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Publisher's Summary

The real war on terror has happened largely behind closed doors, run by the White House, drawing on secret intelligence and operations around the world. There is no man who knows more about it than Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar for both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the man who has led our efforts against al Qaeda and all other terrorist enemies for years, serving under seven presidents and in the White House for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, until he resigned in March 2003. He has had a front-row seat at every major battle in this war, from the first World Trade Center bombing, to 9/11, to Afghanistan, to Iraq.

Clarke knows the secret stories of Bill Clinton's great victories (shutting down anti-U.S. terrorism sponsored by Iran and Iraq) and his great frustrations (failing to kill Osama Bin Laden despite many attempts). When President Bush took office, Clarke was ready to present him with a master plan to roll back and destroy al Qaeda, yet the president did not grant a briefing for months. His aides had little interest in Osama Bin Laden, preferring to talk about Saddam Hussein at every turn. Clarke knows why we failed to shut down terrorist financing within our borders prior to 2001.

After ignoring existing plans to attack al Qaeda when he first took office, George Bush made disastrous decisions when he finally did pay attention. Thanks to the determined, even conspiratorial views of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Bush, we went after the wrong enemy.

The charges Clarke levels against the current administration must be taken seriously by every American, Democrat or Republican. Our security depends upon it.

Listen to Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9-11 Commission.
©2004 RAC Enterprises, Inc. (P)2004 Simon & Schuster, Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2005

"The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but Against All Enemies offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs: it's a thumping good read." (The New York Times Book Review) "The level of detail Clarke includes is impressive....Clarke delivers it like a pro. With his deep tenor and weighty pauses, Clarke never lets listeners forget the gravity of the situation....Compelling." (Publishers Weekly) "Clarke tells an insider's story of our government's awakening to a threat we had never faced before. Because the written words are his own, every pause and emphasized phrase serve to hone his intended meaning as no contracted narrator could do. Although this is an abridgement, none of the meat or spice in this hot dish seems left out." (AudioFile)

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  • Overall

Your Government At Work

This book should not be dismissed as a left leaning political rant. Clarke is critical of the current administration, but that is not the theme. You can not find a more informative look at the inner workings of the White House. The play by play of the entire day of 9/11, the crisis room in full operation, and a visit to the presidential vault in the West Wing, are all real eye openers. The White House in Crisis Mode is very impressive and is essentially universal for all recent administrations. Do not pass on this because you think it is another Bush Bash - its real value is how well our government works regardless of the administration. Clarke has acclaims from the last 5 changes in the Oval Office.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brenda
  • Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 04-07-04

Good background information

I expected the book to get a lot of backlash about partisanship based on Clarke's testimony but not from the people who actually read the book. I found it to be helpful in figuring out how we got here, in this mess with al-Quaeda. Richard Clarke's career started in the Reagan Administration and he told about the unintended consequences (that no one could forsee) of the Cold War and Reagan's efforts to bring down the Soviet Union.

Clarke himself acknowledges that it is likely that no one could have prevented 9/11. Those he criticizes most for not preventing 9/11 are the CIA and FBI and their entrenched, territorial view of their jobs.
He says that he knew it would take body bags for them to listen. He faults Congress and the Clinton Adminstration for not adequately funding anti-terrorism efforts. He does fault the Bush Administration for Iraq, which he views as a distraction from the war on terror, but that is not the purpose of the book.

I found the behind-the-scenes view of the inner workings of our government fascinating and an interesting read for that reason alone. Clarke's frustration at trying to "turn the battleship" is evident throughout the book - in all the Adminstrations in which he served.

71 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 04-07-04

Personal Account of War on Terrorism

Richard Clarke offers up his own, personal, experience of our government recognizing and dealing with the war on terrorism; in particular, our war with Usama Bin Laded and his Al Qaeda network. He tracks the history of this group and our growing awareness of what are their goals. Because of our relationship with Saudi Arabia and continued military presence in the Middle East, Bin Laden has considered us a threat to his world and has declared war on us. In the early stages of this war, Clarke demonstrates, many of our terrorists attacks were not correctly attributed to him. But as the truth began to become more apparent, our desire to attack and extinguish this threat escalated. Yes, the Bush Administration is taken to task for not heading the advice of the Clinton administration. This is not an unqualified accusation, Clarke was in the trenches from the beginning of this war and watched its importance get set aside for other priorities. It is not an outright attack on the Bush administration, as some seem to claim, rather a thorough analysis of each administration?s priority with terrorism. To dismiss this book as partisan rhetoric, would be extremely ignorant of what Clarke is trying to accomplish and put forth. This is an important work on understanding how best to fight this terrorist war.

Clarke does an excellent job of narrating his book and offers chilling first-hand accounts of the tragedy of 9/11. His analysis of attacks and our responses is even-handed, detailed, and very illuminating. This is an important book not solely because of the ?press? it has gotten, but because of the tremendous insight it offers into the working of our government and the people who work within it. I highly recommend it.

102 of 117 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Poor reviews

Obviously, two of the reviewers did not read the book. The plan that was ultimately approved by Bush on September 4, 2001 was hatched under Clinton in December of 2000 and presented to Rice in early 2001 during several briefings that were arranged by members of the Clinton administration to get her up to speed on several national security issues.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

True or not, it is compelling...

I am a Colombian and (therefore) english is not my mother language. I acquired this audiobook and I enjoyed it to the fullest because of the clarity of the exposition, the engaging topic and, especially, because of the way it was read by its author, his rhythm and tone of voice made it quite a "thriller".

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Algay
  • Simi Valley, CA, USA
  • 04-06-04

Insiders view of what is really going on

The book is very informative, clear and balanced. Clarke has a long history with Republican and Democratic Presidents. Describes first hand how event unfolded and the mistakes of both the Clinton and the Bush administration. Listen with an open mind and not what is presented in the press.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • 04-25-04

Great Book! Thank you Mr. Clark

Fantastic! Moving information from a great inside source. Shame on the media for parroting the Whitehouse's attacks on Mr. Clark, when they should have been holding the administration's feet to the fire.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lance
  • Bay Shore, NY, USA
  • 04-06-04


I really enjoyed the book. Backed up stories that have been around for awhile. After coming home from Iraq, I have to say that he is right that the president took our focus off terrorism with the invasion of Iraq.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

against all enemies

Richard Clarke's account of his many years serving our country is riveting and scary. He was the only sane person on 9-11. Now that he has disagreed with the bush administration, he has been trashed. Believe him, he has been followed by many other ex-bush people and I believe every single word of what he says.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aaron
  • MelbourneAustralia
  • 08-28-04


Simply if you want to know what was going on behind closed doors over a few administrations with regards to terrorism, who did what and who did not. This book should be a must read for all Americans. Richard Clarke was the point man and certainly qualified to make the judgements he makes in this book. Fantastic read!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful