With the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright became generally acknowledged as one of our major journalists writing on terrorism in the Middle East. This collection draws on several articles he wrote while researching that book as well as many that he's written since, following where and how al-Qaeda and its core cultlike beliefs have morphed and spread.
Initially dismissed by US President Barack Obama, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shocked the world by conquering massive territories in both countries and promising to create a vast new Muslim caliphate that observes the strict dictates of Sharia law. In ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who have conquered territory equal to the size of Great Britain.
"Hard to follow"
13 Hours presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale.
"Spellbinding, Inspiring, Humbling"
Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real-estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his number-one best-selling Liar’s Poker.
"Informative and Engaging"
From the streets of Iraq to the mountaintops of Afghanistan and to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden's compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group - commonly known as SEAL Team Six - has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines. No Easy Day puts listeners alongside Owen and the other handpicked members of the 24-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives.
"Gripping, first-hand narrative of Op Neptune Spear"
Pulitzer Prize, General nonfiction, 2016. When Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented account of the rise of ISIS, Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
"So much learned"
This is a sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans, and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.
"Riveting... Sobering... Chilling..."
In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.
"Struggle for survival at post-Katrina hospital"
A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.
Relentless Strike tells the inside story of Joint Special Operations Command, the secret military organization that, during the past decade, has revolutionized counterterrorism, seamlessly fusing intelligence and operational skills to conduct missions that hit the headlines and those that have remained in the shadows - until now. Because JSOC includes the military's most storied special operations units - Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, the 75th Ranger Regiment - as well as America's most secret aviation and intelligence units, this is their story, too.
From Brandon Webb, Navy SEAL sniper and New York Times best-selling author, comes his account of the eight friends and fellow SEALs who made the ultimate sacrifice. As a Navy SEAL, Webb rose to the top of the world's most elite sniper corps, experiencing years of punishing training and combat missions from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. Along the way, Webb served beside, trained, and supported men he came to know not just as fellow warriors, but as friends and, eventually, as heroes.
"A MUST READ FOR ALL AMERICANS"
In Bush, Jean Edward Smith demonstrates that it was not Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice, but President Bush himself who took personal control of foreign policy. Bush drew on his deep religious conviction that important foreign-policy decisions were simply a matter of good versus evil. Domestically, he overreacted to 9/11 and endangered Americans' civil liberties.
"Covers the bases"
This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.
Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasion-ally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.
"Out Dated Even When It Was Current"
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.
"Come back when you have a warrant!"
They were called a generation without heroes. Then they were called upon to be heroes. Within hours of 9/11, America's war on terrorism fell to those like the 23 Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ended combat since Vietnam.
"Interesting and well paced, though poorly narrated"
From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he'd long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.
The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the most important mission in the early days of the Global War on Terror, when the men on the ground knew little about the enemy - and their commanders in Washington knew even less. With unprecedented access to surviving members of ODA 574, key war planners, and Karzai himself, award-winning author Eric Blehm cuts through the noise of politicians and high-level military officials to narrate, for the first time, a story of uncommon bravery and terrible sacrifice.
"Great story about the rise of Karzai."
The Ultimate History of Video Games reveals everything you ever wanted to know and more about the unforgettable games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them. From the arcade to television and from the PC to the handheld device, video games have entraced kids at heart for nearly 30 years. And author and gaming historian Steven L. Kent has been there to record the craze from the very beginning.
For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East. There were only children and married women. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals.
"I could not stop listening"
Nothing Ever Dies, Viet Thanh Nguyen writes. All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the best-selling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both the Americans and the Vietnamese.
Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information? Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate.
"Very interesting history, biased conclusions"
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9-11 Commission, was created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002. This independent, bipartisan commission had the task of producing a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the attack, including preparedness and immediate response, and providing recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.
"Absolutely Outstanding Historical Document"
From Mark Bowden, internationally best-selling and acclaimed author of Black Hawk Down and the preeminent chronicler of the actions of our military and special forces writing today, comes an intensely gripping account of the hunt for and elimination of Osama bin Laden. With unprecedented access to key sources and his great gift for storytelling, Bowden takes us inside the rooms where decisions were made and on the ground where the action unfolded.
"Bowden is great as usual, but the narrator sucks"
It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers.
"This book is amazing, but brutal"
As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn't move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived. No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude.
We Sell Drugs is a study grounded in the transnational geography and political economy of the coca-leaf and coca-derived commodities market stretching from Peru and Bolivia into the United States. More than a narrow biography of one famous plant and its equally famous derivative products - Coca-Cola and cocaine - this audiobook situates these commodities within the larger landscape of drug production and consumption. Examining efforts to control the circuits through which coca traveled, Suzanna Reiss provides a geographic and legal basis for considering the historical construction of designations of legality and illegality.
The book also argues that the legal status of any given drug is largely premised on who grew, manufactured, distributed, and consumed it and not on the qualities of the drug itself. Drug control is a powerful tool for ordering international trade, national economies, and society's habits and daily lives. In a historical landscape animated by struggles over political economy, national autonomy, hegemony, and racial equality, We Sell Drugs insists on the socio-historical underpinnings of designations of legality to explore how drug control became a major weapon in asserting control of domestic and international affairs.
"Exactly what we need to know"
The first major history of the Crash in over a decade, Rainbow's End tells the story of the stock market collapse in a colorful, swift-moving narrative that blends a vivid portrait of the 1920s with an intensely gripping account of Wall Street's greatest catastrophe. The book offers a vibrant picture of a world full of plungers, powerful bankers, corporate titans, millionaire brokers, and buoyantly optimistic stock market bulls.
"Plenty of fine detail, especially of the 1920s"
While Vladimir Putin has been president and prime minister of Russia, the Kremlin has deployed the security services to intimidate the political opposition, reassert the power of the state, and carry out assassinations overseas. At the same time, its agents and spies were put beyond public accountability and blessed with the prestige, benefits, and legitimacy lost since the Soviet collapse.
"A little difficult to follow"
In 2014 it is possible that Israel, backed by the United States, will launch an attack on Iran. This would be a catastrophic event, risking war, bloodshed, and global economic collapse. In this passionate, but rationally argued essay, the author's attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to a table and strike a deal.
John “Iwan” Demjanjuk was at the center of one of history’s most complex war crimes trials. But why did it take almost sixty years for the United States to bring him to justice as a Nazi collaborator? The answer lies in the annals of the Cold War, when fear and paranoia drove American politicians and the U.S. military to recruit “useful” Nazi war criminals to work for the United States in Europe as spies and saboteurs, and to slip them into America through loopholes in U.S. immigration policy.
"Interesting Book - HORRIBLE Narration"
It is the largest oil disaster in American history, and it could happen again. It is more than a story of ruined beaches, dead wildlife, corporate spin, political machinations, and financial fallout. It is a riveting human drama filled with people whose lives will forever be defined as "before" and "after the gulf oil disaster". Black Tide is the only book to tell this story through the perspective of people on all sides of the catastrophe.
This audiobook offers the first systematic analysis of Putin's two wars, placing the Second Chechen War and the War with Georgia of 2008 in their broader historical contexts. Drawing on extensive original Russian sources, Marcel H. Van Herpen analyzes in detail how Putin's wars were prepared and conducted and why they led to allegations of war crimes and genocide.
"Pretty good, waiting for next revision"
Surge is an insider's view of the most decisive phase of the Iraq War. Using newly declassified documents, unpublished manuscripts, interviews, author notes, and published sources, Surge explains how President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Ambassador Crocker, General Petraeus, and other U.S. and Iraqi political and military leaders shaped the surge from the center of the maelstrom in Baghdad and Washington.
In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.
"Captivating and enlightening story"
In The Longest War, Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond. Weaving together internal documents from al-Qaeda and the U.S. offices of counterterrorism, first-person interviews with top-level jihadists and senior Washington officials, along with his own experiences on the ground in the Middle East, Bergen balances the accounts of each side.
"very good, completes the picture - take a listen"
The historical significance of Barack Obama's triumph in the presidential election of 2008 scarcely requires comment. Yet it contains an irony: He won a victory as an African American only by denying that he was the candidate of African Americans. Obama's very success, writes Fredrick Harris, exacted a heavy cost on black politics.
In The Price of the Ticket, Harris puts Obama's career in the context of decades of black activism, showing how his election undermined the very movement that made it possible.
The definitive investigation into the greatest aviation mystery in history, with a startling hypothesis about who took the plane, where they took it, and how. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. A year later, still no trace of the plane - or the 239 people onboard - has been found. But why? In The Plane That Wasn't There, science journalist and CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise sweeps aside the conspiracy theories and misconceptions and lays out, with clear concision, just what we know about the plane's fate - and what we don't.
"Russia hijacked MH370?"