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The Hunt for bin Laden (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Washington Post , Tom Shroder
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The long, secret campaign to track down Osama bin Laden has been called the biggest, costliest manhunt in history. This reconstruction, compiled from reporting done by more than two dozen Washington Post correspondents and staffers over more than 15 years, traces the hunt from its beginnings in 1997 during the Clinton administration, long before bin Laden had committed an act of terrorism.

The behind-the-scenes narrative reveals that time and again, CIA agents had bin Laden in their cross-hairs only to have missions canceled at the last moment by superiors in Langley and the White House. In vivid detail, Post reporters recount how bin Laden tried to get a satellite signal to watch the attacks of Sept. 11 on live TV. That evening, he toasted his handiwork at a collegial dinner, expressing pleasant surprise that the attack had killed so many.

The Hunt for bin Laden chronicles the myriad ways he evaded detection in his years on the lam, his narrow escape from the caves and tunnels of Tora Bora, and how the war in Iraq drained resources and diverted the spotlight from the hunt, turning the mission to kill or capture bin Laden into a back-burner operation and political liability for the Bush administration.

As the hunt continued in the background, Post reporters never stopped writing about it, revealing how increasingly punishing drone attacks, interrogations of captured al Qaeda operatives and an ever expanding network of informants finally began to yield a trail, pebble by pebble. It wasn't until the Iraq war began to wind down that the search gained its endgame momentum, the Post shows, reclassified as a highest priority again by a new president.

The breakthrough came when bin Laden's shadowy courier was finally identified, and his cell phone intercepted. Wire intercepts and surveillance eventually led the CIA directly to a mysterious million-dollar compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. After fourteen years, two wars and billions of dollars spent in the effort, a team of Navy Seals finally brought the hunt to a swift and conclusive end.

Washington Post staff writers: John Ward Anderson, Peter Baker, Karin Brulliard, Steve Coll, Karen DeYoung, Michael Dobbs, Peter Finn, Marc Fisher, Bradley Graham, Anne E. Kornblut, John Lancaster, Richard Leiby, Vernon Loeb, Jerry Markon, Greg Miller, Molly Moore, Dana Priest, Ian Shapira, Ann Scott Tyson, Joby Warrick, Craig Whitlock, William Branigin, Pamela Constable, Susan B. Glasser, John Lancaster, Allan Lengel, Colum Lynch, Ellen Nakashima, Walter Pincus, John Pomfret, Keith B. Richburg, Thomas E. Ricks, Paul Schwartzman, Robert E. Thomason, Josh White, Griff Witte and Kevin Sullivan; staff researcher Julie Tate; and special correspondents Haq Nawaz Khan and Kamran Khan.

Editorial Reviews Review

As an end-to-end report on the 15-year pursuit of Osama bin Laden, there may be no better primer than this Kindle Single, which covers the rise of the threat, the missed chances, the 9/11 attacks, the earnest manhunt, the distractions, the dearth of intelligence that followed, and the violent conclusion of the search. Tom Shroder edits dozens of contributors' Washington Post reporting from over fifteen years, resulting in an essential digest of the apex jihadist as considered through the perspective of CIA and the White House--no matter who issued your passport. --Jason Kirk

Product Details

  • File Size: 145 KB
  • Print Length: 55 pages
  • Publisher: The Washington Post (June 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058JGLEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent July 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A balanced and ojective coverage. Written by seasoned team. Anyone looking for support of their political stance will not find it here.
Most appreciative this has been made available.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Newpaper Clippings July 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wait for the insider version. Although it reads as advertised, the substance is too close in time to the event to give us the rich underpinnings of this search, including personalities and details, which make for the kind of riveting reading found in such books as "Too Big to Fail." It will take longer to get that kind of reportage in this case, but for starters this is an appetizer.
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35 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rough Narrative July 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
The Hunt for bin Laden traces the actions that culminated in the death of bin Laden. One is grateful for this piece and its strong central narrative. Still, it has to be said that the piece suffers from sloppy editing and, at times, unclear writing.

For example, the writer needed to say 1:15 PM or 1:15 AM, not just 1:15 Afghanistan time. The narrative concerning the certainty level of bin Laden's being there in the compound is a little garbled. Also, the use of slang can be disturbing. Maybe Navy Seals refer to going "tits up," but it seems more inept than anything else to say that the "Abbottabad compound was fishier than week old trout." (Remember how carefully Tom Wolfe handled the slang in The Right Stuff.) The piece doesn't always meet expected journalistic standards, and I wish it did. For example, the space shuttle Endeavour is referred to as the Endeavor. We are told once that Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan and then a few paragraphs later we are told that Islamabad is the "capitol."

I see a great deal of value in this sort of publication and hope that future examples will be more carefully produced.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing July 22, 2011
By PaddyVA
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With all the coverage that the Washington Post has on hand, I expected this to be an interesting and worth keeping "book." It is greatly disappointing, containing no images or graphics at all, and short to boot. A waste of even 1.99.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I CAN reccomend it highly enough July 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Overall, Shroder does a good job in "the Hunt for Bin Laden," writing objectively and with authority but perhaps most importantly, omitting much of the "rah-rah," that some writers have put into the subject; giving the reader the facts in a nutshell without rushing through or becoming nakedly partisan when questions of politics and political will are in question. His approach seems to be "just the facts"--even when telling the reader of the Bush administration's refocusing our military's mission on the war in Iraq which drew personnel and resources away from the search for America's deadliest and most successful enemy since the second World War. One thing that is especially good about Shroder's narrative is that he accomplishes all that he does without resorting to bursts of cheerleader subjectivity and the too-friendly colloquialism that can be found in other books on the topic.

Tom Shroder's "The Hunt for Bin Laden," is obviously high-speed writing, but it is also high-quality, high-speed writing. It certainly needed additional work from an editor, but its editorial flaws are in places and of kinds that the average reader may not notice.

If you want to understand some version of what happened to Bin Laden for all those years and how we managed not to find him for nearly a decade after Al-Qaeda's seemingly immortal leader walked out of our grasp in the mountains of Afghanistan only to surface again in Abottobad in the heart of Pakistan, Shroder's: "The Hunt for Bin Laden" will provide you with a short, riveting read.

I recommend it highly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars THE HUNT OF A VISIBLE GHOST October 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is well written. I would expect a more detailed and explained sequence, nonetheless it's understandable why they are not presented in more detail. My astonishment is how in God's name the most powerful and well equipped (military and technological) nation in this planet failed so many times to the point of embarrassment, to kill the most wanted terrorist on earth. You don't have to be a trained CIA agent to detect the lack of real purpose beggining from the janitor of Langley all the way up to the President and the people who supposedly are paid to give him their best assessment, all of them (with some honorable exceptions) did a poor job, and showed a complete lack of imagination. The bureaucracy,(which I may understand for IRS or other goverment agency) but in matters of High Priority National Security the inefficiency of many agencies who were supposed to understand history, other cultures and above all fanaticism, is depicted very clear in this book. Obviously they were more interested on their image, than protecting the people not only of the United States, but the free world. The merit of this book (obviously without the specific intention) lies on the fact that exposes what politicians don't care about: the lives of Americans who fought desperately to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, when it was obvious since 10 years before 9/11 that he was a serious, dangerous and deadly threat to the U.S. If you were able to ask to the thousands o people just in the Twin Towers who died crushed, burnt, suffocated etc, their opinion on why was this lunatic was not eliminated, you would be surprised from their answers and semtiment towards the people in charge of protecting them. The victims of 9/11 had the same right you an I have to live. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Robert T
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Published 5 months ago by John Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Useful read.
Published 6 months ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by gabriel guzman
3.0 out of 5 stars not that great
Boring to read and nothing really new. Would not recommend it. Just a rehash of the actions taken to capture him .
Published 14 months ago by FRANK
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Kindle Single!
This is a short summary of The Washington Post coverage of the Capture of Bin Laden. I found out some things I didn't know before and read again the exciting tale of capture. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Lynn Ellingwood
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read.
It was captivating, and well written. I assume that most of the content is correct or at least close. Read more
Published on February 7, 2013 by W. P. (Bill) Hastings
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
the author evidently did a thourough research and knew all the facts, this was history in the making kudos to the author i would reccomend this kidle single to anyone who will ask... Read more
Published on January 28, 2013 by frank zaita6
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Disappointing. One expected either insights or information not previously available. Not the case. Seven more words required. Seven more words required.
Published on December 31, 2012 by ken
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed
Very detailed description of all facts.
In my opinion, the book should have more details in the last part in how the seals got prepared
Published on December 30, 2012 by Augusto C Donelli
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More About the Author


Tom Shroder is an award-winning journalist, editor, and author. His most recent book, "Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal," was selected as a Washington Post notable book of 2014. His earlier book, "Old Souls," is a classic study of the intersection between mysticism and science.

Shroder is also co-author, with former oil rig captain John Konrad, of "Fire on the Horizon,the Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster." Sebastian Junger, author of "War" and "The Perfect Storm," says of Fire on the Horizon, "It's one of the best disaster books I've ever read.. . I tore through it like a novel, but with the queasy knowledge that the whole damn thing is true. A phenomenal feat of journalism."

As editor of The Washington Post Magazine, he conceived and edited two Pulitzer Prize-winning feature stories. His most recent editing project, "Overwhemed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time," by Brigid Schulte, was a New York Times bestseller.

In addition to being an author and editor of narrative journalism, Shroder is one of the foremost editors of humor in the country. He has edited humor columns by Dave Barry, Gene Weingarten and Tony Kornheiser, as well as conceived and launched the internationally syndicated comic strip, Cul de Sac, by Richard Thompson. With humorist Barry and novelists Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard, he concocted and edited "Naked Came the Manatee," a satirical serial novel.

Shroder was born in New York City in 1954, the son of a novelist and a builder, and the grandson of MacKinlay Kantor, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his civil war novel "Andersonville." Shroder attended the University of Florida where he became Editor of the 22,000 circulation student daily newspaper despite the fact that he was an anthropology major (an affront for which the university's journalism faculty was slow to forgive him). After graduation in 1976, he wrote national award-winning features for the Fort Myers News Press, the Tallahassee Democrat, The Cincinnati Enquirer and the Miami Herald. At the Herald he became editor of Tropic magazine, which earned two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.

Shroder is also known for his creation, along with Barry and Weingarten, of the Tropic Hunt, which has become the Herald Hunt in Miami and the Post Hunt in Washington, a mass-participation puzzle attended by thousands each year.


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