More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘Al Qaeda’

Going undercover for the CIA in ISIS

The Prisoner (John Wells #11), by Alex Berenson @@@@@ (5 out of 5) To uncover the identity of a mole in the CIA, John Wells must go undercover again. A long time earlier, he had spent years with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, he was the CIA’s only source of first-hand… Read More ›

15 good nonfiction books about espionage

For good or ill, a fair amount of what I’ve learned about espionage over the years has come from reading spy stories. A few authors are particularly diligent about research and accuracy, so most of what I’ve picked up is probably true. In fact, many of those authors are veterans of the intelligence game and… Read More ›

A well-informed history of ISIS

A review of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick @@@@@ (5 out of 5) One thing is unmistakably clear nearly from the outset of this outstanding inquiry into the history of ISIS: the bombings, the beheadings, the execution of hundreds of people at a time — we brought it all on ourselves… Read More ›

A brilliant inquiry into the limits of power today

A review of The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be, by Moises Naim @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Mark Zuckerberg hit it out of the park with this one, the first selection in his attempt to channel Oprah Winfrey with… Read More ›

The PLO, Miss Universe, and the CIA — and it’s all true

A review of The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, by Kai Bird @@@@ (4 out of 5) Chances are slim that you’ve ever heard of Robert Ames. I hadn’t. Bob Ames was a CIA officer for two decades in the 1960s and 70s. He was one of eight CIA employees to… Read More ›

Drones, mercenaries, and targeted murder: the new strategy of the CIA

A review of The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth, by Mark Mazzetti. @@@@ (4 out of 5). A Pulitzer-winning reporter’s inquiry into the profound shift in the CIA’s strategy since 2001, from intelligence-gathering to enhanced interrogation to targeted murder using drones.

Pentagon waste and fraud, and who’s really responsible for them

A review of The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America, by Robert Scheer. @@@@ (4 out of 5). Explains how waste and fraud in the military budget have been virtually mandated by Congress, which votes for multi-billion-dollar weapons systems even the Pentagon doesn’t want.

The 10 best mysteries and thrillers I’ve read in 2012

The 10 best mysteries and thrillers I’ve read in 2012.

The 5 best novels I’ve read in 2012

The 5 Best Novels I’ve Read in 2012.

The Pentagon and the CIA take a lot of punishment in this novel of rendition and torture

A review of The Midnight House, by Alex Berenson. @@@@ (4 out of 5). The Midnight House of the title is a secret site in Poland where high-value prisoners in the “war on terror” are secretly flown to be tortured outside the reach of U.S. law. There’s nothing subtle about this novel.