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Obama's Wars Hardcover – Sep 27 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Sept. 27 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439172498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439172490
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #293,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'If any writer is entitled to an opinion on the war in Afghanistan, it is Bob Woodward. The author and Watergate reporting legend has just resurfaced from two years' immersion in the subject, having interviewed 100 officials past and present, major White House players -- many several times over -- as well as the president himself. The resulting book, Obama's Wars, has become an instant bestseller, as well as an instant headline-grabber, chiefly because of the verbal fireworks and fractious policy debate among the protagonists in the administration. And in trademark Woodward fashion -- this is his 16th book -- it is impeccably unbiased and utterly non-judgemental. "I believe in neutral inquiry," he tells The Daily Telegraph, in his first British interview since the book's publication. "That is the core job of the journalist." ' Interview, Daily Telegrah 2/10

From the Back Cover

39 New and Revised Titles. The Best Just Got Better! Plus Glossary from Webster's New World Dictionary Anthem Atlas Shrugged Beowulf Brave New World The Canterbury Tales The Catcher in the Rye The Contender The Crucible The Fountainhead Frankenstein The Grapes of Wrath Great Expectations The Great Gatsby Hamlet Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer Huckleberry Finn The Iliad Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Inherit the Wind Jane Eyre Julius Caesar The Killer Angels King Lear The Lord of the Flies Macbeth 1984 The Odyssey The Oedipus Trilogy The Once and Future King Othello The Outsiders Pride and Prejudice The Red Badge of Courage Romeo and Juliet The Scarlet Letter A Separate Peace A Tale of Two Cities To Kill a Mockingbird Wuthering Heights See inside for the complete line-up of available CliffsNotes! Check Out the All-New CliffsNotes Guides To AOL®, iMacs, eBay®, Windows® 98, Investing, Creating Web Pages, and more! More Than Notes! CliffsComplete CliffsTestPrep CliffsQuickReview CliffsAP Over 300 CliffsNotes Available @ cliffsnotes.com Downloadable 24 hours a day Free daily e-mail newsletters Free tips, tricks, and trivia Free online CliffsNotes catalog Free self-assessment tools Freeware and shareware downloads --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." -- Romans 16:17 (NKJV)

Every leader values having subordinates who quickly, effectively, and eagerly obey without complaining once a decision has been made. In Obama's Wars, you can see that the president's selections of top appointees mostly didn't include seeking out such people. It's not surprising that when it came to deciding whether to surge troop levels in Afghanistan that the people involved followed their own agendas, rather than the president's. Bob Woodward was able to gather so much evidence about the process from participants that they might as well have invited him into all of the meetings in the first place. It's a disturbing level of "disclosure" about what are supposed to be secret topics.

Because of concerns about increasing terrorist threats to the United States, everyone involved felt the urge to do what they knew how to do: Send more troops to Afghanistan. After reading this book, you'll wish that they spent as much time on improving ways to track down and stop terrorists on their way to North America from al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia rather than on killing as many Taliban as possible.

The ultimate decision is simply a sop to the military leaders, not a practical plan to accomplish anything. It reminded me of the methods being used to reduce unemployment: Spend trillions without having a clear idea of what the benefit is because a worse result seems unacceptable. If some "experts" with credentials can supply a rationale, run with that fig leaf and spend, spend, spend. While that's fine when it comes to money, you have to wonder about its relevance when lives and safety are at stake.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HARRY on April 3 2011
Format: Hardcover
Woodward has good connections/sources but the book is repetitious and the story could have been told in half the space.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 215 reviews
253 of 285 people found the following review helpful
Run, Don't Walk to get this Book - Woodward pens another Important Best Seller!!! Sept. 29 2010
By Richad of Connecticut - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the author's personal note to this book, Bob Woodward thanks his assistant Josh Bock with words of such kindness that I was completely taken aback by the grace that this man possesses. Many writers wouldn't take the time, or interest to be so encouraging to someone else.

Woodward's writing has the poet's touch. It is elegant, straightforward, and of such compelling interest that this book like many others he has written, is a page turner. You start it, and you just keep going until you are finished.

First we must discuss his sources and methods. This author doesn't publish unless he has confirmation of what he is being told by an additional 3rd party. His interviews are recorded, transcribed and then checked for errors. He sometimes revisits the same interviewee 4 or 5 times. He works with notes, documents and recollections.

Although a person being interviewed may request that it be background only, once Woodward gets the same story from another independent source, the story is no longer background. Many people have talked to Woodward on the basis of background in an effort to remain anonymous, and control him. It just doesn't remain that way. You are not going to fool this man.

When you read Obama's Wars, you realize that you can't obtain this much great information if you read a year's worth of the New York Times. You are getting the real deal here, and you don't get it anywhere else. Let me illustrate:

* When meeting President Bush's intelligence officer and hearing what he had to say prior to the election, then Senator Obama responds that he was worried about losing this election, now he's worried about winning the election with the information he is being told.

* Woodward confirms for us that Pakistani intelligence, the so called ISI has been giving aide to the Taliban, while taking $2 billion a year in cash from us.

* During the first half of 2008, the US made only 4 Predator strikes in Pakistan. Pakistan made the US warn the ISI ahead of time before a strike could be made. The ISI in turn would warn the Taliban and the bad guys would head for the hills prior to the strike. Once American got wise to the setup, we only gave the ISI simultaneous warning, and frankly we waited until the Predator was ready to fire its missiles before giving that warning. Where are you going to get information like this? I don't see it in the Washington Post, and certainly not the NY Times.

* President Obama was informed that 35 countries do not require Visas prior to coming to the United States. Terrorists are now coming to the US through those countries and forming cells. Our worst nightmare may be yet to come.

* Iran will have a gun-type nuclear weapon between 2013 and 2015 which will be demonstrated in the desert. Saudi Arabia will immediately notify Pakistan that you help us develop a nuclear weapon, or we cut off oil supplies to your country.

* Then Senator Obama was the victim of a cyber attack on his campaign by the Chinese government that copied his documents and files. The greater danger was what would happen if they destroyed the files as opposed to just copying them. The same thing happened to Senator McCain and his campaign.

* But Wait - there's more. Senator Obama was then told that every day both the Bank of NY and Citibank handle $3 trillion a day in funds transfers, whereas the entire economy is equal to $14 trillion in gross domestic product. Other countries now have the capability to interfere with those transactions through cyber war. The resulting financial chaos would be exponentially worse than the World Trade Center destruction. We do not have a cyber defense yet.

Woodward is at his best when discussing personalities. His discussion of Hillary Clinton's reluctance, then refusal and finally acceptance of the Cabinet position of Secretary of State is absolutely fascinating. Senator Clinton did not want the position, but Senator Obama's people sensed the door was still opened, so they told her to sleep on it over night. During the night Senator Clinton consulted Mark Penn, the Clinton pollster who basically asked her if she was crazy. Take it, "you will have an unmatched record of public service." He also reminded her that you are weak on foreign policy and national security, and now you will have absolute bonafides in both, and it didn't hurt that you she will finally show independence from her husband.

Yes, there's Richard Holbrooke the egotist, and General Petraeus comes through looking great. No one lays a glove on the General. The Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gets very high marks in the book. Over and over again, when you read Woodward, you recognize that the story you are reading is not something that is covered anywhere else. You are a part of the decision making process. You are involved. You know who makes sense and who doesn't, who's brilliant, and who's all talk, and no show.

I have given you pieces here and pieces there, a flavoring of a giant ice cream Sundae. Every page has a great story, and there is nothing superfluous in this great read. This book gets five stars. If you love politics, a good story, history, and reading what a great author operating at the peak of his powers can do, read Obama's Wars, and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck
81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
A review of the Book itself, not the characters it portrays Sept. 29 2010
By Writing Historian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Woodward has crafted one of his best books yet. This book is informative and well researched. As you read it, you cannot help but realize WHY certain news stories appeared at specific times. The debate about troop numbers is captured in a clear and concise manner, yet you will shake your head as to why it had to take place in such a public forum. Woodward's portrayal of GEN McChrystal is especially useful given the bad press surrounding his departure. An insiders viewpoint of events that most of us at the time had to rely on the media to learn about. Woodward does a fine job counteracting a lot of the Washington Spin by providing unparalleled insight behind the scenes.

For those wondering if "Obamas Wars" covers both Iraq and Afghanistan, I would opine that it does not. Obama arguably inherited a war and a drawdown when he took office. As I read the book, I felt that the use of "wars" plural referred to the ongoing Afghanistan conflict, the "war" within the White House over what policy to back, the "war" within the Department of Defense over what military options to exercise, the "war" between US foreign policy and domestic political concerns as the latter seemed more important to Democrats while Republicans preferred to emphasize the former, and the "war" - percieved or not - between military and civilian authorities, in this case a President who did not feel as if his wishes were being carried out to the letter. The book ends in July 2010 around the time when Woodward interviewed President Obama.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Enquiring Minds Want To Know Oct. 2 2010
By Cory Geurts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Woodward's latest book presents a treasure trove of information about a young presidency still in progress. Yes, it's too early for a comprehensive history or evaluation of the Obama administration, and that's not what this book purports to be. The focus of this book is the first 18 months, beginning with many of the discussions that took place while Obama was President-elect. As the title suggests, this book covers the decisions behind the war in Afghanistan and the related al Qaeda and Taliban activity into Pakistan. A September 22, 2010 Washington Post article also suggested another meaning for "war" in this book's title is the conflict among the president's national security team. Woodward has done his homework, and the results are marvelous.

Reading this book is quite educational. Woodward incorporates many characters into this book, including some that are probably unknown to those who don't regularly follow the news. Prior to reading this book I wasn't aware of the extent of Biden's influence, and I didn't fully understand the gravity of the Mumbai bombings or exactly how important Pakistan is to the war on terror. This book gave me a much better understanding of both the similarities and differences between al Qaeda and the Taliban, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and between Karzai and Zardari.

For those who have read recent Woodward best-sellers such as "State of Denial" or "The War Within," the feel of this book will be familiar. His writing style is far from elegant prose. Some passages are borderline robotic; this is often due to directly paraphrasing or selectively quoting sources.

Woodward successfully avoids any partisan slant, despite what some other reviewers have implied. The amount of information Woodward has here is amazing. As time goes by we will have a much more complete picture of what is currently happening, but for a present-day look at the Obama administration, this book would be very hard to beat. A page-turner!
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Obama's Meetings (Actually The Same Meeting, Over and Over Again) Oct. 10 2010
By Craig T - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is at least the sixth book by Bob Woodward that I have read, and I continue to be amazed at the access he gets and the subsequent direct quotes from private and confidential conversations and classified documents. He is a reporter's reporter (and a very pedestrian writer - he's more Dragnet than Gay Telese). There is just not a very gripping story here. There is no Deep Throat; there is no smoking gun; there is no big reveal. It is, essentially, 400+ pages of the same meeting taking place over and over and over and over again, over the course of several months.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Obama's Wars Falls Short Nov. 9 2010
By Joseph Landes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Bob Woodward, I eagerly anticipated this new release. However, I believe the book falls short in several areas. Woodward continues with his traditional fast-paced writing and the reader clearly feels as if they too have the same "insider" status. The topic however made me feel as if Woodward was simply rushing to get a book out as opposed to being more thoughtful about writing something people actually want to read. In other words, I would have wanted to see Woodward write about Obama's handling of the financial crisis upon entering his presidency much more than the commitment of troops to Afghanistan. The entire book centered around one topic: How many troops to commit to the effort. 40,000, 35,000, 20,000. Up and back and up and back. I don't see a huge rush to get this book.


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