In the early 1980s, after a Houston socialite turned Wilson's attention to the ragged Afghan freedom fighters who continued to fight the Soviet invaders despite overwhelming odds, the congressman became passionate about their cause and procured hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahideen.
Moving from the back rooms of the Capitol, to secret chambers at Langley, to arms-dealers conventions, to the Khyber Pass, this book is a detailed and brilliantly reported account of the inside workings of the CIA.
©2003 George Crile; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, offers an absorbing, thoroughly detailed look at the largest and most successful CIA operation in U.S. history: the arming of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan." (Booklist)
"An engaging, well-written, newsworthy study of practical politics and its sometimes unlikely players." (Kirkus Reviews)
“Narrator Christopher Lane affects an even tone and pace, allowing the events of the story to carry the listener to the extraordinary highs and sickening lows of the flawed but heroic Wilson. Thankfully, Lane takes it easy on the accents and shines brightest when allowing a tinge of cynicism in his delivery." (AudioFile)
“Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down.” (Publishers Weekly)
This is not an easy book to listen to. It is a long book and felt like it took a long time to listen to it. The events are not told in a chronological manner, so they are repetitive and it does get confusing at times. I may be jaded, but I do not quite believe political characters are quite as altruisitc as this author presents many of the people in this story to be. This did occur after Watergate, remember, which opened a lot of eyes.
Nonetheless, it was a good story and I did enjoy it. And even better, I learned something. I try to include some non-fiction in my reading and I try to read/listen to a book before seeing a movie. This fulfilled both of those needs and was worth the effort to do so.
Charlie Wilson's War is a fun and informative listen in current events, richly woven with heroism, political power, Cold War global politics, bizarre political characters of the American left and right, and human frailty. However, the book strains to make Wilson the central character, erring by minimizing the involvement of others. This weakness no doubt makes for better story telling, but limits the book's contribution to understanding of the role of the U.S. support for the Afghan freedom fighters in the closing years of the Cold War. The book is about the great role of Charlie Wilson in this effort, not about the effort.
This is the first audible.com book I have downloaded and listened to. I am now an addicted audiophile to this type of media. Charlie Wilson's War was a wonderful book that detailed the behind the scenes machinations of the Afghan War.
This book bolsters the notion that what goes on behind the news headlines is far more interesting and eye opening than that which is actually fed to the public. Charlie Wilson is a character who seems to believe that some laws are made to be broken if it will lead to a greater good if the ends justifies the means. In this case, victory for the Afghan rebel fighters and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Empire.
I cannot recommend this book more highly if your looking for story that will keep you riveted to each upcoming chapter and the workings thru the CIA and of a Congressman whom was virtually unknown to the American public.
This book examines the role of the United States in the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the 1980s. It helps the reader understand the "miracle" defeat of the the far superior Red Army and the roots of al Qaeda. Packed with little known facts about the war and CIA's inner workings, this book is fascinating.
Charlie Wilson is one of the wierd characters in our Congress who through sheer will-power twists the arms of key government agencies to do his bidding. In this case the cause seemed right, extracting the USSR from Afghanistan. However, one is left with the distinct impression that the checks and balances between branches that our Constitutional mandates don't always work.
The book is well written and the story concisely presented. Don't pass this one up.
The book is long, the story reads like a novel. Just the fact that this really happened is amazing. Though it's been several months since I listened, the insight remains lucid. The implications, both for the defeat of Reagan's "evil empire" and the founding of GW Bush's "axis of evil" is very thought provoking. Things are never as they seem. This is without doubt one of the very best Audible selections I've ever made. It is an absolute must read.
Not only a good story, but perhaps more important, it educates people on how Washington works, i.e. with a little moxie and chutzpah, you don't need to have permission to change policy and give away billions of taxpayer money without oversight. I listen to 3-4 books a week on average. While I like to mix nonfiction with the fiction that keeps me entertained, often nonfiction is written too pedantically to keep my attention. Not this book. Good to the last drop. One of those books you wish would keep on going.
This book is both informative and entertaining. It provides insights into the operations of Congress, the CIA and our relationship with Pakistan during the 1980's. Charlie and Gust come to life with the voice of the reader who does an outstanding job. There is a brief epilogue that attempts to tie the events of the book to the events of 9/11. I wish this section had been more fully developed. This is a must read for anyone interested in world events.
This book is a must read for every American. It could not have been written as fiction because nobody would believe it. The incredible truth is that it really happened. After reading this book it is easier to understand many of the problems America faces in the world today.
This well-told story brings an obscure war and time in Afghanistan to life. Charlie Wilson was such a unique character. The sense of doom for the USSR fighting the Afghan rebels and the seeds of future trouble for the US in the region was palpable.
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