Kurt Eichenwald—New York Times bestselling author of Conspiracy of Fools and The Informant— recounts the first 500 days after 9/11 in a comprehensive, compelling page-turner as gripping as any thriller.
In 500 Days, master chronicler Kurt Eichenwald lays bare the harrowing decisions, deceptions, and delusions of the eighteen months that changed the world forever, as leaders raced to protect their citizens in the wake of 9/11.
Eichenwald’s gripping, immediate style and trueto- life dialogue puts readers at the heart of these historic events, from the Oval Office to Number 10 Downing Street, from Guantanamo Bay to the depths of CIA headquarters, from the al-Qaeda training camps to the torture chambers of Egypt and Syria. He reveals previously undisclosed information from the terror wars, including never before reported details about warrantless wiretapping, the anthrax attacks and investigations, and conflicts between Washington and London.
With his signature fast-paced narrative style, Eichenwald— whose book, The Informant, was called “one of the best nonfiction books of the decade” by The New York Times Book Review—exposes a world of secrets and lies that has remained hidden for far too long.
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 Guant namo 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.
The material is presented in a concise and easy to read way. It is clearly well researched. But it's focus on the failures, errors and shortcomings of those involved in the War on Terror makes one wonder how other attacks were ever prevented. The fact is, many plots were successfully foiled and a great number of truly bad people were prevented from killing more innocents. A few success stories, along with details of the work and sacrifice of the people involved would have made this book much more balanced. Instead, the book comes across is a biased attack with hindsight as its roadmap.