It was worth a listen, however if you have been alive and read a newspaper during the course of the last 20 years there is not much new here. If you have not kept up on current events, or weren't around for the Jimmy Carter era it is a very good recap. Uses a lot of insider lingo and abreviations as a substitute for any concrete unique insights. If you are reasonably well informed and are looking for inner sanctum secrets you won't find them here.
In my opinion this is a story full of falsehoods presented as facts. In America's Secret War, Friedman rivals Michael Moore for twists of reality. This book discussed no relevant, new information regarding the state of american intelligence agencies. Friedman apparently authored the book to feed the paranoia of those intent on believing in government conspiracies and ineptitude, but provides no substantive facts to back up his claims. My personal experience working in and with said agencies contradicts many of the Friedmans claims calling into question all of his hyperbole. Enjoy one of the many other better books such as Digital Fortress, Chatter, or Puzzle Palace, but skip this piece of work.
Any analysis of a hidden and complex relationship such as that between Al Quaeda and the U.S. is going to have some flaws, and no analysis is going to please everyone. What I find so praiseworthy of the Stratfor analysis is that it strives to be as astute and unbiased as possible. I am sure there are biases, but there certainly is no obvious political intention to those biases.
So, this will disappoint both diehard liberals and conservatives, who will come away unsatisfied: liberals thinking that it defends Bush's actions, conservatives thinking that it demonizes him. It does neither. Instead, it provides much food for thought in the midst of a dangerous situation in a complex world. At the least, it demonstrates that the special interests and flag-waving that characterize the political parties are just superficial issues that have little direct effect upon international politics and terrorism. Instead, the parties utilize their ability to influence votes to gain the White House (and Congress) so that they can employ their own nuance of diplomacy and strongarming.
This book has changed my entire view of Iraq. Perhaps the war was not the only way to deal with the terrorist situation, but the alternative choices were pretty lousy as well.
Unfortunately, this book does not empower the reader (listener) by providing new insight, it only helps to better understand. And it does make one realize how impotent an individual American is.
What a wonderful book!! It does not take sides on the war, just lays out the facts for the reader to absorb. I will have to watch the news even closer now to try and see the backdoor plays that effect the global political scene.
This book is a true insider's look at the "Big (Brother) Picture" of Every Player's view in the NEW WORLD WAR which is blowing up all around us. Although this is a lengthy book it is well worth listening to if you wish to learn the mindset of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc... during our "War On Terror?". I highly recommend this book if for nothing else but to burn a few hours. This is the intelligent person's war primer.
Not bad if you want someone else to think for you. The position of the author is that we are really good but our government intellegence is designed very poorly but we are still winning. This is another attempt to support everything that our government has said and done, even at the cost of the truth. Having said that, it is probably one of the better attempts at explaining the unexplainable, but at the end it is still one more book saying everything we have done is for the benifit of the world and we should be proud. Oh, and by the way don't ask too many questions.
You might want to save your credit for something a bit better.
This book offers many rational, dispassionate insights into the war on terror. Friedman does not go easy on the U.S.'s missteps and dissemblings, but neither does he obsess on them like the disloyal left is wont to do. Instead, he provides a balanced expose on the behind-the-scenes machinations and how the gears of decision-making turn in Washington, the capitals of Europe, and the caves of Afghanistan.
Now, the narration... truly distracting, especially since the narrator pronounced the end of every third or fourth sentence with a comma instead of a period. Amateurish.
The pieces don't fit. The information and point of view presented by Mr. Friedman appear to be a revisionist's view of the Iraq and Afganistan Wars. He has interesting theories but be sure to read other authors to get a well rounded picture. Much information was left out of his story to make his pieces fit. He appeared to have information not available to U.S. Intelligence (knowing what Al Sistani was thinking and planning)yet closed his chapter on Tora Bora saying we don't know what happened. While it is an interesting perspective and easy listening, don't be taken in until you have read other accounts. It is careful not to make the administration (except Donald Rumsfeld) look bad. It is the rosiest picture of the war I have read yet. It would be interesting to see how he spins the last 6 months of the Iraq war.
This is one of the most poorly written fact based books I have ever read. The author continually jumps from coming to a fact based answer to jumping from solid facts to his beliefs and thoughts on what he says people thought and why they took action. George packs the facts and his ideas so close together that it is sometimes difficult to separate them. He never makes the clear separation and makes it more of a historical fiction as if he is the main character, present and around for every major incident. I do not recommend this book to anyone who like scholastic material. If you like to shake your head continually and to laugh at his pathetic attempts at making connection, then this book is for you. Enjoy!