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Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad Paperback – April 30, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 254 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Overseas Press Club Cornelius Ryan Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2012 on International Affairs

Chosen by the Washington Post As One of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2012

"Virtually crackles with insider details...Bergen’s Pakistani sources gave him new insight into bin Laden’s home life...The details of the SEAL raid itself...[make] for compelling reading. Bergen puts the raid into a broader intelligence framework and deftly re-creates the heart-thumping tension of that night and the calculations that went into pulling off the daring mission...Bergen’s three other books have become required reading for national security buffs and counterterrorism reporters. But Manhunt is different. It goes to a higher level...Bergen has accomplished a journalistic feat: He manages to make the story of bin Laden’s end sound new. He has put together a real-life thriller that will be a must-read for years to come."
—Dina Temple-Raston, Washington Post

"A gripping read...Bergen has an eye for memorable close-ups. His narrative has authority...Packed with satisfying observations...Highly readable."
—The Economist
“Some of the more illuminating sections of Manhunt concern the efforts of intelligence analysts to piece together a 'working theory' about Bin Laden’s whereabouts...Also fascinating are the descriptions of internal debates within the Obama administration.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

 “The best reporting we have on the subject.”
—Michelle Dean, The Nation

"Bergen...draw[s] on his excellent government sources, his deep knowledge of al Qaeda, and his reporter’s instincts (which got him into the Abbottabad compound just after the raid). His book is full of fascinating details and illustrates the immense pressure on national security bureaucracies to provide options to policymakers and then reduce the risks associated with their implementation."
—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"Gripping...Dramatic...A masterful account of bin Laden’s life and activities, how al Qaeda operated in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the American government’s success in tracking down the world’s most notorious terrorist leader."
—Joshua Sinai, Washington Times

"Terrific...A fast-paced narrative that takes you into the search for the most-wanted man in human history."
—Bruce Riedel, The Daily Beast

“The story is riveting because it is as if Bergen were embedded everywhere--the situation room of the White House, three miles high in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora and alongside the Navy SEALS who would put a quick and dramatic end to bin Laden’s life.”
—San Antonio Express

“I devoured it. It’s an important book, which I urge you to read as soon as you can…Bergen’s moment-by-moment account of the raid makes for gripping, even breathless, reading.”
—Clay Jenkinson, Bismarck Tribune

“This superbly researched account of the United States' decade-long effort to track and kill bin Laden provides the intimate details on virtually every critical decision along the way…The book actually transcends its subject matter, demonstrating the best practices of critical thinking by the people who do it best…Present[s] the evidence on both sides of even the most controversial issues, without agenda or bias…Compelling and authoritative.”
—Huffington Post

"Dispassionate and authoritative...What the author brings to this epic story is context and perspective...Bergen has the credibility to tell this story."
—Frank Davies, Miami Herald

“Uncanny access and research…a fascinating account...The story is riveting because it is as if Bergen were embedded everywhere…Gives some interesting insight into the complex personality of bin Laden.”
—Mark Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News

“Bergen offers rather intriguing profiles of the four wives...Bergen’s telling of the actual operation--flashing from Special Ops movements to administration anticipation, including the White House Correspondents Dinner, where Seth Meyers famously made a crack about Bin Laden having a show on C-SPAN--is riveting.”
—Swati Pandey, Los Angeles Review of Books

"In Manhunt, Peter Bergen has produced a page-turner rich with new information and insight into the search for Bin Laden and his killing. Only Bergen, America's foremost counterterrorism writer, could have produced a book of such energy and authority--a triumph."
—STEVE COLL, author of Ghost Wars

"Ten years of grit, intelligent hard work, and daring led to Operation Neptune Spear, and Bergen captures it all in a story that is both a riveting page turner and a definitive history. Revealing details of bin Laden's last years in self-imposed prison, the debates of the CIA analysts who tracked him, and the training of the SEALs who killed him, Manhunt is essential reading for anyone who wants to know the real story of how the world's most wanted terrorist was finally brought to justice."
—ERIC GREITENS, author of The Heart and The Fist  
"With masterly reporting, Peter Bergen takes us where we've never been: behind the high walls of Osama bin Laden's last hideout and behind the scenes of the heroic and painstaking hunt for the Al Qaeda mastermind. Manhunt is a thrilling read."

About the Author

PETER L. BERGEN is the author of four books about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, three of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is CNN's national security analyst and a director of the New America Foundation.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307955885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307955883
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen

"Manhunt" is the riveting and insightful ten-year pursuit of America's most wanted man. Best-selling author and acclaimed security analyst Peter L. Bergen provides the most thorough and discerning account of what actually went down and the people behind the manhunt of Bin Laden. This well-researched book reads like a good spy novel and offers keen insight that only a person as well-connected and methodical as Bergen can provide. A page-turner of a book that unfortunately was rushed to meet the one year anniversary and in doing so left out some important intelligence that is becoming available now to the media. Be that as it may, this book was a treat to read and the author closes out the book with a great synopsis of the state of Al-Qaeda and the Middle East in general. This mesmerizing 384-page book is composed of the following fourteen chapters: 1. 9/11 and After, 2.Tora Bora, 3. Al-Qaeda in the Wilderness, 4. The Resurgence of Al-Qaeda, 5. A Working Theory of the Case, 6. Closing In on the Courier, 7. Obama at War, 8. Anatomy of a Lead, 9. The Last Years of Osama bin Laden, 10. The Secret Warriors, 11. Courses of Action, 12. The Decision, 13. Don't Turn On the Light, and 14. Aftermath.

1. Peter Bergen is a fantastic author who has an excellent track record.
2. A fascinating topic in the talented hands of a master. Bergen is well-connected and it shows. This is as well-researched a book as you will find.
3. Excellent writer, his prose is engaging and some parts reads like a James Bond film. A page turner indeed.
4. Great insight on how intelligence is collected and the characters involved.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Five INVESTIGATIVE Stars! In "Manhunt: The Ten Year Search For Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad", author and national security expert Peter Bergen promises the full story on the tracking down and killing of the Al-Qaeda terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, and the book is full of detail on the manhunt, the raid, and the aftermath. He actually met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in March 1997 conducting an interview for CNN with two fellow journalists. While bin Laden came off as a mild-mannered person during the interview, his rhetoric spewed "a raw hatred of the United States" and he effectively declared war on the USA. Four years later on 9/11, bin Laden sent Al-Qaeda personnel into the USA to launch his attack on the American people at famous landmarks, killing over 3000 people who also represented citizens of over 90 countries. Author Bergen was the first outside observer to have access to bin Laden's now-destroyed Abbottabad compound in Pakistan and even standing in the bedroom where bin Laden met his demise. Based on high ranking sources, some of whom are named, he was able to trace the CIA's tracking of bin Laden's movements, his familial relationships, and to recreate how the CIA sifted through the haystack of possibilities: finding the key courier that led the US to the compound, and the circumstances of the raid. Indeed, the pursuits of fugitives such as Adolph Eichmann and Mir Aimal Kansi provided the CIA some methodology in the bin Laden chase.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Renowned as one of America's leading experts on al Qadea and Osama bin Laden, Peter Bergen reflects on the ten year man hunt which finally led to the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideaway in the sleepy city of Abbotabad. With access to screeds of material and even the compound in which bin Laden stayed before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen serves up a frightfully informed narrative of successive US governments' responses and attempts to capture America's most wanted terrorist. From the failed missile strike by Clinton, to the hamstrung bungle at Tora Bora, bin Laden slipped the net of US clutches and defied the West launching raids against Britain in 2005 while still on the run.

Bergen pieces the puzzle together and reveals not only the efforts by the US government to track bin Laden down over the ten years since 9/11, but also the idealogy of al Qaeda, which according to Bergen, struggled to maintain its image, thanks to vicious campaigns of violence by off-shoot groups like al Qaeda in Iraq. Hemmed in by predator and reaper drones high in the skies above Afghanistan and controversially Pakistan, bin Laden opted to hide in plain site under a self-inflicted house arrest in the hope of avoiding US detection. The vice slowly squeezing during this time, analyts poured over data and Obama threw the dice and opted on a Navy SEAL raid and a chance to put to bed bin Laden forever.

The raid itself will go down as one of military history's most daring and impressive efforts, especially since it almost came unstuck with a downed stealth chopper. The fact it stuck under such heat is testament to the professionalism of the SEAL's, their preparation and training, not to mention the years of effort to bring the intelligence in the first place for them to act on.
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