Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

author: Steve Coll
name: Elaine
average rating: 4.30
book published: 2004
rating: 4
read at: 2009/05/03
date added: 2009/05/05
shelves: history, politics, religion
review:
C read this sometime last year, but it had to go back to the library before I had a chance to get into it. Finally got back to it again last month.

It was a loooong read. Part of that was my springtime switch in commute methods, back to almost all biking, which cuts into my reading time. But it is also a long serious book that takes thoughtful reading.

I had sort of a vague sense of Afghanistan being important in terms of where we find ourselves now. This book really filled out my understanding with all the relevant players here, there, in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. Alas, lots of moments a lot like watching The Titanic movie: nooooo! You can see the disasters coming, and at the same time I personally wasn’t entirely sure what could have been done to stop them.

I’d call it a minimum requirement for thinking deeply about WTF we are doing with Afghanistan and with Islamic terrorism generally. I find myself ever less certain. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but there as it is.

(As a postscript, I’ve been curious about this book in part because of the subtitle: Sept 10 2001 was my 27th birthday. It was pretty lame, btw, and that was before waking up the next morning.)