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The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Hardcover – March 26, 2012
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- Kirkus' Starred Review
"On one level, McDermott and Meyer have given us a fact-filled inside account, in the voices of those on the job, of the failed decade-long American effort to find KSM before he could strike again. But there is a most important underlying message in this book -- that the American intelligence community remains caught up in bureaucratic warfare and remains today incapable of working together...of sharing insights and information...even when all involved share the same goal. This, ultimately, is an account of an American tragedy."―Seymour M. Hersh of The New Yorker
"This chilling inside account of America's cat-and-mouse pursuit of perhaps the world's most heinous terrorist reads like a real-life episode of the show '24.' Political ineptitude has delayed KSM's trial, keeping him hidden from the world. But now two intrepid reporters tell the story, unmasking not just a terrorist of historic dimensions, but also a country failing to adequately grapple with the challenge."―Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side
"I couldn't put this book down, a tick tock thriller about catching 9/11's mastermind. In exquisite detail it tells a story of incompetence and failure, and ultimately brilliance and redemption. It shows how we failed, and how we finally succeeded after relearning the nuts and bolts of classic espionage."―Robert Baer, bestselling author of See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil
"Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer have written a completely authoritative account of the man who organized the 9/11 attacks and the often-bungled hunt to find him. The Hunt for KSM is a
deeply reported page-turner about the race to find the man who was the Chief
Operating Officer of Al-Qaeda."―Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War
"The Hunt for KSM is an important book, detailing one of most secretive and fractured investigations of our time. Fabulous reporting and great storytelling make it one of the best thrillers I've ever read. That it is all true and such a gripping story just makes the accomplishment of McDermott and Meyer even more astounding. I couldn't put this one down and neither will you."―Michael Connelly
About the Author
Josh Meyer is the former chief terrorism reporter for The Los Angeles Times and has reported on international terrorism for more than a decade. The "Inside Al Qaeda" series he worked on was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and he has twice been part of teams that have won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting. Meyer is also a screenwriter and television producer, who co-created (with Michael Connelly), wrote and produced the network TV crime drama Level 9. He currently is on the faculty of the Medill School of Journalism, where he is director of education and outreach for the school's groundbreaking National Security Journalism Initiative based in Washington, D.C.
Terry McDermott is the author of Perfect Soldiers (HarperCollins, 2005), and 101 Theory Drive (Pantheon, 2010). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wilson Quarterly, Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Pacific Magazine. McDermott worked at eight newspapers for more than thirty years, most recently for ten years at The Los Angeles Times, where he was a national correspondent.
Top customer reviews
While providing a high level of detail, Meyer and McDermott also make the individuals carrying out this search very real to the reader. There's character development. There are many peeks behind the curtain of bureaucracy.
I will admit that personal bias (full disclosure - Josh Meyer is my cousin) caused me to buy the book; that bias didn't extend to reading something so far out of my normal interests cover to cover. I was engrossed from page one. I couldn't put the book down. Be forewarned - you won't be able to put it down either!
To those readers that are looking for an exciting page turner, The Hunt for KSM is a must read.
Writing Quality: A+. The lasting impression of the book that I have is how well it moves. The topic is a serious one, but this reads like a great adventure novel or a movie script. The authors clearly have a deep knowledge of the topic. This is not unusual in nonfiction, of course, but the difference here is that this experience and knowledge base gave the authors the freedom to show the reader incredibly complex and important topics like Al Qaeda's place in the larger web of militant terrorist organizations, rather than just tell us about it like it was a set of research results.
Relevance: A-. With the government just announcing that it will finally try KSM, this book seems very relevant. The trial should cause us to reengage on topics like: how to fight and investigate terrorist networks, how should the FBI and CIA work - both separately and together, and civil liberties questions like how far can interrogators go to get information from terrorists. This book doesn't pretend to give us any answers. What it does is help the reader get in the minds of the actors that animate each of these topics, which seems like a prerequisite to even pretend to start answering these questions. The only reason I give it an A- in this category is that unfortunately, many of these questions were raised years ago. But KSM's trial should be an opportunity to reengage on such topics.
Overall: A. Ultimately, this is just a great read. You'll finish it in days and will be better informed for it!