16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Dry But Informative,
This review is from: Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (Paperback)
This author can say more in 5 words then I could say in 50. To say this book is dense and jammed packed with detail may be an understatement. This book is the authors attempt to detail the creation and support of the Afghanistan freedom fighters in the 1980's and how these fighters then went out in the 90's to form the base of the Al - Qaeda terrorist group. The author takes us through the different countries and ways that the Afghani fighters were funded and supported. It then covers the terrorist acts these same fighters have been committing over the last ten years.
We get a very good look at the other nations involved in this issue and how the internal politics of one nation may effect the world. For example the help that China provided the Afghani fighters to keep the Russians busy then turned into an issue for China when those same fighters started working with separatist organizations in Western China. The books main point is that if you use mercenaries to fight a war for you it tends to have far reaching repercussions.
What I did not like about the book was the bone-dry writing. He managed to take an interesting topic and turn it into a story with all the excitement of an economics lecture. This is good stuff, punch it up a bit and get me excited to move to the next page. I also wanted a bit more background or links to other events - we get a blizzard of facts, dates, places etc, but it is not tied together very well. And if you are a nut on typos (you probably would get mad at my typing) then watch out because it does not look like too much editing was done on the text.
If you want more detail on the Afghanistan freedom fighters / CIA funding process during the 1980's I would suggest the book "The Forth World War", a great book written by the head of the French version of the CIA which is quoted a number of times in this book. For a more in-depth look at what happened to the aid the book "The Bear Trap" is also very interesting. If you just want a nice, easy to read overview of UBL then I would suggest "Holy War Inc".