“Suzanne Simons is a masterful storyteller. But make no mistake—Master of War is not a work of fiction….A powerful and true account.”
—Wolf Blitzer, anchor, CNN’s The Situation Room
Master of War is the riveting true story of Eric Prince, the ex-Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater and built the world’s largest military contractor, privatizing war for client nations around the world. A CNN producer and anchor, Suzanne Simons is the first journalist to get deep inside Blackwater—and, as a result of her unprecedented access, Master of War provides the most complete and revelatory account of the rise of this powerful corporate army and the remarkable entrepreneur who brought it into being, while offering an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
CNN executive producer Simons balances private and public accounts of Erik Prince, founder and owner of the country s most notorious private military contractor. In this often glowing, mildly critical portrait, Prince is depicted as a fierce individualist, visionary entrepreneur and patriot, an upstanding guy s guy, albeit born into enormous privilege, right-wing values and Beltway ties. A determined overachiever, Prince trained as a navy SEAL until his father s death led him to an enterprising idea to provide the training facilities SEALs needed. Certain contradictions ensue: Prince is known to be deeply religious, so his affair while his first wife is dying of cancer surprised many friends. Likewise, Prince s free market faith denigrates government involvement in business, but his Blackwater project only survived by means of hefty government contracts. Simons s premise that all questions arising from Blackwater s relevance go back to one man justifies emphasis on the personal, but the book is most instructive when straying to include Dick Cheney s impact on Pentagon outsourcing or General Sanchez s frustration over boundary confusion in Iraq between U.S. soldiers and the State Department s veritable private army.