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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Bush at War is a gripping book that takes us behind the scenes, showing our leaders confronting some of the greatest issues confronting us in modern times. Watergate icon Bob Woodward uses quotations from 50 National Security Council meetings in the 100 days following 9/11, tracking the process by which policy and program were hammered out. To this record he added takes from White House, Pentagon, and Camp David conversations, in effect giving us a front-row seat to history unfolding.
At the heart of the story is how the Bush team forced out the Taliban, scattered Al Qaeda, and created a worldwide anti-terrorism alliance -- all within 100 days.
Woodward captures the tension of competing agendas: as the president focused on rapid response, other top officials worked on signing up allies, winning time to develop workable military plans, and validating intelligence on Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban.
As the "Let's roll" pressure builds, Woodward captures the principals' anxieties about their risk-heavy plan. They had listened and learned, but garbled communications, lost aircraft, collateral damage, defecting allies, and post-Taliban quagmires still threatened. Yet surprisingly little went wrong as a new-style, post-9/11 rapid response war was fought and won. Peter Skinner