Monday, April 30, 2012

Books That Sound Interesting, But That
We’ll Probably Never Get Around to Actually Reading: Manhunt

This coming Wednesday, May 2, will mark one full year since Osama bin Laden, notorious head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in a mysterious Pakistan compound during a bold military operation ordered by President Barack Obama.

Now comes Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad, in which author Peter L. Bergen promises to reveal many things about the late terrorist mastermind that we didn’t know. From the publisher’s synopsis:
Here are riveting new details of bin Laden’s flight after the crushing defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, where American forces came startlingly close to capturing him, and of the fugitive leader’s attempts to find a secure hiding place. As the only journalist to gain access to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen paints a vivid picture of bin Laden’s grim, Spartan life in hiding and his struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically picked off his key lieutenants.

Half a world away, CIA analysts haunted by the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 and the WMD fiasco pored over the tiniest of clues before homing in on the man they called “the Kuwaiti”--who led them to a peculiar building with twelve-foot-high walls and security cameras less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy. This was the courier who would unwittingly steer them to bin Laden, now a prisoner of his own making but still plotting to devastate the United States.

Bergen takes us inside the Situation Room, where President Obama considers the COAs (courses of action) presented by his war council and receives conflicting advice from his top advisors before deciding to risk the raid that would change history--and then inside the Joint Special Operations Command, whose “secret warriors,” the SEALs, would execute Operation Neptune Spear. From the moment two Black Hawks take off from Afghanistan until bin Laden utters his last words, Manhunt reads like a thriller.
But the headline above a report about this book on the Web site Scrape TV reveals that Bergen has gone far beyond the usual scope of reporting here, to reveal a few facts and foibles that we could’ve gone our entire lives without ever knowing:
Certainly the best revelation of all, though: “Bin Laden also reportedly used Just for Men hair dye to keep his greying beard black, presumably to make the ladies happy.”

READ MORE:Timeline: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden,” by Judd Legum (Think Progress).



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