Author Gretchen Peters's 10 years of on-the-ground research and immersion in the cultures of Afghanistan and Pakistan are evident in her depth of knowledge regarding the Taliban and its developing interconnections with Al Qaeda. Narrator Laural Merlington is a particularly apt choice. Her mature, steady voice is totally credible as she presents the straightforward and detailed picture Peters creates. The author's clear writing, coupled with Merlington's clear delivery, allows the listener to absorb the complexities and implications of an emerging narco-state that is aligned with a terrorist movement. This is a particularly timely text, well written and well presented, fascinating and frightening - a definite must-read.
With the breakneck pace of a thriller, author Gretchen Peters traces their illicit activities from vast poppy fields in southern Afghanistan to heroin labs run by Taliban commanders, from drug convoys armed with Stinger missiles to the money launderers of Karachi and Dubai. This isn't a fanciful conspiracy theory. Seeds of Terror is based on hundreds of interviews with Taliban fighters, smugglers, and law enforcement and intelligence agents. Their information is matched by intelligence reports shown to the author by frustrated U.S. officials who fear the next 9/11 will be far deadlier than the first---and paid for with drug profits.
Seeds of Terror makes the case that we must cut terrorists off from their drug earnings if we ever hope to beat them. This war isn't about ideology or religion. It's about creating a new economy for Afghanistan---and breaking the cycle of violence and extremism that has gripped the region for decades.
©2009 Gretchen Peters; (P)2009 Tantor
The core argument of the book is interesting, but in some places this almost feels like a masters thesis, where the author is just trying to jam in as many facts as possible to support the main argument. As a result the book is repetitive and is downright dull in places.
I have to agree with other reviewers that this book is basically a just a collection of anecdotal facts. Prior to this I listened to Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory" which provides a good primer on the intricacies of the Afghanistan conflict as a backdrop to the main story. I thought this book would help complete the picture. Turns out "Where Men Win Glory" gave me a better understanding of the Afghanistan conflict, and was easier to understand, than this book.
This book is interesting and narrated well. It is obviously well researched and an important topic. Even with all that I could not give it more than a 3-star.
I think a really good audio book needs a bit more story to keep you listening and all the details like the Arabic names/places and dates (of course you need to include them) broke up the narrative.
If you have an interest in the region it is definitely worth getting, just don't plan on it keeping you awake on a long drive.
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