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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-12-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Grenier, former director of CIA’s counterterrorism center and station chief in Islamabad, offers unparalleled insight into the American campaign in Afghanistan with a frank, even-handed assessment of the initial military effort to topple the Taliban. Casting himself as an intrepid defender of his agents, he expounds at length on the strategic concerns, bureaucratic squabbles, and conditions on the ground that shaped the conflict. Pakistan in particular comes out looking better than it does in most accounts. Grenier contends that Pakistani intelligence services were fully and capably committed to the fight against al-Qaeda, and that the rise of extremism in Pakistan since 9/11 has more to do with shortsighted American policy and Indian meddling than with official Pakistani complicity with terrorists. One question never addressed is how bin Laden could have survived for so long within a mile from the Pakistani Military Academy in Abbottabad: Grenier merely says, “Once safely in Pakistan, given even a modicum of support, he could have gone virtually anywhere undetected.” Grenier does refer to himself in the third person, but by and large his tone is affable, and his conclusions—many of which run counter to conventional wisdom—are logical and amply demonstrated. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick & Williams. (Feb.)