Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Much like George Crile's Charlie Wilson's War (2003) and Richard Clarke's recent bombshell Against All Enemies (2004), Coll, a managing editor of The Washington Post, sets the stage by focusing on Afghanistan. Coll considers Afghanistan ready-made for Islamic terrorism, and accentuates that there is enough blame to tarnish everyone associated with the covert war against the Soviets, especially those who bankrolled jihadists to oust the Russians from the region. All of the parties in the anti-Soviet jihad had rather narrow parochial interests, particularly the Pakistanis and Saudis, who sought to install a friendly Islamist regime in Kabul. Totally oblivious to the dangers of Islamic radicalism, the CIA initially accepted the Pakistani agenda despite warnings to the contrary, and failed to support any alternative to the Taliban. The Agency (as the CIA is often characterized) was hampered by overly legalistic interpretations of lethal force, Coll notes, just when Langley finally grasped the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Readers seeking additional information beyond the 9/11 Commission hearings can turn to this engaging and thought-provoking account, which explains the coming tragedy of 9/11. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. C. C. Lovett Emporia State University
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A Pulitzer Prize winner who covered Afghanistan for the Washington Post from 1989 to 1992, Coll explains how long and how deeply we've been entrenched there. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.