The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jul 15, 2008 - History - 336 pages
45 Reviews
A dramatic and damning narrative account of how America has fought the
"War on Terror"

In the days immediately following September 11th, the most powerful people in the country were panic-stricken. The radical decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, used the crisis to further a long held agenda to enhance Presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment.

THE DARK SIDE is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world-- decisions that not only violated the Constitution to which White House officials took an oath to uphold, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author, Jane Mayer, relates the impact of these decisions—U.S.-held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment more reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty-first century.

THE DARK SIDE will chronicle real, specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of what was happening in Washington, looking at the intelligence gained—or not—and the price paid. In some instances, torture worked. In many more, it led to false information, sometimes with devastating results. For instance, there is the stunning admission of one of the detainees, Sheikh Ibn al-Libi, that the confession he gave under duress—which provided a key piece of evidence buttressing congressional support of going to war against Iraq--was in fact fabricated, to make the torture stop.

In all cases, whatever the short term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, and our country's place in the world, and its sense of itself. THE DARK SIDE chronicles one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W. Bush presidency.


From the Hardcover edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

This detailed account of the Bush Administration's decisions on rendition, torture and other unpleasant matters is a must read book. What I find most disturbing, after the revelations of the last ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lindap69 - LibraryThing

fascinating insight into the government activities following 9/11 and the problems created by the amoral powers that occupied Washington for the last 8 years Read full review

References to this book

About the author (2008)

Jane Mayer is the co-author of two bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Mayer was also awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in connection with The Dark Side.

She is currently a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front-page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal's first female White House correspondent.

She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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