Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Publish Date
6.34 X 9.32 X 1.56 inches | 1.41 pounds

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About the Author

For nearly the entire War on Terror, Spencer Ackerman has been a national-security correspondent for outlets like The New Republic, WIRED, The Guardian and currently The Daily Beast. He has reported from the frontlines of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. He shared in the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism for Edward Snowden's NSA leaks to The Guardian, a series of stories that also yielded him other awards, including the Scripps Howard Foundation's 2014 Roy W. Howard Award for Public Service Reporting and the 2013 IRE medal for investigative reporting. Ackerman's WIRED series on Islamophobic counterterrorism training at the FBI won the 2012 online National Magazine Award for reporting. He frequently appears on MSNBC, CNN, and other news networks.


An impressive combination of diligence and verve, deploying Ackerman's deep stores of knowledge as a national security journalist to full effect. The result is a narrative of the last 20 years that is upsetting, discerning and brilliantly argued.
--The New York Times

Ackerman displays a masterful command of facts.
--The Guardian

In the genre of books that seek to explain why we are in the mess we are in, Reign of Terror is a formidable entry. To those who want to portray Trump as wholly exceptional, and discontinuous with the recent past, the book is an essential corrective.
--The New Republic

Reign of Terror is at its strongest when Ackerman recalls some of the outrages-of-the-week of the past 20 years, which may have faded from memory but feel portentous in retrospect. . . . The book compellingly argues that, the protestations of neoconservative Never Trumpers notwithstanding, Trump's 'America First' doctrine was not a break from Bush's 'freedom agenda'; it was its inevitable conclusion.

Attempting the near impossible . . . Ackerman offers a book stuffed to the brim with details. . . . A deeper-than-headlines take. . . . This book does a masterful job communicating how nothing is as it seems.
--Booklist (starred review)

Ackerman delivers a tour-de-force about the transformation of the United States in the two decades since the September 11 attacks, that thoroughly and comprehensively examines how the post-9/11 security state has engulfed society. . . . An essential work that encapsulates the trajectory of American politics in the first two decades of the 21st century, and the lasting impact on everyday life.
--Library Journal (starred review)

Ackerman capably connects seemingly disparate elements without forcing issues so that readers will see how such matters as the Branch Davidian siege of 1993 helped fuel White supremacist movements today. . . . An intelligent, persuasive book about events that are all too current.
--Kirkus Reviews

Spencer Ackerman's brilliant, discerning Reign of Terror initiates the urgent process of truth and reconciliation with the ugly facts of a 'War on Terror' that condemned a young 21st century America to the darkness of a surveillance society driven by the militarization of everyday life and dependent upon surveillance capitalism for pervasive monitoring and control of people. Ackerman is at the top of his game, revealing with vivid detail, investigative force, and unswerving moral clarity how the reign of terror rained on us, replacing freedom with fear and neighborliness with suspicion, as it poisoned cherished principles, diminished rights, and weakened democratic institutions. Every citizen and lawmaker yearning for a joyful inclusive democratic future must confront this toxic legacy and its chokehold on our expectations and our politics. That journey begins here with this courageous, necessary book.
--Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Journalists are said to write the first draft of history and Spencer Ackerman has been one of the most important reporters in exposing the horrors, abuses and wars as they unfolded in the post-9/11 world. In Reign of Terror, Ackerman weaves together his groundbreaking reporting with a searing analysis of the consequences of waging borderless, global wars abroad and assaulting civil liberties at home.
--Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars

America started the war on terrorism twenty years ago. It wound up at war with itself. Reign of Terror shows how the nation went down that road to hell. You've never read a book like it.
--Tim Weiner, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author of Legacy of Ashes

Ackerman rivetingly shows how America's response to the 9/11 attacks turned presidents into kings, institutionalized cruelty, exacerbated racism, and made a continual state of terror the hallmark of our political culture. Reign of Terror is a profoundly valuable contribution to the historical record--and, let us hope, the opening chapter of a long-overdue national reckoning.
--Rick Perlstein, author of Reaganland and Nixonland

Ackerman's Reign of Terror is breathtaking and essential. By connecting the threads of American exceptionalism, white supremacy and the War on Terror, Ackerman's book provides an invaluable lens to understanding the post-9/11 era, and the United States' violent embrace of torture, endless war and military occupations, presidential drone assassination hit-lists, and global mass surveillance
--Laura Poitras, Academy Award and Pulitzer-winning filmmaker and journalist