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Bush at War Paperback – Bargain Price, June 30, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Bush at War Series

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Bush at War focuses on the three months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during which the U.S. prepared for war in Afghanistan, took steps toward a preemptive strike against Iraq, intensified homeland defense, and began a well-funded CIA covert war against terrorism around the world. The narrative is classic Woodward: using his inside access to the major players, he offers a nearly day-by-day account of the decision-making processes and power battles behind the headlines. Woodward's information is based on tape-recorded interviews of over a hundred sources (some unnamed), including four hours of exclusive interviews with the president, along with notes from cabinet meetings and access to some classified reports.

Woodward's analysis of President Bush's leadership style is especially fascinating. A self-described "gut player" who relies heavily on instinct, Bush comes across as a man of action continually pressing his cabinet for concrete results. The revelation that the president developed and publicly stated the so-called Bush Doctrine--the policy that the U.S. would not only go after terrorists everywhere but also those governments or groups which harbor them--without first consulting Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is particularly telling. Other principals are examined with equal scrutiny. Though National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice emerges as soft-spoken and even tentative during group meetings, it becomes clear that Bush is dependent on her for candid advice as well as for conveying his thoughts to his cabinet. The relationship between Powell and Rumsfeld (and to a lesser degree Powell and Cheney) is often strained, exposing their differences regarding how to deal with Iraq and whether coalition building or unilateralism is most appropriate. Woodward also describes how CIA director George Tenet prepared a paramilitary team to infiltrate Afghanistan to set the groundwork for invasion, and how this ushered in a new era of cooperation between the defense department and the CIA. A worthwhile and often enlightening read, this is a revealing and informative first draft of the Bush legacy. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Quoting liberally from transcripts of National Security Council meetings and hundreds of interviews with those in the presidential inner circle, including four hours of interviews with Bush himself, the Washington Post assistant managing editor, best-selling author and Watergate muckraker manages to provide a nonpartisan account of the first 100 days of the post September 11 war on terror. While Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, President Bush and CIA Director George Tenet are impressive, Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz come off as hawkish and reactionary, repeatedly calling for a strike against Iraq in the first days of the conflict while pushing for a more widespread, global war. Woodward does an excellent job of exposing the seat-of-their-pants planning sessions conducted at the highest levels of power and the hectic diplomacy practiced by Powell and Bush in trying to get the air war against Afghanistan off the ground. He also brings to light the divisions among the planners concerning the bombing in Afghanistan, which made little impact until late in the game, when the Taliban lines were finally hit. In addition to recounting the heated arguments about when and how to retaliate against Al Qaeda, Woodward also follows Special Ops agents flown into Afghanistan with millions in payoff money weeks in advance of any other American presence. Living in harsh conditions with little to no support, these "110 CIA officers and 316 Special Forces personnel," in this account, ran the show, and effectively won the war with their intelligence gathering operations. While at times relying a bit too heavily on transcribed conversations, Woodward nonetheless offers one of the first truly insightful and informative accounts of the decision making process in the war on terror. 16 pages of b&w photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743244613
  • ASIN: B000C4SSQW
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,087,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I picked up Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" when I was looking for an objective telling of how Bush got into and approached the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are too many partisan accounts that say Bush is all right or all wrong and I was looking for less politics and more information. This book provides that in great and sometimes tedious detail.
This book is focused on the period from just before 9-11-01 to prior to the Bush administration's going to war in Iraq, but after the Congress gave the Bush administration the authority to unilaterally do what it felt was required there. The book ends with Bush awaiting UN enforcement of the many Iraq-related resolutions. This is 90% focused on Afghanistan, NOT IRAQ.
Richard Clarke's highly critical book on Bush and his alleged lack of attention to terrorism prior to 9/11 came out while I was reading this book Surprisingly enough, Clarke is not mentioned at all in the Bush at War book in spite of his being the head of the Counter-Terrorism office in the White House.
The first quarter of "Bush at War" did a nice job of taking me back to the emotional shock of the Trade Tower attacks and the virtually universal feeling in America of patriotism and joining together. The remainder of the story describes in repetitive detail the frequent meetings among the White House principals, (with and without Bush) regarding what kind of response was appropriate, what was achievable and when could it be done. Logistically they found it difficult to reopen old intelligence contacts in Afghanistan and get men and material over there. I was surprised out how difficult the logistics are in fighting a war all the way around the world.
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Format: Paperback
Bob Woodward, who was a major player in breaking the Nixon Watergate scandal and also wrote the book-made-into-movie, "All the Presidents Men," writes his account of President George W. Bush's presidency during the first 100 days after the attacks on the two World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. Conscientiously fair, Woodward has put together a quite comprehensive behind-the-scenes documentary-style book that reveals a full-disclosure look at the Bush war cabinet, their meetings and interactions with one another, interviews with the President and much more.

Of interest to those who seek authenticity, this book will make you feel like a fly on the wall. According to Woodward, Bush at War includes: "contemporaneous notes taken during more than 50 National Security Council and other meeting where the most important decisions were discussed and made." Additionally, Woodward states that he "interviewed more than 100 people involved in the decision making and execution of the war [in Afghanistan], including President Bush" (4 hours of interviews), "key war cabinet members, the White House staff, and officials serving at various levels of the Defense and State Departments and the CIA." Needless to say, a great deal of investigative effort was put into this book, which can be said of all Mr. Woodward's books.

I read Bush at War about a year-and-a-half ago, and after much time and reflection, I am amazed at the amount of access to the Administration that Woodward was given. I found this to be rather astonishing, as it was almost certainly an unprecedented move by a world leader in terms of permitting the scope and freedom that Woodward enjoyed.
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Format: Hardcover
Who can chronicle a major event in world history better than Bob Woodward? Once again, Woodward is at the center of the storm, sharing minute details of the early stages of President Bush's War on Terror.
I was very pleased with Woodward's objective approach. He didn't take a knee-jerk liberal or conservative bent--he just told the story. Obviously, his view of Rumsfeld may be a bit skewed because of limited access and yet pays him the respect he is due.
I particularly enjoy Woodward's deep bios of the main characters. I learned information about each member of the cabinet and I feel better informed for having read the book.
The biggest surprise of this book: the role of Condi Rice. Bob made it obviously clear how large a role she plays in this administration. I left feeling that she could one day run the country and had a keen sense of responsibility, leadership, and faith.
The only flaw is the subtle insistence that Bush is in over his heels. I think every writer is tempted to buy into the conservatives-must-be-dumb theory. For the most part, he gives Bush enormous credit and lets the American people understand that he is a man on a mission.
This is an extremely enlightning book and gives a real insider's account. Buy it and put it on your nightstand.
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Format: Hardcover
Bob Woodward - Bush At War
Of all of America's flies on the wall, Bob Woodward may be our most prolific. The dust jacket of my copy of "Bush At War" informs me that Woodward has authored or co-authored no less than nine nationally best selling books, all offering an inside look at some aspect of America. The dust jacket also tells me that Woodward has picked up steam of late, writing the majority of his books in the last 10 years. In "Bush At War," the strain from this increase in pace is showing.
The most important part of any of Woodward's books is the access engendered by his "uber-insider" status. Whenever you choose to read Woodward you can be sure the inner workings behind the headlines will be made completely clear to you. It is precisely this fact that makes "Bush At War" a worthwhile read, as we all know what happened on September 11, 2001, but few of us know what occurred behind the scenes in the months that followed.
The facts are thus: on 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks perpetrated against the United States by elements of the al Queda terrorist network sparked a war in Afghanistan that eventually toppled the Taliban regime and scattered al Queda's troops and operations. Surprisingly, most Americans know little else about these events. How did the United States mobilize for war against Afghanistan (and so quickly)? What steps were necessary to thoroughly infiltrate a country that had withstood powerful invaders in the past? How did the U.S. quickly accumulate allies in a hostile region of the world? How did the Bush administration create its national message for the new War on Terrorism? Was the war in Afghanistan really as quick and easy as it seemed?
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