One of the best audiobooks I have listened to. May be a little slow at first, but this builds an entire history of the rise of islamic fundamentalism from the 1940s on. In particular, the final chapters track closely the rise of Al Quada and make for fascinating listening. The amount of research/interviews the author must have done is almost incomprehensible, as he brings the reader right into meetings/conversations that occurred in the most isolated countries in the world. A truly phenomenol comprehensive review, that keeps building and getting better throughout.
this is a gripping book. I was a big fan of Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb". It should be noted that this book is both history mixed with a significant amount of 'editorial',i.e. it is much more biased. Instead of just focusing on facts, the author's deep seeded believe that the arms race was avoidable, tragic, and a huge waste of resources is more than evident. I would have preferred he let the reader come to his/her own conclusions.
that being said, the book starts with an unbelievable chapter about the Chernobyl disaster, setting the stage for the rest of the story. This is an incredible way to do this, becuase it makes the reader realize in real terms what nuclear war would have been like, given that Chernobyl would only be a taste of the devastation.
The middle sections of the book are a little dry, with long discussions about particulars of the gorbachov/Reagan summits the go one for lengthy periods. The West (and the Reagan administration in particular, although not necessarily Reagan himself) comes out of the book looking quite silly, while Gorbachev comes out looking quite heroic. i am not sure things are really that black and white.
In the end though, this was just an awesome look back at how isolated decisions look silly in a historical context, and makes you wonder what type of silly decisions we are making today. would recommend highly.
Narration is outstanding as well.
Really enjoyed the book, and after getting used to the narroator thought pace/reading was excellent.
I found the book interesting because most of what i read is 20th century history in which the author is farther temporally removed from the subject. The close temporal relationship to the subject of this book makes the history more intriguing, given that the authors have access to the thoughts and even quotes of what went on in certain meetings etc. In this regard, I found this incredibly interesting.
What I got out of this however, is that it's still hard to figure out, for instance, what happend to Clinton and why she lost. yes, you get a flavor of the "Clinton paranoia" that seems to be omnipresent whenever bill and hiliary are involved. it's always someone else's fault and everyone is out to get them. But even then, there is not great insight into exactly what they could have done differently to change an outcome. The bottom line is that its hard to understand why the flux of the election went the way it did, other than that the country was really ready for a completely different approach and, as is usual in politics, you need both a figure with a particular message and the times/nation has to be at a point in history that mirrors that message. I think you could argue the same thing about the Reagan revolution.
Overall, very enjoyable, but not overly insightful. Maybe understanding 2008 is just beyond rationale analysis, and the election results were sort of inevitable given the mood the country.
Here it is the wee hours of the morning and I just finished this book and I am searching for words for this review. The ANA reminded very much of the ARVN in Viet Nam; that our young men and women are even sent out alongside men that are cowards such as the ANA in this book really made me angry. Tapper did not pull his punches. He gave a bold.truthful look at situational SNAFU's the men of Camp Keating had to endure. Endured from the land, the enemy, the villigers,and the fools somewhere up the Chain of Command who thought this was a good location even for an Outhouse much less an Outpost. Tapper introduces us to real people and true events not invented characters and made up missions.
This narrator is new to me but I thought his voice was pleasing and his style of delivery smooth. I am very glad he did not try to give these men 'voices' for that would have distracted from the meat of the story.
If you are looking for a Vince Flynn or Brad Thor type book then "The Outpost" is not for you but if you want a honest account of this one slice of the Afghan War then you will really appreciate this book.