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)
As one reads this book the line between fiction and reality gradually fades and eventually becomes invisible. It is always the individual in history who steps forward to save us from ourselves and the bureaucracy that is ever present and ever willing to profit from our collective self destructive isolationism and tolerance of liberal fascism. as we look forward to the coming election let us pray for another FDR or Charlie Wilson as the threat of Islamic extremism becomes increasingly unavoidable. I, for one, am finding hope in short supply as I contemplate a nation under the disingenuous influence of Mr. Obama.
I must be one of the few who did not like this book. It couldn't seem to capture my attention. I found myself wincing at the swearing every couple of seconds in the book. Although, the person may have been quoting someone, I found it totally distracting. I couldn't listen to even two hours of this book. It seemed to me to be more about womanizing, swearing, backstabbing, drinking parties, etc.
I have downloaded and listened to more than 60 non-fiction books and by far this one of the worst. If the author would have stuck to the plot more cohesively and left out most of the swearing and how many women the guy(s) slept with, drinking parties, etc, maybe I could've stuck it out.
I did not like it at all.
"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!!
"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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