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Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency Hardcover – November 3, 2015
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Named one of the best books of 2015 by ABC News and The Guardian
"Offers a master class in how to think seriously about crucial aspects of the [war on terrorism]. ... comprehensive, authoritative ... anyone truly interested in foreign policy or national security should find it essential and enthralling, thanks to the author's intelligence, objectivity, legwork and literary skill. ... Savage's superb book should stand as an indispensable guide to the debate."―Gideon Rose, New York Times Book Review
Power Wars "will almost certainly stand as the most comprehensive account of the Obama administration's policies, views, theories and bureaucratic battles over national security laws and the legacy of the 2001 attacks. His account is thoughtful and consistently fair-minded... no small achievement."―James Mann, New York Times
"Both the most comprehensive and the most engrossing look at how Obama morphed from a candidate beloved by the civil liberties community into what many saw as a continuation of George W. Bush...could not be more timely."―Trevor Timm, The Guardian
"The most essential explanation of modern-day American national security policy.... Anyone who has followed current events on drone strikes, surveillance, and encryption, and other essential issues at the forefront of modern America--and wants the entire inside baseball play-by-play to go with it--will love this book."―Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica
"Delves deeply into the nooks and crannies of every significant national security debate touching on the intersection of national security and law. The product of prodigious research and interviews with seemingly every player, Savage's book provides a revealing picture of the inner workings of the Obama presidency."―Gabriel Schoenfeld, The Weekly Standard
"The book has much broader appeal than to those in the national security law bubble... [Deeply sourced] is an understatement, as Savage reveals the contents of never-before released documents, memos, and internal deliberations across a variety of topics."―Cully Stimson, Lawfare
"Over the years, Savage has become one of the most knowledgeable and tireless reporters chronicling the civil liberties and war powers controversies under the Obama administration. ... Savage has written a book that will clearly be the comprehensive historical account of these controversies."―Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
"A rich blow-by-blow account of how and why the Obama administration determined the legality of its war-on-terrorism policies."―Jack Goldsmith, The New Rambler
"It is hard to imagine many journalists capable of writing a book on this topic on the scale, and with the ambition, of this one."―Robert Bauer, Time
"The value that Savage brings to his book is in reporting out how Obama's lawyers, who were often the toughest critics of Bush when they were out of power, wrestled with and ultimately sanctioned this retrenchment."―Eli Lake, Bloomberg View
There is "no more comprehensive guide to today's debates over national security and civil liberties."―Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post
"The most comprehensive account to date of the Obama administration's approach to national security law and policy-making."―Matthew C. Waxman, Time
"Extraordinarily comprehensive."―Marty Lederman, Just Security
Power Wars covers "in intricate detail nearly every major issue in Obama's national security policy: detainees, military commissions, torture, surveillance, secrecy, targeted killings, and war powers. Its behind-the-scenes story will likely stand as the definitive record of Obama's approach to law and national security. ... His main interest is presidential power in its perennial struggle with Congress and the courts. Ultimately, the stakes are high: whether we will continue to have, in John Adams's words, 'government of laws, and not of men.'"―David Luban, The New York Review of Books
Power Wars "offers a unique and thorough history of the American surveillance policy post-9/11, the inner machinations of the executive branch at the highest levels, the legal battles, the battling personalities, and the strange evolution from Bush to Obama in this critical area of law and policy ... As one who has studied and written about the Snowden phenomenon, I can't imagine a better, more total and fair inside history of that dramatic event."―Ronald Goldfarb, Washington Lawyer
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Lots of good stories, though one wonders at times about his "fly on the wall" accounts of dialog and closed meetings - who was his source, and what point were they trying to make?
His key question is whether there is more continuity or change in policy from GW Bush to Obama, a huge question that I have heard debated by some of the characters in this book, and 700 pages later (spoiler?) Savage does not end up favoring either answer entirely over the other, which is probably fair.
The author comes across as fair minded and certainly insightful from time to time. I've no negative comments, just a warning to readers that the book is detailed and there are many, many specific players involved. The writing is good, the book is not dull.
It is mystifying why publishers will print a book of 700 pages covering a variety of technical subjects, and yet refuse to include an index. The publishing house let down the author and his readers, and deprived scholars of a valuable source. No one should be compelled to read 700 pages to research a particular subject, like the policy for holding prisoners or for releasing intelligence reports.
The book is intensely substantive, then, but very readable. And it raises a key question: if the Obama administration's lawyers are willing to tell the president that anything he wants to do is legal, is that just presidential prerogative by another name?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It met expectations abs provided an insight into the inner workings and mindset of the administration.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
The airline shoe bomber and a ton of names over and over. Not readable.Published 1 month ago by al eagle
Plodding, all over the place narrative that seeks to put the author in the center of the civil liberties issues discussed here. Too long by a third.Published 3 months ago by Donald L. Davis
Until someone does the job of finding out facts about what's happening, has happened, we are left with hypothetical conspiracies. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Olof Ribbing
I am absolutely incredulous at the complexity of the bureaucracy that it takes to manage a problem. The book got so complex in explaining processes that if I flowcharted the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by mark berg, lt Col USAF (ret)