The subtitle "Exploring Three Decades...of the Middle East" is misleading in the way it suggests a thoughtful, insightful and analytical chronology of events during this incredible period of Middle Eastern history. Instead, this book is a montage of the author's impressions of this region while he was a foreign news correspondent and mirrors many of the things we already know - the violence, the emerging radicalness of Islam, the treatment of women - and also reflects idiosyncrasies of the author that concern me little - his obsession with writing articles that make the front page of the WSJ and of the lack of veracity of many foreign correspondents' reporting of events, his anti-Isael views, etc. Maddeningly, he frequently digresses during his discourses, going back and forth in time, and this it makes it very difficult to gain a better appreciation of the interconnectedness and progression of events during these thirty years. On the bright side, the narration is very good. In summary, those seeking a smattering of impressions of the Middle East from an English born and boarding school educated foreign news correspondent might find this book entertaining. For those of seeking to better understand the history and events of this period, the book is a disappointment.
This is a fascinating insider account of the CIA fighting the war on terror. John Kiriakou is a cerebral, if hot-tempered, Greek-American who joins the CIA shortly out of graduate school to be an analyst covering "leadership" issues in Greece and the Middle East. Fluent in Greek and Arabic, he then applies and is accepted as a field operative, where he spends much of his time recruiting foreign sources of critical intelligence. His narrative includes the capture of an important terrorist, the decision by the executive branch of the U.S. government to invade Iraq based on the highly questionable "evidence" relating to weapons of mass destruction and on the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques", such as waterboarding, and how these are rationalized by the government.
The content of the book was interesting and fast-paced, but the narrator speaks in a rapid, staccato voice with little change in rythym or intonation, and this makes listening tiresome and occasionally difficult to hear.
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