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The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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In-depth interviews with Obama and other insiders reveal a White House on edge, facing top-secret options, white-knuckle decisions, and unforeseen obstacles. . . . Bowden weaves together accounts from Obama and top decision-makers for the full story behind the daring operation.”Vanity Fair
A book one with sweep and sophistication about a pivotal, secretive operation . . . smart and measured, long on transparency and short on speculation. . . . Bowden enjoyed exceptional access, but wasn't captured by it. . . . Bowden’s lens is wide, encompassing Obama’s evolution as a politician and the peculiar influence of bin Laden . . . Where the book shines is in Bowden's reconstruction and refined analysis of the intelligence operations that turned up bin Laden's location. . . . The book also succeeds in its artful portrait of Obama as commander in chief. . . . compelling drama, and Bowden has captured it with skill and style.”Seattle Times
How all the president’s men and women finally nabbed the world’s most wanted terrorist is truly a stunning story. And while parts of it have been told, Barack Obama himself has confided in only one writer about all the details. And he is Mark Bowden.”CNN
The first book, and, to date, the definitive one, that looks at the Osama bin Laden raid from President Obama’s perspective. The Finish describes a new kind of war fightingthe fusion of intelligence from vast and scattered sourcesto track and apprehend, or kill, the enemy. . . . It's a gripping tale.”The Daily Beast
The most accessible and satisfying book yet written on the climactic event in the United States' long war against al Qaeda.”San Francisco Chronicle
The death of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks is a fantastic story. It has goodies and baddies, a long, slow build to the climax, exotic locations and lots of hardware. . . . Bowden [shows] how success in the raid last May was the culmination not just of a decade of often tedious data-crunching by the CIA and other analysts, but of a vast and ongoing effort within the American security establishment and government to develop a new range of capabilities. . . . How the Americans finally got their man is an extraordinary tale and Bowden does it justice.”Guardian
"A superb storyteller, Bowden captures the tense drama accompanying the final months of the bin Laden hunt, even as he underscores the quiet, essential work of years."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Bowden’s new book outlines the changes in warfare since the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, and the way our increasing computational power has helped capture terrorists like Osama bin Laden.”NPR
The Finish leverages access to key White House, military, intelligence, and foreign-policy officialsincluding President Obama himselfto get behind the intricate story of how SEAL Team Six was sent to Abbottabad, Pakistan, to kill Osama bin Laden. . . . Bowden reviews the evolutionary progress made in intelligence processing and military capabilities that led to the raid on Abbottabad. . . . close to a textbook example of complex national security decision-making.”The Atlantic
[A] dramatic narrative . . . the actual champion of the bin Laden hunt is a collective of mostly nameless hands within the intelligence bureaucracy. . . The Finish is at its best when Mr. Bowden goes deep into mission planning, gameboarding the choice of means of attackair strike? sniper drone? ground-force raid?”Wall Street Journal
A page-turner . . . an informative, on-the-ground account of the mission. Adept at maintaining suspense even when the outcome is widely known, Bowden also makes judicious assessments of how much credit Obama deserves -- and the impact of the assassination on al Qaeda.”Minneapolis Star Tribune
Bowden would seem like the perfect person to tell the bin Laden story. . . . There is an excellent setting-the-record-straight section at the end that has been missing in other volumes.”Washington Post
Bowden . . . reveals the details of the planning, but knows when to pull back from a close focus to give the wider view of what was at stake for President Obama, military planners and the Navy SEALS team. . . . [His] experience as a reporter and author shows.”Fayetteville Observer
Shaping up to be one of the fall’s big books.”Publishers Weekly
Bowden’s book draws back to look at the raid in strategic context. I suspect that readers who choose Bowden’s wide-angle approach will find themselves better informed.”St. Louis Today
To chart the tale of the hunt for the world’s most notorious terrorist, Bowden assembled an extensive history of the modern warfare and intelligence tactics that led to the rare, execution and deep-sea burial.” Philadelphia Weekly
[Bowden] uses his hard-earned access to focus on the decade of intelligence-gathering and decision-making that led up to the Abbottabad raid.”National Post (Canada)
The Finish paints the U.S. government’s relationship to technology and social media as integral in the capture of bin Laden. . . . Many see Bowden as one of the most respected writers covering the U.S. military and Special Forces today.”Books & Review
Top Customer Reviews
Bowden attempts, at the beginning of each chapter of The Finish, to introduce a fiction-like moment involving the main players in his story. A chapter will begin with someone in a vividly described moment--Obama on the morning of 9/11, Bin Laden in hiding--and almost immediately launch into flashback. Bowden often used this technique in Black Hawk Down, beginning with someone in action (Sgt. Eversman lifting off in a Black Hawk opens the book) but skipping back in time to fill in the background of the bloody raid in Mogadishu, but the flashbacks in The Finish never lead back to anything. The narrative loops backward, exposition happens, and then the next chapter begins and the process repeats. Beyond descriptions of 9/11 and the raid on Abbottabad itself, there is little concrete action for Bowden to exploit, as he has done so well in other books, and so the majority of the book feels like background, exposition, detail we'll need for later.
I'd blame it on source material and a rushed timeline. The research for The Finish appears to have been primarily interviews with major political figures.Read more ›
First of all the writing style is nothing like other Bowden work. I don't know whether there was a bunch of rushed ghostwriters at work here or what happened, but the writing style is nothing like Bowden's other works, flat and repetitive. Editing also lacks, with some sentences making no sense, referring to the wrong person, missing quotation marks etc.
Speaking of repetitive, the whole book is based on very little actual information, it is just spread out in a wordy manner, and as I said the editors didn't shy away from becoming outright repetitive.
Then there is the issue of what original information there is. Apart from one interview with Obama which is mentioned in several places (but not a very revealing one either) much of the information seems to come from political staffers. That is kind of OK when we are talking about CIA personnel, but much of this book is white house staff work and description of conference rooms. Sorry I don't like it. And I did like other books that had a lot of administrative detail in them, so it's not just the topic. But it mixes not well with the repetitiveness.
The description of the actual raid is a huge letdown, too, since Bowden did decide to publish before he had access to anybody who was there. So in the end you learned a lot about political staffers' decision-making (such as speech preparation which is a central topic), people you never heard about before.
Amazon doesn't like reviewers to compare directly to specific other titles.Read more ›
Seriously Mr. Bowden, what happened?
First off a decent chunk of this book (over 1/3 of the page count) is exclusively devoted to Obama and not Osama. We learn about how the president felt 'emotionally" about the 911 attacks. Where he was when they occurred. Endless trivial details about his presidential campaign. What he wore during the raid on Abbottabad. What I really want to know is what ST6 wore on the raid. I could care less about Obama's tennis shirt.
Bowden doesn't seem to really have any direct knowledge of how we actually found the target. Basically the scenario the book provides is that we had this really big computer into which we put in a huge amount of intelligence and combined that with the determined will of a president named Barak; and then Abbottabad just fell into our laps. The CIA agent featured in ZD30 is identified as "John" and that's all we learn about that operative. We really don't get any sense of the national effort and determination of the American people to bag this piece of scum despite the best efforts of a bungling President Bush who dropped the ball and side tracked this nation for years into a foreign war that had nothing to do with 911.
Instead of calling this book "The Finish", Bowden would have done better by giving it the title " How Obama became president and accidently and at great personal risk to himself killed Osama all by himself with just a little bit of help from his speech writer".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. It differs from some other accounts of the raid, but still a good book.Published 1 month ago by Edward D. Hederman
Book was short on specifics and could have been 50 pages shorter if it hadn't turned into an Obama love fest.Published 3 months ago by joe estes
3 quarters of the book is background information which is little more than filler. If you've read The Looming Tower, you've read most of this book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Virginia gentleman
I recommend Peter Bergen's "Manhunt". This book offers nothing new and leaves me wondering why it was written at all.Published 6 months ago by Michael Anthony Caputo