I bought this book hoping that the reviews were wrong. This is blatant anti-American propaganda. The character voices (which I hate to begin with) of Americans sound like Gomer Pile while things told from the Liberal, War-fearing, Military-hating perspective are in the narrators normal voice.
Save your money and your time.
It is a sad state when someone will spend this much time whining about the former president. I though the book would have been about Blackwater, it was not. This is difficult to listen to and to follow. I find it offensive that someone would twist the facts in such a manner to get their personal slanted lean.
Write a book about how things were messed up by Secretary of Defense and others. Their actions forced a company to come into play.
Too often the author references religion instead of why things were done. The narration is horrible and almost impossible to listen to.
I expected more of a balanced piece about Blackwater and what I got was a Bush/right wing bashing book. If that is what you want, this is your book. If you are looking for a balanced story about Blackwater keep looking.
Books make the world a better place
The greatest enemy to the United States is its own military-industrial complex. Add Christian fundamentalism into that brew and if a stupid president is doing the stirring, the mix is sure to lead to our own demise.
This book is not only scary, it is chilling! The author clearly has a liberal slant but it is also clear that he has done his research. He obviously knows what's going on in the world, he's a first-class investigative journalist, a crusader for the truth and I commend him for his knowledge. But and although the story is gripping and more than just a little sinister, I have to honestly say that listening to this book over the course of about a week was more of a burden than a joy. Granted this is not a joyful subject matter, I place partial blame upon the narrator, Tom Weiner, whose cold, monotone voice and nearly flat reading made it hard to get into this already complicated story. The rest of my complaint sits with the author who packed this book with fact upon fact upon fact...reinforced by supporting facts and somewhat long and convoluted digressions of even more facts. I feel the story suffers because of the excessive and never-ending facts.
Suffice is to say, this is an important book. The truth is that it is deeply disturbing how our government is semi-secretly building a corporate army (the new "Praetorian Guard" as the author calls it), to loyally serve the far right; and the fact that this army seems to be impervious to any attempt to hold it accountable for its actions, as if Blackwater is above and beyond the reach of any law. From all the frightening, alarming, horrific things this book touches upon, there is one important question. What incentive does a private, profit-driven mercenary army have to create and maintain peace and democracy, and to eradicate suffering and anarchy? It can only be the same incentive that our current government has, which is NONE...and that is a truly terrifying truth.
Probably not. Took me a while to get used to the reader
The Reason I had to get used this style is probably because the last book I listened to the reader was so different and I really liked him and I just had to get used to Tom's different style.
Small but powerful army
Great information and very eye-opening
First word that comes to mind when finishing this book is "Horrifying".
It's not the mysterious mercenaries in black cloth and full military gear roaming the globe shooting people with no accountability. It's the government that lets them.
Refusing the idea of allowing for private armies to operate freely under no strict guiding laws seems like a no brainier to me. Yet Blackwater exists and have a booming business.
This book tells the story of how Blackwater, how it was formed, who are the main people behind it, what's their background, highlights of their work in Iraq and Afghanistan, and stories from all around the world about mercenaries involved with Blackwater.
The book tends to read like reporting rather than telling a story. This could sometimes make it a little boring if you're not really interested in the topic, especially when it comes to legal details. However, the amount of details and their importance trumps any slow down in some parts of the book.
This book is a must read for all those who heard about Eisenhower's famous phrase "the military industrial complex" as Blackwater is the leader of the industry of military.
Mr. Scahill offers an insight into the entire war profiteering business inside and outside Washington. I found it to be very informative.
It is interesting to see the decline of Blackwater in the days that followed the publishing of the book and I don't know that that there is a cause and effect relationship here. One thing I know is that Blackwater overreached and probably tumbled because of that!
I found it to be interesting that both Jeremy Scahill and Naomi Klein reference each other's books (Blackwater and Shock Doctrine) respectively from within their books. I guess it suggests they were collaborating while writing their books which is not unheard of in the business of writing books.
THIS IS A VERY UNSYMPATHETIC APPRAISAL OF BLACKWATER AND TOM WEINER, THE READER, IS WELL CAST FOR HIS ROLE. I LIKE HISTORIES BY ACADEMIC HISTORIANS NOT PROPAGANDISTS. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE AUTHOR DOES NOT LIKE BLACKWATER, ITS GENESIS, OR ITS FOUNDERS. PROBABLY BLACKWATER HAS A CASE TO ANSWER IN MANY AREAS BUT I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO COME TO ANY UNDERSTANDING GIVEN SUCH BLATANTLY SLANTED MATERIAL. THIS AUTHOR IS AS ABOUT AS OBJECTIVE ABOUT THE RIGHT WING AS RUSH LIMBAUGH IS ABOUT THOSE ON THE LEFT.
This was not a history of Blackwater. It is simply a thinly veiled left wing spewing of hatred. I am sure that Blackwater is many things,good and bad. This severely imbalanced book was like a 14 hour MSNBC Keith Olberman tirade against conservatives and Christians.
The author places a few Blackwater facts in each chapter, and then disgresses to rant about something tangential. e.g. Chapter 1 turns into a rant against the Christian Right because somehow Charles Colson's name comes up. Another Chapter against Bush judicial appointments (e.g. "extremist Judge Bork" -- how is this relevant). Another Chapter indicts the embedded journalists vs the "free" press. Well narrated but junque.