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Starred Review. If there ever was a crystalline indictment of a president's wartime decisions, this is it. In the third volume exploring the political carnage and bureaucratic infighting prompted by the September 11 attacks, legendary investigative journalist Woodward (Bush at War, Plan of Attack) dissects the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq. The picture isn't a pretty one, and Woodward's disarming, matter-of-fact prose makes his page-turning account more powerful still. The incompetence and arrogance on display in the highest levels of the executive branch is as stunning-and as unsettling-as the dismay voiced by civilians and soldiers who endeavor and fail to open the administration's eyes to the failures in Iraq, from the complex security challenges to simple logistical matters like securing sufficient translators. Unable to manage the war they unleashed, the principals-President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor, later Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice-fare poorly here. Many of the charges are familiar-the president lacks inquisitiveness, the vice president is obsessed with WMD, Rice is "the worst security advisor in modern times"-but gel anew in the light of Woodward's explication. The breakout star of this disturbing spectacle is Rumsfeld, who presides over the conflict with a supreme self confidence that literally leaves Woodward at a loss for words. If journalism is the first page of history, then Woodward's opus will be required reading for any would-be historians of the time.
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"State of Denial feels all the more outraged for its measured, nonpartisan tones and relentless reporting. It is nothing less than a watershed.... The full story of the Iraq War will be told by historians....This book...will be at the top of their shelves as they proceed to the altar of judgment."
-- Ted Widmer, The Washington Post Book World
"Serious, densely, even exhaustively reported, and a real contribution to history in that it gives history what it most requires, first-person testimony....This is a primer on how the executive branch of the United States works, or rather doesn't work, in the early years of the 21st century."
-- Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
"Never-before-reported nuggets in every chapter....It offers the most revealing in-the-room glimpse of the Bush administration that we have so far."
-- Walter Shapiro, Salon.com
"State of Denial is brimming with vivid details about White House meetings, critical phone calls, intelligence reports, and military affairs....Impressively detailed and eye-opening revelations about the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and its aftermath."
-- Chuck Leddy, The Boston Globe
"Woodward's book is packed with details about the gulf between the information the administration had and the picture it presented."
-- USA Today
"Woodward's trilogy on the Bush administration at war is essential, and compelling, reading."
-- Foreign Affairs
This certainly has to be one of the best books written on the subject. Woodward was careful not to go into scorched earth territory, something that the talented but angry writer... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Fred Houpt
This 2006 account of the botched handling of the Iraq War begins significantly with a conversation between President George W. Bush and Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Slokes
I have to say Mr. Woodward kept it up. After two detailed forays into the Bush II Administration, he was able to bring to life the various personalities that have caused the War on... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Foothill Ranch 14
This was a so-so book and one that I read among others. It was well written, but did not offer much that was new or we did not know about. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Clark Isaacs