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Master of War: Blackwater USA's Erik Prince and the Business of War Paperback – Bargain Price, December 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
The world first learned ofBlackwater USA in March2004 when several of its menwere ambushed and killed inFallujah, Iraq. Their bodieswere badly beaten, and twowere then hung from a bridge as a sign ofIraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation. Inthe years that followed, Blackwater grew tobecome one of the U.S. government’s mosttrusted partners in Iraq and Afghanistan,despite headline-grabbing controversiessuch as the shooting of Iraqi civilians byBlackwater guards in a Baghdad trafficcircle in 2007.
Based on her extraordinary access toBlackwater founder Erik Prince and dozensof his key executives, author SuzanneSimons offers a riveting, eye-openingportrait of the former Navy SEAL andthe company that became the face ofprivate warfare in the twenty-first century.Prince sat atop an empire that not onlyincluded a massive training complex formilitary and law enforcement but alsocomprised an entire aviation division thatcatered to military needs in the world’smost dangerous locations and a privatespy company run by former top CIA men.Master of War is an intimate look at the riseand fall of an extraordinary company—ledby a contemporary prince, unaccountableto American voters, with the instrumentsof war at his disposal.
Top Customer Reviews
2) I walked away with respect for Erik Prince. He worked hard to create a company and then even harder to make it profitable. Even if you don't like guns or war, you could just strip that away and see how management accomplished some pretty amazing things. Erik was driven and worked hard to surround himself with people who could get things done. I was impressed with his poise and how he continually had to prepare for testimony in front of Congress, while writing new contracts with other agency's.
3) I was frustrated with the agency's of the government. You have to do things their way, expect no support when things go wrong, and then they need you so much they can't fire you. How messed up is that.
4) I was also interested in the lack of overall control in Iraq, a lack of a fundamental message, no real strategy that I could figure out, and constant infighting. No wonder things did not go well.
5) After the Blackwater brand was damaged I understood the company name change. Google now says Prince has a personal net worth of $2.7 Billion. I doubt that is correct, but if it is in the ballpark he has done well.
6) This book is like a piece of cake. It looks good, is easy to digest, but the sugar high doesn't last long.
"M.o.W." is also missing the serious strategic analysis that, while probably more likely to contribute to a less-flattering narrative for Prince and his firm (especially in the context of corrupt government contracting), would've generated some historical value for the book. Another reader notes, "Blackwater started with $200,000 in contracts in 2000, and ended up with over $1 billion income in the next seven years. Simons explains very little of how that occurred." HBS won't pull a case-study out of this text...
Looking back on "M.o.W." post-Snowden, in the age of Greenwald and Poitras when they're at the height of their professional power, success and relevance, this book seems to be the antithesis of real investigative journalism. It reads like something one would expect from a strategic/crisis communications firm.
"A CNN producer and anchor, Suzanne Simons is the first journalist to get deep inside Blackwater—and, as a result of her unprecedented access..." <===== says it all. "M.o.W." = "access-journalism", not investigative journalism. Meh.
Nevertheless, given that you can buy a brand-new hardback version for $1.84 (+ $3.99 shipping), it's ok.
"Master of War" is literally a sub-$2 book.
Erik Prince, its founder, grew up in a well-to-family (family business was sold for $1.35 billion after father died at an early age) with family friends that included Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, and James Dobson. Erik's was admitted to the Naval Academy, but left in his sophomore year because of "overly stringent rules," then enrolled in and graduated from Hillsdale College, became a White House Fellow, and ended up transferring to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's office. Prince became enamored with Navy OCS and becoming a Seal, which he accomplished. However, after about two years, Prince resigned at a time when his wife was battling cancer (eventually died) and his family was dealing with issues following his father's death.
Prince decided to focus on providing training facilities for Navy Seals that would be superior to what he had experienced. Soon was providing assistance training local law enforcement, then began picking up Navy contracts after getting on the approved contractor's list. (Prince was also a major Republican donor, though the book does not link those donations to favors received.) Eventually became a contractor providing security for Paul Bremer in Baghdad - State Dept. supposedly lacked the ability to do so in a combat zone. Prince's wealth also allowed the company to provide helicopters, according to Simons.
Blackwater became famous when four of its contractors were killed and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book described where the American tax dollars went during the past 13 years of war in the Middle EastPublished on June 16, 2014 by Susan Swansrest
I enjoyed reading this well written book with interesting factors that I didn't know. Awesome book for military or contractors who served during this period of the war.Published on June 3, 2014 by jj
As I have been following the world of PSCs and especially Blackwater for years already and writing my master thesis about it, it was a nice insight from the opposite side to read... Read morePublished on February 10, 2014 by L. M. Van Delden
Erik Prince to me is a patriot of the highest degree! We need men like him! Private Warriors could be the future!Published on February 1, 2014 by Butch Jocson
Displayed the conflicts between government and private business enterprise. Coupled with Eric Prince's own book, spells out what has occurred. Read morePublished on November 27, 2013 by Rip & Tear