From Publishers Weekly
As founder and chairman of Stratfor Forecasting ("predictive, insightful global intelligence," its Web site states), Friedman is in the business of gathering information and predicting outcomes of global conflicts for businesses and governments. Following up on The Future of War, he assesses the causes, players and parameters of what he calls "the fourth global war"September 11th and its aftermathfrom the perspective of the company. Much of whats here will be familiar to readers of the 9/11 report or the reams of news coverage over the last three years. Yet Friedmans stock-taking exercise is compelling as a distillation of corporate intelligence, where the spin is less about maintaining the image of particular politicians or governments, and more about being right so that money can be made.
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Friedman is right when he says that his book may be "vigorously attacked." His (quite reasonable) portrayal of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden as "skilled and dedicated men" is sure to anger readers looking for easy characterizations. But there is nothing easy about the post-September 11, 2001, world. Any study of the period immediately following the terrorist attacks inevitably raises more questions than it answers. What did the U.S. intelligence community know, and when did they know it? Was there sufficient advance knowledge to permit the U.S. government to defend itself against the attacks? Was President Bush misleading the world when he launched his search for weapons of mass destruction? And how, exactly, has Osama bin Laden managed to escape? Friedman answers what he can, suggests explanations for things that are murky, and gives us fistfuls of new ideas to consider. This isn't the definitive book on the subject, but it delivers a clearer, deeper, and subtler understanding of the post-9/11 world than we will ever get from listening to the cacophony of talking heads on television. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved