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The Politics of Truth: A Diplomat's Memoir: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity Paperback – May 11, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

While many former Bush administration officials published books airing their gripes and concerns in advance of the 2004 election, few were in a situation as personal as Joseph Wilson's. A career diplomat, he found himself working for an administration that apparently leaked information revealing his wife, Valerie Plame, to be a CIA operative soon after Wilson cast doubt on Bush's claims of Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger. When columnist Robert Novak named Plame, there was widespread speculation about who leaked the information. In The Politics of Truth, Wilson points a finger at Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby and national security aide Eliot Abrams although Wilson never really presents smoking gun evidence against them. There is little here that breaks new ground in terms of hard facts being revealed, nonetheless, Wilson's account, personal and well written, maps out the human impact of the situation in ways that major newspapers never could. Wilson's animus toward the administration is made stronger by his support of the president in the 2000 election and he held out hope that a centrist conservative approach would help America's position in the world. That scenario withered, in Wilson's mind, when the plan to invade Iraq became increasingly inevitable and, like many traditional conservatives, Wilson mourns the rise of the ideological "neo-conservatives" who shaped foreign policy. But while a true-life secret identity/betrayal story is inherently fascinating, and Wilson's indignation and scorn is powerfully delivered, there is more to recommend his book. Wilson tells of being stationed in the Persian Gulf in the days leading up to the first Gulf War, a haunting encounter with Saddam Hussein, and years of efforts to establish democracy in Africa. The Politics of Truth provides a glimpse inside the high stakes world of international intelligence and, Joseph Wilson says, that world can be vicious. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Nobody who's paid close attention to the unfolding story of the leaking to columnist Robert Novak of the name of Ambassador Wilson's wife as a CIA operative will be surprised by the two White House staffers—Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Elliott Abrams—Wilson proposes as the most likely suspects in what he calls the "organized smear campaign" against him. He views the leak as retaliation for his presenting evidence that, contrary to President Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion, Iraq was not trying to buy uranium from Niger. Wilson hits back hard with a righteous anger against those who would jeopardize national security to score political points. By the account of this longtime Foreign Service officer who was in Baghdad in the months leading up to the first Gulf War, Wilson stood up to Saddam Hussein in a showdown that now makes for one of the memoir's most stirring sections. In fact, readers will discover this book to be a vivid, engrossing account of a foreign service career that spans nearly three decades. Wilson is a lively storyteller with an eye for compelling visual detail and brings a welcome insider's perspective on the political situations of African nations where he has served. He's equally honest about the toll his professional commitment has occasionally taken on his personal life. And it's that candor, as well as the respect shown for previous administrations of both parties, that helps make his charges against the current president's advisers difficult to brush off. His revelations should fly off the shelves. 3 maps, 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786715510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786715510
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While I have tried to remain neutral during this war of words between the left and right, Joseph Wilson's insightful book invoked a rage aginst everything that this current administration stands for and against. This book demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the right wing of the republican party will resort to any length to destroy the career of anyone who stands in their way no matter how fruitful and loyal one's tenure while working as a government servant has been.
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Format: Hardcover
President George H. W. Bush, our current President's father, called Joe Wilson "A True American Hero" for his actions saving American lives at the beginning of the first Gulf War. Mr. Wilson's heroism continues with this engaging and enlightening book that tells "Truth to Power" and stands up against the current Administration's, and the Republican Party's, attack machine. A career political centrist, Mr. Wilson only to be spoke out against this Administration after their deception in the reasons they took us to war and after they attacked his family. In his words, "Anything less would be Un-American." Bravo, Mr. Wilson.
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By A Customer on May 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It was Joseph Wilson's July, 2003 New York Times op-ed piece that stated the great unraveling. Former ambassador Wilson revealed that despite George W. Bush's contrary claim in his state of the union address, Iraq never took steps to import yellow cake uranium and revitalize a program of manufacturing nuclear weapons. Wilson, in short, caught the Bush administration in an outright lie (one of many). The administration then retaliated, attempting to slime Wilson, and breaking federal law by revealing that his wife was a CIA operative.
When the history of this perilous period in our national life is finally written, Joe Wilson and his book The Politics of Truth may receive credit for shedding a bright light on dark and disturbing behavior by George W. Bush and his handlers. It is worth recalling that George H. W. Bush had praised Wilson as an American hero for his work as acting ambassador to Iraq before the Gulf War. Yesterday's hero, however, becomes today's villain, under the end-justifies-the-means policies of the second Bush White House.
Three cheers!
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Format: Hardcover
Ambassador Joseph Wilson's book is an absorbing, engaging read, covering a wide range of topics: from his wild youth, to his stints in various diplomatic posts for both Democratic and Republican presidents, and his current dealings with the nefarious G.W. Bush Administration and their leaking of his wife as an undercover CIA operative.
If you're curious about the behind-the-scenes games--both abroad and domestic--that get played every day, I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of Bush books recently, and I seem to be devouring them at an ever increasing clip. As an independent fundamentally uncomfortable with highly partisan politics, I have found Paul O'Neill's book (The Price of Loyalty, actually written by Ron Suskind about O'Neill) to be one of the best. Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" is also chilling and insightful. Both these books were written by conservative, Republican mavericks with close insight into this administration, and the stories they tell are frightening: a White House run by ideologues surrounding a President whose experience and intellect could not possibly support the level of conviction he brings to the weighty issues confronting our great nation.
Wilson's book belongs on any shelf with Suskind's and Clarke's. One obvious parallel: Bush '41 - a moderate and intelligent man - felt great fondness for O'Neill, Clarke, and Wilson. Bush '43 disdains and disrespects them. Wilson gives us an account from the outside: how does the Administration glimpsed by insiders like Clarke and O'Neill affect "outsiders" like Wilson? Or Valerie Plame? Or you? Wilson's account is fired by anger and disappointment, not partisan rage. He comes across as a dedicated civil servant, non-partisan, astute. It should be read by all who care deeply for our country, and are wondering what the hell is happening to it.
One final note: The few reviewers who rate this book with one star have clearly a) not read it, or b) ... well, there is no other option, except perhaps that they work for Karl Rove.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who cares about the future of our country ought to read this book. It should be required reading for all new diplomats and others contemplating a career in government service.
It is not news to those who have been paying attention that the Bush administration values loyalty far more than integrity or ability. That is why a convicted Iran Contra felon runs Middle East policy (which is such a great success) and Paul O'Neil was the first to leave the cabinet.
Wilson's book is so valuable because it so clearly demonstrates that administration strategy consists not just of defensive measures like hiding behind a veil of secrecy and surrounding itself with loyalists. It shows they are such extremists that there is an offensive strategy that is unprecedented in its viciousness. Anyone who dares speak the truth does so at his or her own peril as the White House is not above violating the law and harming national security in order to retaliate against those who do not parrot the party line.
The book is also extremely useful because it describes what many a diplomatic career is really like. It is not all cookie pushing by stripped pants diplomats in European capitals. It is hard, often unglamorous and dangerous work in the remote corners of the third world. There are those, like Joe Wilson, who are proud to serve their country in this manner and willingly accepted the risks and hardships in order to do so.
Some may be discouraged by the reaction of the White House to Wilson's revelation that the story of Iraq buying uranium from Niger was a lie.
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