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I do not have much to add to what has already been written about this book, suffice to say that it is an outstanding education on the events involving the CIA taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan prior to September 11, 2001. An essential read.
In History, the Arts, Sport, etc I am one of those Europeans who regard the U.S. as insular; probably more insular than the old Soviet bloc. As an example, while living in America I bought a collection of "International" Short Stories once, only to find that 60% of the authors were U.S., and a further 35% were from English-speaking nationalities (I am not one for positive discrimination, but in this case I know it not to be necessary). The anthology was good, but the title was inaccurate. Their sports generally refer to their ultimate conclusions as "World" Championships. I could go on ... I am not criticising America - I actually like the place (for example I think they are actually much more self-critical than we give them credit for). I just wish they would read, write, judge, criticise or support as part of the "International" community when they say they are, and not when they are not. In "Ghost Wars" we have at last found an American (I hope) author who writes for the sake of truth-seeking, ambivalent elucidation, as well as creating an eminiently readable factual account. It is not him or his opinion that matters. The "facts" (well, these days who do you believe) are laid out for you without the attention-grabbing techniques of Michael Moore, President Bush, CNN, SKY News, all the newspaper press; the tone is a balanced journalistic style (or how I think it should be defined). It is such a relief in all senses.
The author grasps the attention of the scholar with his narrative and analyses backed by key sources. The strength of this book is the presentation of the evolving US policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1988 onwards. I gather that the declassification of files in the years to come would not challenge the sources and conclusions of the author.