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The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 Hardcover – September 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416558977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416558972
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

This is Woodward?s fourth book about Bush as a war President, and, if the previous one, State of Denial, might have been called ?Iraq: The Lost Years, the latest is all about rehab. Again and again, officials, diplomats, and military men stage interventions, to make the President address the impending collapse of his war. Woodward is maddened by Bushs impassivity (Sure would be nice if this got better, the President tells Condoleezza Rice), and his lack of honesty with the public. Claiming that the Iraq surge has got credit that should have gone to other factors (including a secret program whose details he cant divulge), Woodward finds scant evidence that the Administration has a plan to exploit the recent fall in violence to achieve a political settlement or victory a term that, when pressed, the President is unable to define.
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Review

"[B]rilliantly reported..." -- Timothy Rutten, Los Angeles Times

"A better first draft of history might be difficult to find." -- Gilbert Cruz, Time

"More than mere anecdotal detail, this is the stuff of history... The fine detail is wonderfully illuminating, and cumulatively these books may be the best record we will ever get of the events they cover... They stand as the fullest story yet of the Bush presidency and of the war that is likely to be its most important legacy."-- Jill Abramson, The New York Times Book Review

"...recalls David Halberstam's iconic The Best and the Brightest...The War Within's controversial revelations are contentions and numerous...But, mainly, it is a study of what happens when men and women, charged with leading the country in wartime or with counseling those who lead, do not tell each other what they really think."-- Josiah Bunting, III, The Washington Post

More About the Author

In the last 36 years, Woodward has authored or coauthored 15 books, all of which have been national non-fiction bestsellers. Eleven have been #1 national bestsellers -- more than any contemporary non-fiction author.

Photos, a Q&A, and additional materials are available at Woodward's website, www.bobwoodward.com

His most recent book, Obama's Wars, is being published by Simon & Schuster on September 27, 2010.

Since 1971 Bob Woodward has worked for The Washington Post, where he is currently an associate editor. He and Carl Bernstein were the main reporters on the Watergate scandal for which the Post won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Woodward was the lead reporter for the Post's articles on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that won the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

In 2004, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time."

In a lengthy 2008 book review, Jill Abramson, the managing editor of The New York Times, said that Woodward's four books on President Bush "may be the best record we will ever get of the events they cover . . . . They stand as the fullest story yet of the Bush presidency and the war that is likely to be its most important legacy."

Woodward was born March 26, 1943 in Illinois. He graduated from Yale University in 1965 and served five years as a communications officer in the United States Navy before beginning his journalism career at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Sentinel, where he was a reporter for one year before joining the Post.

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Customer Reviews

I was really happy to pick up this book and read it on my Kindle.
John McClure
A pretty compelling read Thankfully the book comes with a glossary, and also an index A very readable and understandable book.
Joseph Morris
This is the fourth of a series of books Bob Woodward has written on the Bush presidency.
Dr. Jan B. Newman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The War Within" is Woodward's 15th book, and his fourth about the Bush administration. I received an advance copy.

Woodward interviewed President George W. Bush twice, and he interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

I've noticed that in all of Woodward's books about Bush, he seemed to be full of praise for Bush when Bush was flying high in the ratings. But when Bush was low in approval ratings, so was Woodward's opinion. So I've got to question if Woodward has gone from the great investigative reporter he once was to an establishment me-too type.

After reading this, one can only be grateful that the Bush presidency is close to an end. Trouble is, it leaves a mess behind.

According to Woodward, the surge has worked but Bush failed to lead and made numerous blunders that were very costly.

The White House's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, put out a statement Friday, Sept. 5, prior to release of the book, disputing some of the assertions made by Woodward.

Woodward says that Bush has not told the American public the truth about Iraq and the war in general. But I found it of interest that Bush allowed Woodward to interview him and give him access. He said that Bush seems to have aged considerably during his long tenure in office --- he has a "paunch" and slumps when sitting.

Of Bush Woodward says, "He did not seek sacrifice from most of the country when he had the chance. He did not even mobilize his own party. Republicans often voiced as much suspicion and distrust as Democrats. The president was rarely the voice of realism on the Iraq war.
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67 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The War Within" begins portraying the Iraq chaos in 2006 - violence and American casualties are increasing, while Bush portrays a rosy picture and his staff realize our strategy needs to be reviewed. Bush agrees, but the "really bad news" is that this strategy review had no deadline and the emphasis was on it being conducted "under the radar" to avoid causing consternation during an election year.

General Casey, head of U.S. forces in Iraq, is trying to convince Bush to reduce troops in Iraq - we were making the Iraqis dependent on us and our large pressure was a sign of disrespect for them. He and General Abizaid had seen how the ethnic groups in the Balkans didn't reconcile until the violence got totally out of hand. Nonetheless, Bush seemed plugged into an attrition strategy (keep killing them until they run out of bodies), but Vietnam had proved that didn't work. Rumsfeld supported Casey - in fact, this was in line with his "new, light" Army vision.

Bush's decision-making style was "gut driven" - thus, his decisions lacked a process to examine consequences, alternatives, and motives. Further, he refused to allow talks with Iran and Syria - even though wanted by his area chief, Admiral Fallon. Finally, lacking deadlines, strategy reviews were underway, but with no seeming movement to fruition.

Retired General Jack Keane emerges as the hero in all this internal chaos, warfare, and delay. Being a member of the Defense Policy Board, he had access to up-to-date information on Iraq, and was encouraged by fellow member Newt Gingrich to take his thoughts to Rumsfeld. Keane's one-man, self-initiated effort outperformed those of all the other groups (eg.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John McClure on September 9, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From "The War Within":

"In Baghdad, [General] Casey appreciated the president's repeated public votes of confidence. But he kept asking himself: What do civilian leaders bring to such a war? After all, neither the full capacity of the U.S. government nor the American people were ever mobilized. No one ever articulated a grand strategy about what the heck the United States was doing. Nearly everything fell to the military."

Actually, the U.S. did have a strategy in 2006 as articulated repeatedly by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. That strategy was 1) train up Iraqi security forces so they could take over the mission and 2) disengage the U.S. military so it would provide additional impetus to the Iraqis to help themselves. The problem was, this strategy wasn't working and had not been working for the previous three years. General Casey was frustrated and he was right about one thing--there was no "grand strategy" that had been formulated and that was being executed by the Bush Administration to bring both political and military resources to bear to strive towards a successful outcome in Iraq. That would come later.

I have always been amazed at the access that Bob Woodward has to high level sources who share with him the inner discussions, challenges and decisions that are made at the highest civilian and military leadership levels. Even President Bush gave extensive interviews to Mr. Woodward who was able to weave the various point of views together to produce a coherent and fresh look at a complex and vexing situation which has cost an enormous amount of human lives and national treasure. History is still being written. The jury is still out.
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