CNN executive producer Simons balances private and public accounts of Erik Prince, founder and owner of the country's most notorious private military contractor. In this often glowing, mildly critical portrait, Prince is depicted as a fierce individualist, visionary entrepreneur and patriot, an upstanding guy's guy, albeit born into enormous privilege, right-wing values and Beltway ties. A determined overachiever, Prince trained as a navy SEAL until his father's death led him to an enterprising idea to provide the training facilities SEALs needed. Certain contradictions ensue: Prince is known to be deeply religious, so his affair while his first wife is dying of cancer surprised many friends. Likewise, Prince's free market faith denigrates government involvement in business, but his Blackwater project only survived by means of hefty government contracts. Simons's premise-that all questions arising from Blackwater's relevance go back to "one man"-justifies emphasis on the personal, but the book is most instructive when straying to include Dick Cheney's impact on Pentagon outsourcing or General Sanchez's frustration over boundary confusion in Iraq between U.S. soldiers and the State Department's veritable "private army." (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Master of War: Blackwater USA's Erik Prince and the Business of Warby Suzanne Simons
The world first learned ofBlackwater USA in March2004 when several of its menwere ambushed and killed inFallujah, Iraq. Their bodieswere badly beaten, and twowere then hung from a bridge as a sign ofIraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation. Inthe years that followed, Blackwater grew tobecome one of the U.S. government’s mosttrusted partners in Iraq and
The world first learned ofBlackwater USA in March2004 when several of its menwere ambushed and killed inFallujah, Iraq. Their bodieswere badly beaten, and twowere then hung from a bridge as a sign ofIraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation. Inthe years that followed, Blackwater grew tobecome one of the U.S. government’s mosttrusted partners in Iraq and Afghanistan,despite headline-grabbing controversiessuch as the shooting of Iraqi civilians byBlackwater guards in a Baghdad trafficcircle in 2007.
Based on her extraordinary access toBlackwater founder Erik Prince and dozensof his key executives, author SuzanneSimons offers a riveting, eye-openingportrait of the former Navy SEAL andthe company that became the face ofprivate warfare in the twenty-first century.Prince sat atop an empire that not onlyincluded a massive training complex formilitary and law enforcement but alsocomprised an entire aviation division thatcatered to military needs in the world’smost dangerous locations and a privatespy company run by former top CIA men.Master of War is an intimate look at the riseand fall of an extraordinary company—ledby a contemporary prince, unaccountableto American voters, with the instrumentsof war at his disposal.
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