The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda
DescriptionTen years have passed since the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center, and after seven years of conflict, the last US combat troops left Iraq--only to move into Afghanistan, where the ten-year-old fight continues: the war on terror rages with no clear end in sight. In The Longest War Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond. Unlike any other book on this subject, here Bergen tells the story of this shifting war's failures and successes from the perspectives of both the United States and al-Qaeda and its allies. He goes into the homes of al-Qaeda members, rooting into the source of their devotion to terrorist causes, and spends time in the offices of the major players shaping the U.S. strategic efforts in the region. At a time when many are frustrated or fatigued with what has become an enduring multigenerational conflict, this book will provide an illuminating narrative that not only traces the arc of the fight but projects its likely future. Weaving together internal documents from al-Qaeda and the U.S. offices of counterterrorism, first-person interviews with top-level jihadists and senior Washington officials, along with his own experiences on the ground in the Middle East, Bergen balances the accounts of each side, revealing how al-Qaeda has evolved since 9/11 and the specific ways the U.S. government has responded in the ongoing fight. Bergen also uncovers the strategic errors committed on both sides--the way that al-Qaeda's bold attack on the United States on 9/11 actually undermined its objective and caused the collapse of the Taliban and the destruction of the organization's safe haven in Afghanistan, and how al-Qaeda is actually losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world. The book also shows how the United States undermined its moral position in this war with its actions at Guantánamo and coercive interrogations--including the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar, who was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan in 2003 and was tortured for four years in Egyptian prisons; his case represents the first and only time that CIA officials have been charged and convicted of the crime of kidnapping. In examining other strategic blunders the United States has committed, Bergen offers a scathing critique of the Clinton and Bush administrations' inability to accurately assess and counter the al-Qaeda threat, Bush's deeply misguided reasons for invading Iraq--including the story of how the invasion was launched based, in part, on the views of an obscure academic who put forth theories about Iraq's involvement with al-Qaeda--and the Obama administration's efforts in Afghanistan. At a critical moment in world history The Longest War provides the definitive account of the ongoing battle against terror.
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About the Author
""The Longest War" is his history of a daunting subject that succeeds where other books have failed. That's because the author was one of the few people onto al-Qaeda years before the instant experts cropped up. And he is still there watching, long after most of those so-called experts packed it in and moved on."--"The Globe and Mail"
"Drawing on vast firsthand knowledge of the region and mining a huge stock of primary and secondary material, including his own interviews with combatants, the book's depth of detail and breadth of insight make it one of the more useful analysis of the ongoing conflict."--"Publishers Weekly", starred review
"A grippingly important work that belongs on the shelf alongside "The Looming Tower "and "Ghost Wars"."---"The Daily Beast"
""The Longest War" is by far the best and most comprehensive book on the conflict so far."--"Sunday Times "
""The Longest War" is ambitious both in scope and aims...you need to understand al-Qaida, and Bergen, with this detailed, serious, scrupulously fair, perceptive and sometimes startling work has made a significant contribution to us doing exactly that."--"The Guardian"
"His important history of the war on terrorism....The greatest strength of "The Longest War" is that it provides a detailed history of what has occurred since al-Qaeda first appeared on the terrorist scene. Uniquely, it tells the history from three sides: the Americans involved in prosecuting the war; ordinary Muslims, the vast majority of whom remain unmoved by bin Laden's siren call; and the many terrorists and sympathizers whom Bergen has sought out in the field or whose voluminous writings he expertly synthesizes. "The Longest War" is also a very good read."--"Washington Post"
"For years, I tried to read every new novel about how 9/11 affected our lives. Some were very thoughtful, but I always came away unsatisfied, feeling that the authors had worked hard but had somehow fallen short. As I read the stunning first section of Peter L. Bergen's new book on the war between the United States and Al Qaeda, I realized I had been looking in the wrong genre. None of the novels were as effective or moving as "The Longest War," which is a history of our time. ... "The Longest War" is one of the most important accounts on the subject to appear in years. But be warned: You will read it and weep."
-Thomas E. Ricks, "The New York Times Book Review"
""The Longest War" is Mr. Bergen's magnum opus.... essential reading."--"The Washington Times"
"For readers interested in a highly informed, wide-angled, single-volume briefing on the war on terror so far, "The Longest War "is clearly that essential book."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"