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Publisher's Summary

During the final three years of the Obama administration, Richard Stengel, the former editor of Time magazine and an Under Secretary of State, was on the front lines of the new global information war. At the time, he was the single person in government tasked with unpacking, disproving, and combating both ISIS's messaging and Russian disinformation. Then, in 2016, as the presidential election unfolded, Stengel watched as Donald Trump used disinformation himself, weaponizing the grievances of Americans who felt overlooked. In fact, Stengel quickly came to see how all three players had used the same playbook: ISIS sought to make Islam great again; Putin tried to make Russia great again; and we all know about Trump. 

In a narrative that is by turns dramatic and eye-opening, Information Wars walks listeners through this often frustrating battle. Stengel moves through Russia and Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, and introduces characters from Putin to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Mohamed bin Salman to show how disinformation is impacting our global society. He illustrates how ISIS terrorized the world using social media, and how the Russians launched a tsunami of disinformation around the annexation of Crimea - a scheme that became the model for their interference with the 2016 presidential election.

©2019 Richard Stengel (P)2019 Kalorama

What listeners say about Information Wars

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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chapter 13 and beyond are the good stuff

chapters 1 through 12 are a nice historical narrative with insights into the operation of the state department, but starting with 13, it covers the methods of disinformation, and methods and philosophies of how to fight it.

10 people found this helpful

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Wasted my time

Struggled to finish, had to restart and go back. I retired as a manager in a DC Intel org and can say this author is heavily biased, and offer much disinformation. The book is getting an extra star for putting me to sleep.

7 people found this helpful

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Partisan and defeatist at best.

Very topical discussion of Russian and ISIS information operations. A highlight reel of the Author's failures and ineptitude. The most energized discussions focused on Trump and the author's disdain towards the President. Recommendations largely centered on rolling back the 1st Amendment and censorship of free speech as "necessary" to combat information warfare.

7 people found this helpful

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very good read

Great look at the information war going on around us. End is scary w/trump incharge

5 people found this helpful

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understand the information generation, good luck!

maybe can know better the complexity of information in this age of fast data. After reading, I believe I have a better idea of how to group data or information by categories. My categories are of my own understanding and use and so are good only for me. thus is the world today.

4 people found this helpful

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a real eye-opener

I will recommend to this to all of my friends and colleagues. good clear simple writing, and an excellent reading.

3 people found this helpful

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defining disinformation and how to fight it

thoughtful view of information, disinformation and US government role, describing success against ISIS, and Russia's continuing dominance.

3 people found this helpful

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C'mon, Show some life.

Weak. Dissapointing. It had such potential but he couldn't pull it off. Stengel deftly presents an insider's view of of the bureacratic quicksand of governmentel institutions. However, there is a life and energy and importance of the story that he misses completely.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

a lot of complaining

Way too much time is spent complaining about his time at the State Department. it was pretty interesting though

1 person found this helpful

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A Great Dissection of Misinformtion

This book was great look at the real world consequences of misinformation. It explores the evolution of misinformation, going back as far as the fall USSR and explains in great detail how the U.S. lost the information wars. Toward the end, the author provides ideas on how we can move forward and dull the effects misinformation can have on us. It is an idea worth fighting for.

1 person found this helpful