not occur in a vacuum. Moreover, the implications and consequences of those events continue to reveal themselves. For me, this anthology's greatest value lies in the frame of reference which the essayists create. Hoge and Rose conclude their Introduction as follows: "As we mourn the dead, we must also absorb the lessons, some of which are grim. Additional terrorist attacks on America are likely. Chemical and biological weapons may be used. September 11, an outrage and a tragedy for us, is an inspiration for terrorists. Only preparedness, determination, and ultimately, self-confidence can offset the forebodings. The moral that Winston Churchill chose for his towering history of the previous global conflict is as apt now as it was then:
In War: Resolution
In Defeat: Defiance
In Victory: Magnanimity
In Peace: Goodwill
Those who carefully read this book will also be better prepared to understand what has yet to occur, not only in the United States but throughout the world.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Well might they ask
Let's see. Contributors to this collection include: Bill Clinton's secretary of defense; Bill Clinton's national security advisor; a raft of folks from Bill Clinton's National... Read more
Published on March 28 2002 by Andrew S. Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Conventional Wisdom At Its Very Best--Missing the Edge
This is an extraordinary collection, conventional wisdom at its very best, and would have to be considered a fundamental and useful reference. Read more
Published on March 10 2002 by Robert David STEELE Vivas
5.0 out of 5 stars It answers the question it asks.
Hoge and Rose are the editor and managing editor, respectively, of Foreign Affairs. The title asks the question, referring to 9/11, and the various essays in the book collectively... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2002 by Emil L. Posey
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of a number of issue areas
If it comes from "Foreign Affairs" you know the writing is informed, intelligenct, and thought provoking. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2002 by Jaime L.
2.0 out of 5 stars Sandy Berger fiddled while New York (nearly) burned
How is it that former deputy security advisor Sandy Berger rates as an authority on how 9/11 happened? Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002 by Rich Leonardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Coverage Of All Aspects
As usualy, the editors of Foreign Affaris have published timely and trenchant analysis. The essays cover all aspects of 9/11, from root causes to practical concerns regarding the... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Jon Vedamuthu
5.0 out of 5 stars What we may have thought we knew, we didn't.
Many would and do say that it is easy to see how this could happen, meaning the attacks were in fact low down and low tech, hitting us at our vulnerable spot, our freedom. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2001 by Darvel Medford
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
For an instant book this is a very solid piece of work, certainly the best single place to start trying to understand September 11. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstanding!
Imagine getting the country's best experts on terrorism, foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and religion, and so forth into one room for a personal tutorial on the September... Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2001 by "danielnyc"
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