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)
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.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
Absolutely. It is a well written story with larger than life characters doing incredible and absurdly complicated things, overcoming amazing odds...
I liked Gus. His brilliance, humor and toughness makes me proud he was an American.
Yes. Though I saw the movie, I couldn't believe there were really people like this.
"An interesting book, very well narrated"
This is a very entertainingly written book about an obscure corner of modern history, namely how the CIA came to back the Afghan mujahadeen in their fight against the Russian Invasion of 1979 (?). It probably would not pass muster as serious history, but it is surprisingly absorbing and thought provoking - particularly with regard to the consequences vis a vis 9/11 and the War on Terror etc. It also shines a light on the working of government in the USA, which I for one found very interesting. Narration and sound quality are excellent.
If you like modern history and are looking for something off the beaten track, you could do a lot worse than try this book.
"Charlie Wilson's War"
This is an incredible story ... they say truth is stranger than fiction! Narrated faultlessly by Christopher Lane, I was amazed at the chain of events Charlie Wilson initiated and could not help but be impressed by this rogue's relentless zeal in fulfilling his passionate quest. Apart from a slight flattening of pace towards the end, the book was gripping. I now have a true understanding of the American 'funding' process in Congress and the Senate, the reasons for America's escalating involvement in the war against the Russians in Afghanistan, and how this inadvertently shaped today's world of escalating terrorism.
"Tones of Wolfe - highly recommended"
At close to twenty hours, this is a big commitment in listening terms - but to the author and narrator's credit, I never once lost the plot. A mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar, lots of detail and a strict chronology in keeping with the documentary film-maker that George Crile was - before his death in 2006.
There are several departures from the documentary style which sometime left me puzzling as to how the author might have known what precisely was in the mind of any of the extensive cast of characters at any given moment. The polite response is that the book is rooted in Tom Wolfe's New Journalism.
If you are looking for a 'compare and contrast'/ next book to read after this thriller - try Noam Chomsky, not as much fun but certainly an interesting extension.
"Amazing and Horrific!"
I learnt so much from this book. It should be compulsory reading for every American and British citizen!!
"Almost too good"
Nah, I don't have any friends.
Any other biography, but it still holds out.
All of it. Not annoying at all.
No. Savior the precious ones, it'll make the good times last longer.
At least watch the movie.
"Superb, Enthralling, Chilling"
This book would be thoroughly entertaining, if it wasn't for the fact that it's a true and horrible story. The characters are painted vividly and I feel as though I met each of them. They are treated quite sympathetically, even when the actions are reprehensible. Christopher Lane did a good job of holding my attention, for a 20 hour long historical with a lot of detail the pace is superb. The story continues to unfold and I'm sure that Charlie Wilson's War will haunt me for years to come.
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