This is an ambitious, meticulous examination of how U.S. foreign policy since the 1960s has led to partial or total cover-ups of past domestic criminal acts, including, perhaps, the catastrophe of 9/11.
Peter Dale Scott, whose previous books have investigated CIA involvement in southeast Asia, the drug wars, and the Kennedy assassination, here probes how the policies of presidents since Nixon have augmented the tangled bases for the 2001 terrorist attack. Scott shows how America's expansion into the world since World War II has led to momentous secret decision making at high levels. He demonstrates how these decisions by small cliques are responsive to the agendas of private wealth at the expense of the public, of the democratic state, and of civil society. He shows how, in implementing these agendas, U.S. intelligence agencies have become involved with terrorist groups they once backed and helped create, including al Qaeda.
©2007 Peter Dale Scott (P)2007 University of California Press
"Peter Dale Scott is one of that tiny and select company of the most brilliantly creative and provocative political-historical writers of the last half century. The Road to 9/11 further secures his distinction as truth-teller and prophet. He shows us here with painful yet hopeful clarity the central issue of our time--America's coming to terms with its behavior in the modern world. As in his past work, Scott's gift is not only recognition and wisdom but also redemption and rescue we simply cannot do without." (Roger Morris, former NSC staffer)
First of all, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a point of view on how the U.S. has arrived at its current state of foreign relations.
Having said that, I would have preferred a hard copy so that I could follow its extremely labyrinthine path. I can't recommend against buying the audiobook, because it is very cheap, and in my opinion it is worth it for that reason. However, the book is read at a breakneck pace, and I found it very difficult to keep up.
The overriding thesis seems to be that American foreign policy since World War II has been run by what the author calls "the Deep State", instead of by "the Public State", which should of course be calling the shots in a democracy. The author goes into great (Deep) detail but never gets bogged down in them, and he presents a clearly organized and lucid account of how the CIA and top officials have, both wittingly and unwittingly, steered foreign policy towards disaster and what would end up being 9/11. He also seems to attempt to be relatively unbiased and focus mainly on facts. (I am admittedly no expert in geopolitical matters, so I could be wrong about this. I am speaking about the overall tone of the presentation.)
Now, the narrator is a fine reader. He has a clear voice and does a commendable job wading through the quagmire of foreign names, place names, organizations, etc. But the simple fact is that the reading is far too fast. I am aware that this may be required of him by production restraints, etc. And I believe at least part of it is due to the editing, which splices everything into an unbroken word-fest. So it's not that I didn't like the narrator, it's simply that for whatever reason, the reading was too fast to comprehend.
In order to understand a book like this, with its never-ending intricate webs of secret memorandums, spy rings, military leaders, officials, organizations, and political atmospheres, I would need either a slower reading, or a hard copy.
"Good, but too dense for audio"
If you tend to listen to audiobooks passively as I do (while driving, cleaning, etc), you'll probably find this content difficult to follow. It's quite dense and technical with lots of characters, and (this probably sounds very ignorant) my Anglo-brain has trouble following all the Arabic characters.
It's the kind of book you would keep flicking back pages to check details, and check the bibliography and footnotes.
I may well re-read the paperback. I did find it a little timid in places (on the collapse of the towers, he describes himself as 'building agnostic', for example). But I understand that he didn't want to alienate readers by taking too radical a stance.
A good, uncontroversial, well researched first book on 9/11. I would follow it up with 'Intelligence Matters' by Bob Graham and 'Synthetic Terror' by Webster Tarpley (much more fringe).
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