Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Mazzetti examines secret wars over the past decade, tracking key characters from the intelligence and military communities across the world. Among the characters we meet in The Way of the Knife are a young CIA officer dropped into the tribal areas to learn the hard way how the spy games in Pakistan are played; an Air Force test pilot who fired the first drone missile in the Nevada desert; a chain-smoking Pentagon official who ran an off-the-books spying operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and a woman from the Virginia horse country who became obsessed with Somalia and convinced the Pentagon to hire her to gather intelligence about al Qaeda operatives there.
Gripping, newsbreaking, and powerfully told, The Way of the Knife reveals the true nature of American warfare in the 21st century—a model that is here to stay.
©2013 Mark Mazzetti (P)2013 Recorded Books
Authors I like: Patrick O'Brian, Frederick Forsyth, Jane Austen, John Le Carre, Alan Furst, Jon Krakauer, Ernest Hemingway.
This is an interesting book about shifts in policy in the military and the intelligence services involved in the war on terror from about 2001 onwards. (Some of the material actually pre-dates 9/11.) If the subject matter interests you then you will probably find the book to be worth a credit. Shortcomings of the work include the way the author jumps around temporally and the overly-dramatic reading by the narrator.
This book does a fine job laying-bear the drawbacks of an increasingly militarized CIA and increasingly covert DoD. It also examines the misadventures of using private contractors to do the US government's dirty work, and of becoming involved with unsavory groups or states to achieve short-term goals, which will have long-term negative consequences.
The chronology of the book is sometimes a bit jarring. In a few places it jumps forward or backwards in time suddenly. I think the editing could have been better from a continuity and cohesiveness standpoint. The book also suffers from a little bit of tunnel-vision--it follows the arc of several figures, but doesn't (in my opinion) give a broad assessment or characterization of programs overall. That's understandable, due to the difficulty of getting on-the-record statements from people involved in covert action and the intelligence world, but it does restrict the completeness.
At first I was a little unsure about downloading this book. I did not want an agenda driven, right or left driven story. I wanted truth and facts and I think I got what I was looking for.
There are dozens of books on the CIA post-911, skip this one! I almost never write negative reviews but this earned it.
I've listened to ~100 audiobooks, and this is one of the worst written and performed I've purchased. Each chapter jumps from decade to decade, in no logical order, making the overall story almost impossible to grasp. The author relies greatly on interviews with anonymous sources and then weaves the details together in such a convoluted and disjointed manner that the key connections are easy to miss. It seems like the author had too many loosely connected stories that he tried to force into one book. A complete reorganization of the material might turn this into an interesting and informative addition to the topic. Sadly this was not. I was excited about it and I was really disappointed
Also, add me to the list of people who hated the narrator. Had to speed up to x1.25 just to make it bearable.
I liked this book and the reader so much I have listened to it twice and anticipate a third time soon.
The author was able to capture the ongoing problems between DoD and the Intel agencies as well as the problems and fights within each agency. Having been there I understand those battles very well.
I also think that the author did very well in relating both success, and there many, and failures.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the topic covered.
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