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)
Very dry, completely lost interest at several point in the second file of the book, didn't finish it. Way too much detail in areas that I didn't think were pertinent to the point of the story. I would only recommend this if you don't know ANYTHING about the Afghan-Soviet story at all.
I like Charlie Wilson. I like the writing. I like the author. I like the movie. If it didn't happen recently then you'd think it was fiction. Worth it.
I learned a great deal but it was far from an exciting read. It reads in a "just the facts" manner. One would think that a book on spies would have more intrigue.
This is how we felt. I purchased this right before a long tedious road trip. Both my husband and I listened for hours. It was engaging, entertaining and educational. Just to know that this was all going on when no one bothered to report on it or blab all over the media. This is where the real story is - after the fact when the job is done. I have always said it is better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission - Charlie Wilson is one of these guys with the same rule!
I don't know. Maybe these things won't bother other people, but it seemed as if there were a lot of either typos in the text or misreadings by the reader. Describing the "hollowed halls" of Yale, talking about "flaunting the rules," telling of an antique car so old it had more than "three thousand miles on it." And so on and on and on. These things just jolted me every time I heard them. The ms should have been proof-read, or the reader needs to be more careful. I've "read" probably a thousand books on tape, cd, and as downloads, and I've never encountered anything like this. Great story, tho.
What Charlie Wilson, the CIA and various others did was pretty extraordinary, but the telling is anything but. Mr. Crile’s choice to delve into the background of every character as a way of explaining the motivation for playing a part in the Afghan resistance is distracting. I also found it confusing the way Mr. Crile, attempting to tell the story chronologically, also bounces back and forth in time, again attempting to unveil all the significance of each event, choice, meeting, etc. Rather than rewind constantly to figure out where I was in time and where the timeline had diverged, I decided to let go of the details and try to keep track of the bigger picture. Mr. Crile fails in one other important point - at the end of the second section (of three) I found it difficult to find a compelling reason to keep listening. We already know the ending, but unlike Mr. Eichenwald’s excellent "Conspiracy of Fools," there is no suspense or intrigue here. There are colorful characters who overcome many obstacles; there are colorful stories with humorous or interesting outcomes; but those ingredients don’t complete the recipe of a good story.
Read about how the CIA and congress really works.
I thought the story started out very well, but having a hard staying focused on the enormous amount of detail being presented in the second half of the book.
Is this really the last battle of the cold war or are we in it now? I wonder what government is behind killing Americans. I'll be willing to bet, that every dollar they spend, costs the US at least $100.
Really makes you wonder.....
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