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Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History | [George Crile]

Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History

Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story behind the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. George Crile tells how Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the agency's history.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: With shades of both Tom Clancy and Dr. Strangelove, Charlie Wilson's War is the incredible true story of a gregarious Texas Congressman, a shadowy CIA operative, and their campaign to fund the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. Christopher Lane's smooth narration compliments George Crile's well-researched chronicle...right through to a riveting coda that reminds us of the operation's very real ramifications. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story behind the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. George Crile tells how Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the agency's history.

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

What the Critics Say

  • 2004 Audie Award Winner, Unabridged Nonfiction

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Robert Ft. Worth, TX, USA 02-03-05
    Robert Ft. Worth, TX, USA 02-03-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very Intriguing book"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-25-05
    Alexander Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-25-05 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simply the Best"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harris Syosset, NY, USA 12-15-04
    Harris Syosset, NY, USA 12-15-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Congressional War!"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip San Rafael, CA, USA 12-02-04
    Phillip San Rafael, CA, USA 12-02-04 Member Since 2005
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    "Amazing story"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen La Selva Beach, CA, United States 09-20-04
    Kathleen La Selva Beach, CA, United States 09-20-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nonfiction that reads better than most fiction"

    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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BostonLady 07-31-04
    BostonLady 07-31-04

    BostonLady

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome Book!"

    I read this last summer before it came out on audio; loved it because it sucks you right in, like a good book should! I have gone on to read other books about that period.

    23 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-24-04
    08-24-04 Member Since 2013
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    "One of the best books I have ever listened to"

    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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 09-22-07
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 09-22-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    493
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    "Must read if there ever was one"

    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.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-08-13
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2015

    How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome ex of truth being stranger than fiction!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. It is a well written story with larger than life characters doing incredible and absurdly complicated things, overcoming amazing odds...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked Gus. His brilliance, humor and toughness makes me proud he was an American.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. Though I saw the movie, I couldn't believe there were really people like this.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Menlo Park, CA, United States 12-03-09
    John Menlo Park, CA, United States 12-03-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Wow. A must read"

    I enjoyed this book MUCH more than I expected. Simultaneously interesting, terrifying, fascinating, illuminating, even occasionally funny.

    A fascinating cast of (I thought) reprehensible characters acting with noble intentions and frequently . . . good!

    All the more amazing because it is not fiction!
    Wow. It's scary that this is how the world actually works at those levels.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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