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Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad Paperback – April 30, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307955885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307955883
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Overseas Press Club Cornelius Ryan Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2012 on International Affairs

Chosen by the Washington Post As One of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2012

"Virtually crackles with insider details...Bergen’s Pakistani sources gave him new insight into bin Laden’s home life...The details of the SEAL raid itself...[make] for compelling reading. Bergen puts the raid into a broader intelligence framework and deftly re-creates the heart-thumping tension of that night and the calculations that went into pulling off the daring mission...Bergen’s three other books have become required reading for national security buffs and counterterrorism reporters. But Manhunt is different. It goes to a higher level...Bergen has accomplished a journalistic feat: He manages to make the story of bin Laden’s end sound new. He has put together a real-life thriller that will be a must-read for years to come."
—Dina Temple-Raston, Washington Post

"A gripping read...Bergen has an eye for memorable close-ups. His narrative has authority...Packed with satisfying observations...Highly readable."
—The Economist
“Some of the more illuminating sections of Manhunt concern the efforts of intelligence analysts to piece together a 'working theory' about Bin Laden’s whereabouts...Also fascinating are the descriptions of internal debates within the Obama administration.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

 “The best reporting we have on the subject.”
—Michelle Dean, The Nation

"Bergen...draw[s] on his excellent government sources, his deep knowledge of al Qaeda, and his reporter’s instincts (which got him into the Abbottabad compound just after the raid). His book is full of fascinating details and illustrates the immense pressure on national security bureaucracies to provide options to policymakers and then reduce the risks associated with their implementation."
—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"Gripping...Dramatic...A masterful account of bin Laden’s life and activities, how al Qaeda operated in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the American government’s success in tracking down the world’s most notorious terrorist leader."
—Joshua Sinai, Washington Times

"Terrific...A fast-paced narrative that takes you into the search for the most-wanted man in human history."
—Bruce Riedel, The Daily Beast

“The story is riveting because it is as if Bergen were embedded everywhere--the situation room of the White House, three miles high in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora and alongside the Navy SEALS who would put a quick and dramatic end to bin Laden’s life.”
—San Antonio Express

“I devoured it. It’s an important book, which I urge you to read as soon as you can…Bergen’s moment-by-moment account of the raid makes for gripping, even breathless, reading.”
—Clay Jenkinson, Bismarck Tribune

“This superbly researched account of the United States' decade-long effort to track and kill bin Laden provides the intimate details on virtually every critical decision along the way…The book actually transcends its subject matter, demonstrating the best practices of critical thinking by the people who do it best…Present[s] the evidence on both sides of even the most controversial issues, without agenda or bias…Compelling and authoritative.”
—Huffington Post

"Dispassionate and authoritative...What the author brings to this epic story is context and perspective...Bergen has the credibility to tell this story."
—Frank Davies, Miami Herald

“Uncanny access and research…a fascinating account...The story is riveting because it is as if Bergen were embedded everywhere…Gives some interesting insight into the complex personality of bin Laden.”
—Mark Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News

“Bergen offers rather intriguing profiles of the four wives...Bergen’s telling of the actual operation--flashing from Special Ops movements to administration anticipation, including the White House Correspondents Dinner, where Seth Meyers famously made a crack about Bin Laden having a show on C-SPAN--is riveting.”
—Swati Pandey, Los Angeles Review of Books

"In Manhunt, Peter Bergen has produced a page-turner rich with new information and insight into the search for Bin Laden and his killing. Only Bergen, America's foremost counterterrorism writer, could have produced a book of such energy and authority--a triumph."
—STEVE COLL, author of Ghost Wars

"Ten years of grit, intelligent hard work, and daring led to Operation Neptune Spear, and Bergen captures it all in a story that is both a riveting page turner and a definitive history. Revealing details of bin Laden's last years in self-imposed prison, the debates of the CIA analysts who tracked him, and the training of the SEALs who killed him, Manhunt is essential reading for anyone who wants to know the real story of how the world's most wanted terrorist was finally brought to justice."
—ERIC GREITENS, author of The Heart and The Fist  
"With masterly reporting, Peter Bergen takes us where we've never been: behind the high walls of Osama bin Laden's last hideout and behind the scenes of the heroic and painstaking hunt for the Al Qaeda mastermind. Manhunt is a thrilling read."

About the Author

PETER L. BERGEN is the author of four books about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, three of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is CNN's national security analyst and a director of the New America Foundation.

Customer Reviews

Very well researched and written.
M D Miller
The author's access to primary sources and extensive research is impressive yet presented in a way that makes it seem as though you are reading an historical novel.
Richard J. August
If you're interested in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, this book is perfect for you.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen

"Manhunt" is the riveting and insightful ten-year pursuit of America's most wanted man. Best-selling author and acclaimed security analyst Peter L. Bergen provides the most thorough and discerning account of what actually went down and the people behind the manhunt of Bin Laden. This well-researched book reads like a good spy novel and offers keen insight that only a person as well-connected and methodical as Bergen can provide. A page-turner of a book that unfortunately was rushed to meet the one year anniversary and in doing so left out some important intelligence that is becoming available now to the media. Be that as it may, this book was a treat to read and the author closes out the book with a great synopsis of the state of Al-Qaeda and the Middle East in general. This mesmerizing 384-page book is composed of the following fourteen chapters: 1. 9/11 and After, 2.Tora Bora, 3. Al-Qaeda in the Wilderness, 4. The Resurgence of Al-Qaeda, 5. A Working Theory of the Case, 6. Closing In on the Courier, 7. Obama at War, 8. Anatomy of a Lead, 9. The Last Years of Osama bin Laden, 10. The Secret Warriors, 11. Courses of Action, 12. The Decision, 13. Don't Turn On the Light, and 14. Aftermath.

1. Peter Bergen is a fantastic author who has an excellent track record.
2. A fascinating topic in the talented hands of a master. Bergen is well-connected and it shows. This is as well-researched a book as you will find.
3. Excellent writer, his prose is engaging and some parts reads like a James Bond film. A page turner indeed.
4. Great insight on how intelligence is collected and the characters involved.
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64 of 74 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Five INVESTIGATIVE Stars! In "Manhunt: The Ten Year Search For Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad", author and national security expert Peter Bergen promises the full story on the tracking down and killing of the Al-Qaeda terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, and the book is full of detail on the manhunt, the raid, and the aftermath. He actually met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in March 1997 conducting an interview for CNN with two fellow journalists. While bin Laden came off as a mild-mannered person during the interview, his rhetoric spewed "a raw hatred of the United States" and he effectively declared war on the USA. Four years later on 9/11, bin Laden sent Al-Qaeda personnel into the USA to launch his attack on the American people at famous landmarks, killing over 3000 people who also represented citizens of over 90 countries. Author Bergen was the first outside observer to have access to bin Laden's now-destroyed Abbottabad compound in Pakistan and even standing in the bedroom where bin Laden met his demise. Based on high ranking sources, some of whom are named, he was able to trace the CIA's tracking of bin Laden's movements, his familial relationships, and to recreate how the CIA sifted through the haystack of possibilities: finding the key courier that led the US to the compound, and the circumstances of the raid. Indeed, the pursuits of fugitives such as Adolph Eichmann and Mir Aimal Kansi provided the CIA some methodology in the bin Laden chase.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amy McCormick on December 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read Mark Bowden's book and No Easy Day and this was by far the best written, and most informative of the three.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Bergen writes about our favorite villian Osama Bin Laden and his death at the hands of the U.S. Seals.

I think this is a needed initial book. More books will come out in the near future detailing the life Bin Laden lived on the lam. Bergen portrays Bin Laden as a cheap skate, who only dished out money when needed. Obviously, Bush's attempts to keep cash from Bin Laden was successful. It also portrays Obama as taking a gutsy decision in the going after the shadowy figure in Abottabad. Lots of bad could have happened, but Obama made a great decision and eliminated a theat to the United States. Bin Laden was still plotting lots of death and destruction on America, he just didn't have the resources to pull it off. America's War on Terror had eliminated a lot of the evil elements of Al Qaeda. It portrays the Number 3 job of the terrorist group as a death sentence after the drone strikes eliminated three of these criminals.

This is a good timely read about the death of an evil man. Hopefully, we will read about Ayman al-Zawahiri's death in the near future. A good detailed analysis of the following the trail of an evil man.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Natene Hone Hokimaira on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Renowned as one of America's leading experts on al Qadea and Osama bin Laden, Peter Bergen reflects on the ten year man hunt which finally led to the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideaway in the sleepy city of Abbotabad. With access to screeds of material and even the compound in which bin Laden stayed before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen serves up a frightfully informed narrative of successive US governments' responses and attempts to capture America's most wanted terrorist. From the failed missile strike by Clinton, to the hamstrung bungle at Tora Bora, bin Laden slipped the net of US clutches and defied the West launching raids against Britain in 2005 while still on the run.

Bergen pieces the puzzle together and reveals not only the efforts by the US government to track bin Laden down over the ten years since 9/11, but also the idealogy of al Qaeda, which according to Bergen, struggled to maintain its image, thanks to vicious campaigns of violence by off-shoot groups like al Qaeda in Iraq. Hemmed in by predator and reaper drones high in the skies above Afghanistan and controversially Pakistan, bin Laden opted to hide in plain site under a self-inflicted house arrest in the hope of avoiding US detection. The vice slowly squeezing during this time, analyts poured over data and Obama threw the dice and opted on a Navy SEAL raid and a chance to put to bed bin Laden forever.

The raid itself will go down as one of military history's most daring and impressive efforts, especially since it almost came unstuck with a downed stealth chopper. The fact it stuck under such heat is testament to the professionalism of the SEAL's, their preparation and training, not to mention the years of effort to bring the intelligence in the first place for them to act on.
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More About the Author

Peter Bergen is a print and television journalist; the director of the national security studies program at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C.; a research fellow at Fordham University's Center on National Security; CNN's national security analyst and the author of four books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers. He has worked as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Bergen has reported on al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and counterterrorism and homeland security for a range of American newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, TIME, The Nation, The National Interest, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Washington Times and Vanity Fair. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic. His story on extraordinary rendition for Mother Jones was part of a package of stories nominated for a 2008 National Magazine Award. He has also written for newspapers and magazines around the world such as The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, International Herald Tribune, Prospect, El Mundo, La Repubblica, The National, and Die Welt. And he has worked as a correspondent for National Geographic Television, Discovery Television and CNN.

Bergen is on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, a leading scholarly journal in the field, and has testified before several congressional committees. He is a member of the Homeland Security Project, a successor to the 9/11 Commission and is the editor of the AfPak Channel, a joint publication of Foreign Policy magazine and the New America Foundation that can be found at

Bergen has traveled repeatedly to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to report on al-Qaeda. His most recent book, Manhunt: the Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad was a New York Times bestseller, has been translated into eight languages and was turned into an HBO documentary that was n official selection of the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The book won the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan award for the best non-fiction book on international affairs of 2012.

His previous book was The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda. New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani writes, "For readers interested in a highly informed, wide-angled, single-volume briefing on the war on terror so far, "The Longest War" is clearly that essential book." Tom Ricks also writing in the Times described the book as "stunning."

His previous book was "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader" (Free Press, 2006). It was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2006 by The Washington Post. "The Osama bin Laden I Know" was translated into French, Spanish and Polish, and CNN produced a two hour documentary, "In the Footsteps of bin Laden," based on the book. Bergen was one of the producers of the CNN documentary, which was named the best documentary of 2006 by the Society of Professional Journalists and was nominated for an Emmy.

Bergen is also the author of Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Bin Laden. (Free Press, 2001). Holy War, Inc. was a New York Times bestseller, has been translated into eighteen languages and was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2001 by The Washington Post. A documentary based on Holy War, Inc., which aired on National Geographic Television, was nominated for an Emmy in 2002. Bergen was the recipient of the 2000 Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship and was the Pew Journalist in Residence at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 2001 while writing Holy War, Inc.

In 1997, as a producer for CNN, Bergen produced bin Laden's first television interview, in which he declared war against the United States for the first time to a Western audience. In 1994 he won the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow award for best foreign affairs documentary for the CNN program "Kingdom of Cocaine," which was also nominated for an Emmy. Bergen co-produced the CNN documentary Terror Nation which traced the links between Afghanistan and the bombers who attacked the World Trade Center for the first time in 1993. The documentary, which was shot in Afghanistan during the civil war there and aired in 1994, concluded that the country would be the source of additional anti-Western terrorism. From 1998 to 1999 Bergen worked as a correspondent-producer for CNN. He was program editor for "CNN Impact," a co-production of CNN and TIME, from 1997 to 1998.

Previously he worked for CNN as a producer on a wide variety of international and U.S. national stories. From 1985 to 1990 he worked for ABC News in New York. In 1983 he traveled to Pakistan for the first time with two friends to make a documentary about the Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion of their country. The subsequent documentary, Refugees of Faith, was shown on Channel 4 (UK).

Bergen has a M.A. in Modern History from New College, Oxford University. He won an Open Scholarship when he went up to New College in 1981. Before that he attended Ampleforth. He was born in Minneapolis in 1962 and was raised in London.

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