13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi

4.6 94
by MItchell Zuckoff, Annex Security Team

View All Available Formats & Editions

The harrowing, true account from the brave men on the ground who fought back during the Battle of Benghazi.
13 HOURS presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the…  See more details below


The harrowing, true account from the brave men on the ground who fought back during the Battle of Benghazi.
13 HOURS presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale. This is their personal account, never before told, of what happened during the thirteen hours of that now-infamous attack.

13 HOURS sets the record straight on what happened during a night that has been shrouded in mystery and controversy. Written by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff, this riveting book takes readers into the action-packed story of heroes who laid their lives on the line for one another, for their countrymen, and for their country.

13 HOURS is a stunning, eye-opening, and intense book--but most importantly, it is the truth. The story of what happened to these men--and what they accomplished--is unforgettable.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

The attacks began with a rifle-butt knock on the guard booth glass and a curse command. From there, the September 11th, 2011 assaults on the Special Mission Compound and a nearby C.I.A. annex compound in Benghazi, Libya escalated into the murders of two high State Department officials and two C.I.A. contract workers. For the Annex Security Team who helped write this book, the Islamic militant assault marked the most harrowing thirteen hours of their lives, a seemingly endless period during which they fought and struggled to repel the zealot attackers who badly outnumbered them. In this galvanizing book, they tell their personal stories of that day, restoring a human immediacy to events still fiercely debated in Congress.

From the Publisher
A crisply written, gripping narrative of the events of the battle in Benghazi that adds considerable detail to the public record of what happened there...[an] authoritative account."—The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
11 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.


Meet the Author

Mitchell Zuckoff is the author of six previous nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestsellers Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time, and a professor of journalism at Boston University.

The Annex Security Team consists of the five surviving CIA contract operators who responded to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi 4.6 out of 5 based on 4 ratings. 94 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly researched and well written. Supplies MANY details left out of mainstream accounts of the debacle which resulted in the deaths of four dedicated Americans. How many of us knew that not only was there an attack on the Special Mission complex but no less than 2 1/2 firefights at the CIA Annex after that? At least "The Government" evidently learned something from this. After reading this book, compare and contrast with published reports of the evacuation of the Tripoli Embassy at the end of July, 2014. While I am grateful that the government learned something, I am OUTRAGED and HEARTBROKEN at the cost paid to learn the necessary lessons. This is a citizen MUST READ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read 13 Hours on my Nook and could not put my Nook down. Only the Commander in Chief can give the order to the Military to stand down regardless of who voices the order. Hillary should have been screaming in the president's ear to get her ambassador and his people the help they needed to save their lives. The few operatives that went to the compound and then protected the annex, are the ones who deserved the highest medal for bravery. And then the Us could not even send a US plane to Benghazi to pick up the wounded and dead and the rest of the brave operatives. This book is important for every American to read.
boogaloocious More than 1 year ago
No Politics - just a boots on the ground account of the horrific events of that night. These guys are a dying breed - true American Heroes - willing to do whatever it takes for their job and their friends.
SSkipper More than 1 year ago
Since the embassy is in Tripoli, the United States Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi did not fall under the guidelines of the State Department’s standards for embassy security; therefore, the niceties of bulletproof glass and secure air supply went overlooked in the main residential villa used by Ambassador Chris Stevens during his stay in Libya’s second city. That was the first blunder. The second was keeping the American security contractors at a second compound, known as the Annex and controlled by the CIA, ten minutes distant. Probably the most fatal security breach was employing Libyans as guards. Most sentient persons know of the storming of the diplomatic compound and the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans, on September 11, 2012, but the truthful details of what happened are less clear. While six heavily armed, expertly trained and highly motivated American security men chafed under the temporizing yoke of the mysterious CIA operative, “Bob,” Islamic terrorists had free range to set alight the Ambassador’s villa with himself and communications officer, Sean Smith, trapped inside the “safe haven.” 13 Hours in Benghazi lifts the cloud of political obfuscation from the facts of this American tragedy. Mr. Zuckoff’s collaboration with five of the surviving security contractors is an even handed, if gritty, depiction of that catastrophic night in Benghazi. Failing to do the right things, from the President to the Secretary of State to the embassy staff in Tripoli to the CIA head of station, Benghazi, is a national disgrace. Furthermore, the still ongoing denials and cover-ups by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their spokespersons, is nothing less than calling five American heroes liars and denigrating the memory of the four deceased. This should be required reading for all Americans. The story is told through the various viewpoints of the participants. It is concise and well paced. Sadly, the prose is, shall I say pedestrian—no, I should say atrocious. One has the sense that a race to market took precedence over good writing.
spatt856 More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was exceptionally well written. It simply lays out the facts of what happened that night with no political agenda. These men are true heroes and I'm happy to have had a chance to read their story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW!!!!  A must read for those wanting answers to the many questions concerning  the events of the attack in Benghazi. You won't regret reading it. These men are HEROS! 
Jerri18 More than 1 year ago
Very well written and fast paced account of what happened in Benghazi. Highly recommend book. As a woman I know I'm not the average reader of this type of book. Having said that I really wanted an unbiased account of the Benghazi security breech. This is definatly a very good account and recommend it.
GRACIE9492 More than 1 year ago
WOW! I could not put this down! And finally the truth comes out from those who were there. And 'BOB' needs to be in front of a select committee answering for this!
nhays More than 1 year ago
With all the arguments and politicization of Ambassador Stephens' death in Benghazi, it was a relief to read the experience of the security contractors on the ground. Although they couldn't know all the background discussions going on, you end up sharing their frustration with the State Department's reliance on local militia forces rather than adequate U.S. security at the embassy compound. Worse, you feel their rage and frustration as the CIA top agent on site put them on hold when the attacks began. Whatever the reason for his reluctance to commit his forces to a rescue, these warriors believed they could have prevented the subsequent deaths of the ambassador and communications expert, suffocated in the blazing main building. As it was, they finally ignored their leader's orders to stand pat and raced to the battle site. Zuckoff does a good job of sharing the various situations, factions, locations, and personalities in Benghazi and helps readers safe in America understand the fear, courage, and despair of the Americans facing a coordinated attack with limited resources. Kudos to the men who fought to protect other Americans and for now telling their part of the story. I shared their grief for the American dead (including two of their fellow warriors) by the end, which I think is the most important message to take from this story of truth about what happened in Benghazi from those actually there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, easy to read. I read over half of the book it in one day-I couldn't put it down. Gave me chills & sadness in some parts, mad in others. Felt like I was there. I loved the way it was outlined and the way the key people were introduced step by step and that you got a background on each person as they were introduced. You felt you knew who they were and what each person's role was and not just a lot of people thrown together at once. Doesn't go into the politics side of it (only where conference on radio takes place for help, etc), but felt it answered a lot of my questions. Still have a lot more to answer on the political side but I think these fine men answered A LOT of those, too!
GrammieSE More than 1 year ago
I hope this is a lesson to everyone that it is politics, not responsibility that governed the reaction of the State Dept to rescue its people in Benghazi. Shame on them!!! I could not put the book down, it was so compelling.
train_lady More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book using a narrative style to tell the story of the Benghazi attack from the perspective of the brave operatives who fought to save and defend the people in the State Department's Special Mission Compound and near-by CIA Annex. The author has you right there in the action, and you can feel the emotions and thoughts of the men as the fight unfolds. Knowing the facts from the people who were there, one comes away with the understanding that much could have been done prior to the attack to have given the American ambassador and his staff a better chance of survival. The book is enhanced with many photos and diagrams to help the reader understand the situation faced that day.
cayks More than 1 year ago
Well written and informative book. I commend the author for telling the story as told to him, leaving out all political agendas, just stating facts as remembered by the operatives that lived through this tragedy. Thank you for your unbiased writing of this event. It was one of the best books I've ever read. I hope those in the government have read your book and learn from it. A must read for those that want the facts of what happened in Benghazi.
Malty More than 1 year ago
finally, the trruth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is written from the perspective of the CIA contractors hired to protect their facility in Benghazi. It does not try to say what the President and his staff and cabinet did prior to, during and after the attack that killed the US Ambassador and 3 other americans. It does however show that the facility where the ambassador was staying was woefully unprepared for an attack. The attack had none of the supposed 'mob driven by a video' features. It was a professional attack on both the ambassador's residence and the agency annex. The CIA contractors were told to stand-down from attempting a rescue of the ambassador and his staff. However, it is still unknowable whether that half hour delay could have saved the two who died in that portion of the attack. Anyone interested in what happened at Benghazi should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was my second read of Mitchell Zuckoff's work, overall I felt the book was detailed and comprehensive in its communication. I also felt at times the flow of the story was interrupted by switching to a mini story, this made following the overall story a little jagged. These segments were necessary but when the writing got back to the main story I had to refocus on where The big picture story left off. This book for me was the same as the first book I read of his (Lost in Shangri-La) very hard to put down once you get into to the plot. I enjoyed the book and learned a lot, to which I now have a learned understanding of what happened there.
typhoon More than 1 year ago
At last the truth from the men that were there, not the manure the State Department is selling.
Tracker64 More than 1 year ago
Great detailed account of what went down in Benghazi. The CIA should be ashamed of their leaders.
Streamcaddis More than 1 year ago
This is one fantastic read!. If you want the truth on Benghazi this book is a MUST HAVE.
og1 More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. Confirms every theory about our governments non envolvement in Benghazi.
DMGLA More than 1 year ago
Makes you feel like you're there.  I got a much better idea of the events and how they evolved and how these heroes fought and died while the administration tried to come up with a cover story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a page turner for sure. I especially liked the facts told as the participants experienced them. Anyone who has an interest in current events or historical non-fiction will definitely enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a painstakingly detailed account of the events at the embassy after the first attack. The frustration of the group at the embassy is clearly conveyed when it became apparent that no one was really in charge in the higher ranks. The impression that the group had been written off, or at best, left to the confused decision process of the superiors, generated genuine anger in Benghazi. If there is a flaw in the book it lies in the author's frustrating attention to detail, no matter how minute. But if that's the way it was, that's the way it was! And the reader is swept up in the same frustration that the men on site must have experienced.
meeve01 More than 1 year ago
Everyone should have to read this. Sad that politics enter into getting the truth out! Over all, an excellent read and very informative!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NOT RACIAL! This is an honest account of the experience these brave men went through without any support from the governtment who knew ahead of time and did nothing for their safety. Kudos to thrm for writing the truth. I guess true Americans are tired of allthe lies. I am ,