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Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History by George Crile

Jacket: Hardcover
Pages: 560 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; (April 2003)
Genre: Military
ISBN: 0871138549

Comments about the author: Before joining CBS in 1976, Crile was Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine. In addition to Harper’s, his articles were published in The Washington Monthly, New Times, The Washington Post Outlook Section and the New York Times. After the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown and Trinity College in Hartford, Crile worked as a reporter for Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson and served as Pentagon correspondent for the Ridder Newspapers in the 1970s

“Charlie Wilson’s War” has been widely and favorably reviewed and is currently in its 10th printing. Tom Hanks and his production company have optioned the book and Hanks himself plans to play Charlie Wilson in the movie.


Review: In Charlie Wilson's War, George Crile, a veteran producer for 60 Minutes, has provided us with a scintillating history of the U.S.-led covert operation to fund (to the tune of over $3.5 billion) and arm the Afghan mujahadeen in their 10-year struggle against the Soviet Union. Given September 11th and the recent war in Afghanistan, essay writer service offers the most comprehensive look yet into how the U.S. originally became involved in Afghanistan, primarily through the efforts of two unlikely partners, and how the seeds of September 11th and the modern-day War on Terror may have been sown years ago.

The two protagonists of Charlie Wilson's War are Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, and CIA officer Gust Avrakotos. In an era fraught with 'political correctness,' Wilson is a Washington anathema - a hard-charging, hard-partying, multi-term Congressman who cuts a larger-than-life figure in his high-heeled Cowboy boots and Stetson hat; a man who became THE Washington force behind America's funding and arming of the Afghan mujahadeen, playing a role more powerful than even that of the U.S. President. In vivid detail, Crile introduces us to two Charlie Wilson's: one, a close confidant of Middle East leaders, Afghan warlords, and Washington power players who embarks on a virtual one-man crusade to enable the Afghan mujahadeen to win the war against the Russians; the other, a womanizing alcoholic with a devil-may-care attitude who seems bent on destroying himself and undermining his increasingly personal commitment to winning a proxy war against the Russians on the steppes of Central Asia.

Even less 'politically correct,' Avrakotos is the CIA officer who implements Wilson's vision, crafting a plan that will enable the Afghan mujahadeen to win their war against the Russians, rather than merely contain the Red Army and the spread of Communism. Avrakotos is an unlikely but willing partner of Wilson - a Greek-American CIA officer with a sense of patriotic duty, as well as an uncanny ability to get things done in the more unsavory parts of the world. Together, Wilson and Avrakotos give life to an incredible story about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and how it laid the groundwork for modern-day terrorism and continued conflict in the Middle East and Central Asia.

On the book jacket, Dan Rather is quoted as saying, "Tom Clancy's fiction pales in comparison with the amazing, mesmerizing story told by George Crile. By resurrecting a missing chapter out of our recent past, Charlie Wilson's War provides us with the key to understanding the present." He is 100% correct; if there is one book to read about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and its relevance to the emergence of the Taliban, September 11th, and the war in Afghanistan, this is it. We can only hope that a major Hollywood studio is developing a film based on this book.

— Reviewed by: Craig A. Stoehr
castoehr@hotmail.com

 
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