This book is not about Blackwater at all. It is an opportunity to make subjective statements about everything wrong about our current policies. The simplified version of this book can be expressed by the following authors conclusions:
Blackwater is a christian right organization and this is bad.
Our military is mismanaged and doing evil things around the world.
Our leaders are driven by greed and ignorance.
We are murderers and our "foes" in Iraq are "resistance fighters".
If you are looking for any real insight into "Blackwater" or organizations like this, don't bother with this book. There is no real objective insight here just an adgenda to fill.
This book is about as insightful as an islamic martyr school.
Tom Weiner is an excellent narrator and I look forward to listening to anything he's done. His vocal talents are second to none, and it shows in his narration of this particular book. Now that I've covered everything good about this audiobook, let's review the bad.
Scahill has written a highly irrelevant book that does nothing to address relevant questions raised about the role of civilians in military operations in the style of a private mercenary company such as Blackwater (now known as Xe). He wastes a chapter or two at the beginning describing the ancestry of Erik Prince (Blackwater's owner) and the family's political connections, relying mainly on the pejorative to make a thinly veiled argument that Christians are not to be allowed near politics.
He then enters into a multi-chaptered diatribe against the neoconservatives/Bush administration/mercenary industry, peripherally relating each chapter's subject to Blackwater but spending most of each chapter on something completely unrelated.
This book was a chore to listen to, but Weiner's vocalizations made it bearable. I recommend you avoid it and look for something with more depth.
Only an informed citizenry is capable of make sound decisions about the future of our country. With the approaching presidential election, this is another of those works that should be read by all of us so that we can better judge who will lead us for the next four years. What is so wonderful about this book is that it gives the reader the background to understand what is happening in the news even as I write this review. Listen and learn. You won't regret it!
This audiobook is more a rant against the U.S. and its troops in Iraq than a book about Blackwater. I bought this audiobook hoping to learn about Blackwater and the role of mercenaries in Iraq. I confess that I'm little over halfway through the book but feel that it is necessary to warn others that a good portion of the book is taken up with villanizing the religious right, America and its troops, not with detailing and analyzing the history and role of Blackwater. Much of the book consists of brief, misleading quotes, without context, attempting to justify the authors anti-U.S. position. The narrator is onboard: when military authorities are quoted they are usually portrayed as gruff and insensitive.
Many mistakes have been made in this war and they have been chronicled by Thomas Ricks and others. That's not what I wanted to learn about when I bought this book. If you want a book about the horrors of modern warfare, I suggest "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning," by Chris Hedges. I cannot recommend this book for anyone seeking a relative objective view of Blackwater.
If the talent director had been better, or the narrator better, it would have been worth listening to. I couldn't get past the first chapter. I ground my teeth every time the narrator put on his fake TV Announcer voice.
There was nothing wrong with the story. I was looking forward to it but I just couldn't stand it.
If the narrator could keep from putting on his fake "TV Announcer" voice every time a strong point was to be made in the story, it would have been better. Working in the voice industry I know this is often the voice director's fault and yet narrators are blamed all the time. So my comment is to whomever decided on this creative approach - stop it! I don't need a fake tone to emphasize that this is an "important" point. I just want the facts, straight forward and I can make my own decision on how I feel about what I'm listening to. I haven't seen the book in printed form and perhaps the writer italicized these areas but a good director should have known better and that it would sound 'put on' or fake.
Frustration. It felt like such a waste to take non-fiction work with existing political undercurrents and to add additional commentary by having the narrator take on such an over the top attitude to nail a point home. I'm not stupid and don't need it pointed out. It just ruined the book.
No, he sounds like he's stuck for eternity as the narrator of a movie preview.
The author's liberal bias blinds him from telling the full story of the contributions made by Blackwater personnel to the war effort. The service of these Patriots is painted as evil. I'm sure the spineless author has never contributed to the prosperity of our Republic through military or civilian service. He is simply a liberal puppet sitting on the sidelines of history, judging the work of others because he is too much of a coward to contribute anything of value to the society in which he lives. I couldn't finish the book, so strong is the stench of his propaganda and liberal rhetoric.
Rather then give a history, Scahill spends most of his time trying to bash the Right and make it look like they are behind everything.
It could have been a good book, if the facts where just presented.
The audio quality is poor, and ad in Weiner's poor reading, and you've got a loser of a book.
The author obviously hates private military contractors, Blackwater, Republicans and Christians. A real hit job. I only made it through a couple of chapters.
Nothing. The author obviously has an anti Blackwater agenda.
Reader sounded condescending and cynical.
I'm not sure I've ever encountered such a one-sided account of any story in my life. According to this author, Blackwater and the Bush Administration did EVERYTHING wrong. If the author knew which side of the bed George W. Bush slept on, he could have spent an entire chapter on telling you why that was wrong. If you're looking for an account of what's gone right and what's gone wrong in one book...this is not the book for you; it only tells half the story.
I would never purchase another book by this author. He clearly has an agenda and it's not being as factual and honest as he can be.
I became so overwhelmed by the bias that I had to stop listening about half-way through. I just found it hard to believe anything I was hearing.
I purchased this book a while back since Jeremy Scahill always provides honest and refreshing insight into foreign policy issues, but I never got around to reading it. I just finished reading it as a follow-up to Rachel Maddow's Drift and they complement each other so nicely!!