Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invas ion to September 10, 2001

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Penguin, Dec 28, 2004 - Political Science - 738 pages
16 Reviews
Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize

The explosive first-hand account of America's secret history in Afghanistan

To what extent did America’s best intelligence analysts grasp the rising thread of Islamist radicalism? Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail? Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll recounts the history of the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks. Based on scrupulous research and firsthand accounts by key government, intelligence, and military personnel both foreign and American, Ghost Wars details the secret history of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan (including its covert operations against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989), the rise of the Taliban, the emergence of bin Laden, and the failed efforts by U.S. forces to find and assassinate bin Laden in Afghanistan. 

Steve Coll's new book Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016 will be published in February 2018.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ProfH - LibraryThing

Fascinating and depressing read--This is a good one for anyone who thinks that foreign relations aren't that complicated or who misses out on the necessity of knowing a region's history before entangling his or her country in a conflict. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdubois - LibraryThing

A great overview of the involvement of the US in Pakistan, Afghanistan and their relationship with Saudi Arabia. This book chronicles the support for Afghan fighters during the Soviet invasion, the ... Read full review


Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 I
Chapter 10
Chapter 12
Chapter 18
Maintain a Prudent Distance
Slowly Slowly Sucked into It
We Couldnt Indict Him
Lets Just Blow the Thing Up
The Manson Family
That Unit Disappeared
You Crazy White Guys
Is There Any Policy?
Daring Me to Kill Them
What Face Will Omar Show to God?
Many Americans Are Going to Die

Were Keeping These Stingers
You Are to Capture Him Alive
The Kingdoms Interests
We Are at War
What an Unlucky Country
Afterword Notes Bibliography
Acknowledgements Index

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About the author (2004)

Steve Coll is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars and the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and from 2007 to 2013 was president of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute in Washington, D.C. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and previously worked for twenty years at The Washington Post, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1990. He is the author of seven other books, including On the Grand Trunk Road, The Bin Ladens, Private Empire, and Directorate S.

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