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Publisher's Summary

Objective Troy tells the gripping and unsettling story of Anwar al-Awlaki, the once-celebrated American imam who called for moderation after 9/11, a man who ultimately directed his outsized talents to the mass murder of his fellow citizens. It follows Barack Obama's campaign against the excesses of the Bush counterterrorism programs and his eventual embrace of the targeted killing of suspected militants. And it recounts how the president directed the mammoth machinery of spy agencies to hunt Awlaki down in a frantic, multimillion-dollar pursuit that would end with the death of Awlaki by a bizarre, robotic technology that is changing warfare: the drone.

Scott Shane, who has covered terrorism for The New York Times over the last decade, weaves the clash between president and terrorist into both a riveting narrative and a deeply human account of the defining conflict of our era. Awlaki, who directed a plot that almost derailed Obama's presidency and then taunted him from his desert hideouts, will go down in history as the first United States citizen deliberately hunted and assassinated by his own government without trial. But his eloquent calls to jihad, amplified by YouTube, continue to lure young Westerners into terrorism - resulting in tragedies from the Boston marathon bombing to the murder of cartoonists at a Paris weekly. Awlaki's life and death show how profoundly America has been changed by the threat of terrorism and by our own fears.

Illuminating and provocative, and based on years of in-depth reporting, Objective Troy is a brilliant reckoning with the moral challenge of terrorism and a masterful chronicle of our times.

©2015 Scott Shane (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Scott Shane has done a masterful job of fleshing out the missing link in the evolution of Al Qaeda. The life of the American-born imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, serves as a cautionary tale about the conflict between Islam and the West, and about America's role in the Middle East. Years after his assassination by an American drone strike, Awlaki's voice continues to summon young Muslims to the fight." (Lawrence Wright)
"Scott Shane has written a bracing story about America's most notorious extra-judicial killing, the 2011 drone shot that took out the American-born terrorist preacher Anwar al Alwaki. Here is by far the best reporting on the subject, from Alwaki's gradual evolution into a violent extremist to the Obama administration's internal struggles - moral and legal - over how to use the drone, a troubling but undeniably effective new weapon. Thorough and exceedingly fair, chocked with surprising detail, Objective Troy asks all the right questions, and will leave any reader wondering whether the United States, just because it can remotely assassinate terror threats, should." (Mark Bowden)
"No one has written a better book about Obama's war against terrorists. Shane is a superb reporter and a wonderful story teller. I literally could not out this book down. It will join a short list of books that helps all of us to really understand the wars against terrorist groups that have defined US foreign policy since 9/11." (Peter Bergen)

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  • Stacey
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 10-04-15

not a happy ending


An unbiased statement on radical Islam's power and use of technology. We're not that smart.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story

this was a great listen. As someone who's been in the military for 8 years this was very interesting and hit home just listening to the details of Anwar Al-awlaki's life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If you don't know the full story then listen

This is the comprehensive story of Anwar al-Awlaki. It provides a great depth of his life and the decision to target him. The story is very balanced and does not appear to have a political or ideological agenda unlike Dirty Wars. I highly recommend this if you are studying terrorism.

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Best foreign policy nonfiction book in years

Scott Shane's book on Awlaki and Obama is one of the best books on foreign policy in recent years, and certainly one with one of the best narratives. I was happy to see discover that this book was narrated by Fred Sanders, who did an amazing job on Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk biography. This reading is just as good.

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Great book

This book is full of stunning detail and captures the complexity of the issues behind the drone program. I recommend this book .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • graham smith
  • 03-03-16

superb non fiction

The best books make you think; and present complex, ambiguous, detailed information. If you are willing to be made aware of a more complex world, marked by nuance and subtle positions, this will interest you. If you want dogmatic, partisan affirmation of a bigoted position, read Glenn Beck.