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Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invas ion to September 10, 2001 Paperback – Dec 28 2004
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"Certainly the finest historical narrative so far on the origins of al Qaeda in the post-Soviet rubble of Afghanistan . . . Ghost Wars provides fresh details and helps explain the motivations behind many crucial decisions."
-The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Steve Coll is most recently the author of the New York Times bestseller The Bin Ladens. He is the president of the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C., and a staff writer for The New Yorker. Previously heworked for twenty years at The Washington Post, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1990. He is the author of six other books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Ghost Wars.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Steve has done a fantastic job of staying balanced and maintaining a high level of objectivity. I highly recommend this, though like many other books of this type, its a long ride. You will need to be prepared to be in it for the long-haul. Make sure you pick up the latesst edition, it has been updated to factor in information that has been revealed well after 9/11. A number of blanks have been filled in, especially in cases where closed lips have been opened by more official proceedings.
Perhaps Ghost Wars main flaw is what makes the account so readable. It's too clean. While Coll remains fairly impartial (he could have maybe explored the US-Saudi and US-Pak relationship more), it fails to deliver the ever messy look and feel of the Af-Pak region, which swirls with conspiracy theories, rumours, perpetual duplicity and erroneous assumptions made by the kharijis or outsiders. My colleague's favourite saying is: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." I thought this adage applied to parts of the history (the less well-documented parts), and more so toward the end when it seemed they didn't understand what was going on in the region at all. Regardless, great book - very few could do this better than Steve Coll.
9/11 has come and gone, and here we are, still in Afghanistan. For years, Brezinski crowed about luring the Soviets into "the Afghan trap." This book clearly explains how the rest of the world has paid the price for this.
Steve Coll's book sparked my curiosity by providing an excellent background and introducing the most important players of the area. During the first half of the book, I was really absorbed by the characters' descriptions, the government and intelligence entities and military/religious groups. The complexity of international relations and the workings within the US bureaucracy certainly helped explain why the Government was slow in preparing for the rise of terrorists.
Unfortunately, the author dragged on detailing these complexities. The incessant squabbles between the various departments of the American Government were overemphasized and could have been summarized more efficiently. I am not arguing the value of the research: the details presented made this book an incredible source of information.
The book provided little analysis of the United States' involvement in Afghanistan after the Soviets departure and on the rise of anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. In terms of form, this book didn't grip me very much. It got to a point where I felt I was reading the newspaper. Many non-fiction books present historical material in a vivid, riveting way. This one is not one of them.
Explains in detail how some of the Islamic problems we're dealing with today were created by the misguided CIA in the 80's and 90's.
They were so intent on stopping communism they were willing to hop into bed with the Islamic extremists...not realizing that after communism was stopped in that part of the world they would turn all the weapons and training we had given them back on us.
Most recent customer reviews
The book is well-detailed and very clear for the amount of information it covers. However, I felt very cold and distant from the narrative.Published 18 months ago by reluctantm
This is a very detailed, and well written, history of the relationship between the CIA and various parties in Afghanistan. Read morePublished on March 3 2013 by Anonymous
This is a hugely informative and well researched book on the War on Terror and Afghanistan. I have never encountered a more well researched book on this topic in my life. Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2011 by Mr. Jones
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