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Misbegotten policies-torture, military tribunals, the rush toward the Iraq War-took shape under pressure and ideological prejudice, according to this gripping chronicle of the months after 9/11. Former New York Times reporter Eichenwald (The Informant) follows a huge cast of characters, from George Bush and Tony Blair to the government officials who hammered out policy, the CIA and FBI agents who implemented it, the terrorists they hunted (Eichenwald's accounts of the anthrax attacks and the Bali night club bombings are especially vivid), and the ordinary people caught in the cross fire. It's a vast canvas, but its centerpiece is the formulation by Bush administration figures like John Yoo and David Addington of "enemy combatant" protocols featuring arbitrary detention, waterboarding, and "extraordinary rendition" (at its Kafkaesque heart is the story of three Canadian men turned over to Arab regimes and tortured into making false statements that ensnared other innocents in the same ordeal). Eichenwald's novelistic approach takes us into the White House offices, courtrooms, and Guantanamo interrogation cells where tense people groped through the chaos of a new world of fear and brutality-and tried to harness it to their own agendas. The result is both a page-turning read and an insightful dissection of 9/11's dark legacy. Agent: Andrew Wylie. (Sept. 4) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* With the pacing of a suspense novel, award-winning journalist Eichenwald's richly researched account of the 18 months following the 9/11 attacks draws on 600 hours of interviews and documents, many previously confidential. Eichenwald chronicles the Bush administration's response to the terrorist attack and the delusions and deceptions that continue to impact U.S. relations around the globe. Among the revelations he uncovers: Britain's Tony Blair allowed Bush to believe Britain would join the attack on Iraq when his own attorney general had declared the invasion to be illegal without UN backing; Bush's assertion that the war on Iraq was God's will led the French president to decide to stay out of the conflict; and the collapse of the subway walls at 9/11's ground zero threatened to unleash a devastating flood. From the White House to Guantanamo Bay to Number 10 Downing Street, Eichenwald chronicles other moments of the lead-up to war, including internecine battles within an administration pondering the president's legal authority on issues from shooting down commercial airplanes loaded with civilian passengers to suspending habeas corpus for suspected terrorists. Eichenwald, author of Conspiracy of Fools (2005), has rendered a breathtaking inspection of the war on terror that began on 9/11 and reverberates to this day. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This explosive chronicle of the government's response to 9/11, by a high-profile investigative journalist, is sure to be one of the hottest titles of the fall season.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist