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Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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"Mr. Laux brings a raw perspective to the canon. His memoir is not filled with recollections of White House meetings or lengthy defenses of waterboarding. Mr. Laux was thousands of miles from Washington, a grunt in a secret war." - New York Times
"The first glimpse of a younger generation of CIA spies whose careers have been defined by the War on Terror. . . . Laux's narrative offers new insights, bludgeoned as they were by agency censors, into how the CIA goes about the business of war zone espionage." - NBC News
"Every bit as riveting and even more spellbinding than the best the thriller genre has to offer. . . . In addition to providing a superb glimpse at the minutia involved in [being a CIA case officer], Left of Boom also does a splendid job of revealing the psychological and emotional costs in undertaking such a dangerous undercover mission." ―Providence Journal
"This is an unvarnished, critical look at the inner workings of the CIA...Smith is able to present unique descriptions of the psychological stresses endured by the CIA case officers who are forced to lie to even their closest family and friends about what they do, where they are, and whom they work for. It’s a fascinating and engaging look inside the fast-paced and dangerous daily workings of today’s CIA." - Publishers Weekly
"Left of Boom is a riveting personal story of how a young CIA operative, attached to the National Clandestine Service (NCS) and fresh out of college, managed to actually penetrate into the Talban and Al-Qaeda.... This story is absolutely fascinating and provides readers with a very rare look at just how CIA operatives live and work at the tip of the spear." - Don Mann, SEAL Team SIX (ret), co-author of Inside SEAL Team SIX
"Left of Boom is a rollicking read that really gets us inside the life and mind of a CIA operations officer." - Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad
About the Author
DOUGLAS LAUX is a former CIA operations officer who served multiple tours throughout the Middle East. He was in Afghanistan for the 2010 Afghan Surge, and in Kandahar during Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the death of Usama bin Ladin. His final assignment was with the top secret task force involved with instigating the Syrian civil war. He lives in Washington, DC.
RALPH PEZZULLO is the bestselling author of Jawbreaker, Inside SEAL Team Six and others.
Top customer reviews
Doug Laux tells his tale of his eight year career undercover with the Central Intelligence Agency in a raw, unvarnished way.
You won't feel great about our government when you finish this book, but you will be amazed by the resilience and commitment of the young men and women who risk their lives everyday with the realization that any credit for their efforts will never see the light of day.
Beyond that, the book gives a fascinating and objective view into Afghanistan. The culture and ways of the Pashtuns, what its like to talk to Taliban fighters, what Taliban field commanders do, and WHY Afghanistan is such a frustrating war to fight. The issues for Afghanistan are glaring and too many in number to be obvious, and the solutions in even fewer numbers, if existent.
However theres a catch. A lot of juicy content and details (after review by the CIA) have been censored for Operational Security. The censoring is not always justified. For example the CIA redacts what a CIA Ground Branch (you'll learn about in the book) Contractor typically carries. Even though I literally hopped onto google to search up the equipment loadout of a GB Contractor and got a highly detailed look into it.
Sometimes half a page is redacted, sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a word, and sometimes nothing.
It isn't so pervasive that the book is impossible to read. However, if you can't stomach not knowing, then this isn't for you.
I heard of it because the author did an AMA on reddit: [...] and I thought his responses and writing there was funny, so I thought I'd give his book a shot. I'm so glad I did. The book is full of entertaining anecdotes, and events that I couldn't believe actually happened.
He brings you through the trials and tribulations he experiences in the field, but also in how it impacts his life back home (hint: it's not always pretty). You get to experience the joys that he experiences when he succeeds in the field, and the frustrations that he experiences when bureaucracy totally messes up all his aspirations and work.
This is a wonderful read; I'm glad I tried it out and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. In fact, it has inspired me to read other books like it now (non-fiction stories), as well as to learn more about the Middle East
This book makes one reconsider flying off the handle with blame every time some crisis starts somewhere in the world. It shows you how things are often much more complicated than it seems, and that the military, politicians, and intelligence officers are dealing with intel that's often convoluted and difficult to decipher. It will give you a newfound respect for the CIA and for the men and women serving in all walks of the intelligence community.