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Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency Paperback – August 25, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"a forceful new study ... connecting the dots to give the reader a visceral understanding of just how Mr. Cheney maneuvered...."
a Michiko Kakutani in the "NYT"
"engrossing and informative ... the most penetrating portrait of him yet"
aJacob Heilbrunn in the "NYT Book Review"
"this new and brilliantly researched account a] went where Woodward was unable or uninterested in going.... an indispensable volume without which the Bush presidency canat be understood."
a Steve Clemons in the "American Conservative"
"Until now I assumed it would take decades ... for an author (say, some future Robert Caro) to uncover and describe Cheney's secretive role."
a James Mann in the "WP"
"It's unbelievable. I mean, get this. Just spend one night reading it by the fire, and see if you can sleep again." a Jon Stewart on the "Daily Show"
"a remarkable tale extremely well told."
a Clive Crook in the "FT"
"a mesmerizing guided tour"
a Tom Carson ("Esquire" critic)

"Jaw-dropping . . . It reads like a thriller."
-Nicholas D. Kristof, "The New York Times"

""Angler" could well turn out to be the most revealing account of Cheney's activities as vice president that ever gets written"
-James Mann, "The Washington Post"

About the Author

Barton Gellman is a special projects reporter at The Washington Post, following tours that covered diplomacy, the Middle East, the Pentagon, and the D.C. superior court. His Cheney series, with partner Jo Becker, won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Gellman also shared a Pulitzer for national reporting in 2002, and his work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Gellman graduated with highest honors from Princeton University and earned a master’s degree in politics at University College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of Contending with Kennan: Toward a Philosophy of American Power. Gellman lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143116165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116165
  • ASIN: 0143116169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barton Gellman is a critically honored author, journalist and blogger. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, and his bestselling Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency was named a New York Times Best Book of 2008. In 2010 he left The Washington Post to begin a new book project and take up a position as contributing editor at large for TIME magazine. Gellman writes the CounterSpy blog about digital privacy and security, and he is working with Spring Creek Productions ("Recount," "Blood Diamond") to adapt his Cheney book for an HBO movie. He holds appointments as Lecturer and Author in Residence at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Though I've not checked Fox News, no doubt the long knives are out for Barton Gellman. Angler, his portrait of Vice President Cheney is nothing short of devastating. However, for all of the charges Gellman lodges, the author never loses sight of his subject. While some may use Angler to support their two-dimensional mustache twisting image of the Vice President - or alternatively charge Gellman of offering such a portrait as a way of dismissing this excellent work of journalism - careful readers will find that the work offers a view with no small amount of nuance. The vision of Cheney offers is one created by a combination of the man's long held vision that executive power was unduly limited after the Nixon years - something he has long wished to "correct" - and his belief that in the wake of 9/11 the Government should not be constraint in any way in its efforts to prevent a future attack.

The result is nothing short of a toxic stew. Thus the VP, along with his senior staffers Libby and Addington threatened cajoled and manipulated their way into any action they thought necessary, regardless of the law. Gellman offers ample evidence for the charges he levels; likely owing the near end of the Bush reign, more than a few sources went on the record. Some have appeared elsewhere, such as Jack Goldsmith who worked in the Justice Department, while others are new, such as Former Majority Leader Dick Armey describing a meeting in the House in the run-up to the war where Cheney claimed that not only did they have unreleased proof that Saddam and his family had "close" relations with Al Qaeda, but that Iraq was getting close to creating miniaturized nuclear weapons.
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Format: Hardcover
"Angler" is the code-name used by the Secret Service to refer to V.P. Cheney. "Angler" the book tells the story of V.P. Cheney's role in the Bush administration - from his selection as candidate, his initial moves before even taking office, to his ability to influence decision-making throughout the Bush term, and does this in a calm, credible manner.

Selecting a Running Mate: Bush asked Cheney early on, and was turned down. This, per Gellman, only increased Cheney's appeal. Bush II had witnessed tensions between his father's White House staff and those looking out for Dan Quayle's future; Cheney, in addition, had told him about problems between Nixon-Ford, and Ford-Rockefeller. Bush did not interview a single candidate before settling on Cheney. Further, Cheney negotiated his expanded role at the beginning - "I want to be a real partner in helping you reach decisions."

Cheney's Role in Staffing Positions: Cheney's commanding role on major appointments was without precedent. He recruited candidates, pre-interviewed them, and escorted them for Bush's approval in Austin. For State, Bush already set his sights on Colin Powell, and Linda Chavez for Labor (she withdrew after a nanny-scandal). Cheney brought in Rumsfeld, Whitman (EPA), and O'Neill (Treasury).

Cheney did not stop at the cabinet - 2nd and 3rd ranking officials (eg. Hadley, Bolton) could be vital allies. In policy fields he cared about Cheney placed people even deeper in the bureaucracy. The list did not include most of the Friends of George from the Republican Governor's Association.

"Scooter" Libby was made national security advisor, chief of the V.P. staff, and assistant to the president.
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Format: Hardcover
Prior to 2002 I used to have a great deal of respect for Dick Cheney. He did a great job of running the 1991 war with Iraq. His 2001 energy plan was well researched and professional even thought some people (including myself) felt it should have been more oriented to renewable energy.

However, since September 11, 2001 Dick Cheney has strongly promoted some totally disastrous policies such as the decision to go to war with Iraq.

This book contains some truly stunning accusations. It suggests that Cheney's role in picking himself as Bush's running mate when he was in charge of finding a running mate for Bush in 2000 had serious ethical breaches. There is a suggestion that Cheney was less than candid about his health problems.

The author suggests that Cheney knowingly lied to Dick Armey (House Majority Leader) about intelligence concerning the (nonexistent) relationship between 9/11 terrorists and Saddam Hussein.

There is more disturbing material concerning Cheney's alleged role in encouraging the use of torture against terrorism suspects and the use of domestic wiretapping.

It is interesting that Gelman knocks down one of the most popular accusations against Cheney, the notion that he wanted to use his office for private financial gain or the benefit of the oil industry or his previous employer, Halliburton. In a recent interview with Harper's magazine, Gellman states, "There's no venality here. Cheney was not trying to aggrandize himself, to steer money to friends, or to set himself up for higher office. He simply believed that the stakes were high and he was more capable than others. He saw the world, he believed, as it truly is and was prepared to do the "unpleasant" things that had to be done to safeguard us.
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