Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible
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Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

by Douglas Farah, Stephen Braun
     
 

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Praise for Merchant of Death

"A riveting investigation of the world's most notorious arms dealer—a page-turner that digs deep into the amazing, murky story of Viktor Bout. Farah and Braun have exposed the inner workings of one of the world's most secretive businesses—the international arms trade."
—Peter L. Bergen,

Overview

Praise for Merchant of Death

"A riveting investigation of the world's most notorious arms dealer—a page-turner that digs deep into the amazing, murky story of Viktor Bout. Farah and Braun have exposed the inner workings of one of the world's most secretive businesses—the international arms trade."
—Peter L. Bergen, author of The Osama bin Laden I Know

"Viktor Bout is like Osama bin Laden: a major target of U.S. intelligence officials who time and again gets away. Farah and Braun have skillfully documented how this notorious arms dealer has stoked violence around the world and thwarted international sanctions. Even more appalling, they show how Bout ended up getting millions of dollars in U.S. government money to assist the war in Iraq. A truly impressive piece of investigative reporting."
—Michael Isikoff, coauthor of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

"Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun are two of the toughest investigative reporters in the country. This is an important book about a hidden world of gunrunning and profiteering in some of the world's poorest countries."
—Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

"In Merchant of Death, two of America's finest reporters have performed a major public service, turning over the right rocks that reveal the brutal international arms business at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In Viktor Bout, they have given us a new Lord of War, a man who knows no side but his own, and who has a knack for turning up in every war zone just in time to turn a profit. As Farah and Braun uncover and document his troubling role in the Bush Administration's Global War on Terror, his ties to Washington almost seem inevitable."
—James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

"An extraordinary and timely piece of investigative reporting, Merchant of Death is also a vividly compelling read. The true story of Viktor Bout, a sociopathic Russian gunrunner who has supplied weapons for use in some of the most gruesome conflicts of modern times—and who can count amongst his clients both the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the U.S. military in Iraq—is a stomach-churning indictment of the policy failures and moral contradictions of the world's most powerful governments, including that of the United States."
—Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad

Two respected journalists tell the incredible story of Viktor Bout, the Russian weapons supplier whose global network has changed the way modern warfare is fought. Bout’s vast enterprise of guns, planes, and money has fueled internecine slaughter in Africa and aided both militant Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan and the American military in Iraq. This book combines spy thrills with crucial insights on the shortcomings of a U.S. foreign policy that fails to confront the lucrative and lethal arms trade that erodes global security.

Editorial Reviews

Fawaz A. Gerges
…a riveting investigation of the world's most notorious weapons dealer, Viktor Bout, whose post-Cold War arms network has stoked violence worldwide. Although U.S. intelligence officers have tried for years to shut down Bout's operation, Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun reveal that the United States paid firms linked to him as much as $60 million to ferry weapons to the U.S. military and private contractors in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

While there's no shortage of books on international terrorism, drug cartels and genocide, the international weapons trade has received less attention. Journalists Farah and Braun center their absorbing exposé of this source of global misery on its most successful practitioner, the Russian dealer Victor Bout. Throughout the Cold War, they show, the Kremlin supplied arms to oppressive regimes and insurgent groups, keeping close tabs on customers; after the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the floodgates opened in the 1990s. With weapons factories starved for customers, Soviet-era air transports lying idle and rusting, and dictators, warlords and insurgents throughout the world clamoring for arms, entrepreneurs and organized criminals saw fortunes to be made. The authors paint a depressing picture of an avalanche of war-making material pouring into poor, violence-wracked nations despite well-publicized U.N. embargoes. America denounces this trade, but turns a blind eye if recipients proclaim they are fighting terrorism, they say. Ruthless people who shun publicity make poor biographical subjects, and Bout is no exception. The authors' energetic research reveals that rivals dislike him, colleagues admire him, enemies condemn him, and Bout describes himself as a much-maligned but honest businessman. Although an unsatisfactory portrait, the book surrounds it with an engrossing, detailed description of this wildly destructive traffic. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
* While there’s no shortage of books on international terrorism, drug cartels and genocide, the international weapons trade has received less attention. Journalists Farah and Braun center their absorbing exposé of this source of global misery on its most successful practitioner, the Russian dealer Victor Bout. Throughout the Cold War, they show, the Kremlin supplied arms to oppressive regimes and insurgent groups, keeping close tabs on customers; after the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the floodgates opened in the 1990s. With weapons factories starved for customers, Soviet-era air transports lying idle and rusting, and dictators, warlords and insurgents throughout the world clamoring for arms, entrepreneurs and organized criminals saw fortunes to be made. The authors paint a depressing picture of an avalanche of war-making material pouring into poor, violence-wracked nations despite well-publicized U.N. embargoes. America denounces this trade, but turns a blind eye if recipients proclaim they are fighting terrorism, they say. Ruthless people who shun publicity make poor biographical subjects, and Bout is no exception. The authors’ energetic research reveals that rivals dislike him, colleagues admire him, enemies condemn him, and Bout describes himself as a much-maligned but honest businessman. Although an unsatisfactory portrait, the book surrounds it with an engrossing, detailed description of this wildly destructive traffic. (Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2007)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470261965
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/14/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
596,127
Product dimensions:
9.18(w) x 10.46(h) x 0.87(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Victor Bout is like Osama bin Laden: a major target of U.S. intelligence officials who time and again gets away. In Merchant of Death, Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun have skillfully documented how this notorious arms dealer has stoked violence around the world and thwarted international sanctions. Even more appalling, they show how Bout ended up getting millions of dollars in U.S. government money to assist the war in Iraq. Their book is a truly impressive piece of investigative reporting."
—Michael Isikoff, co-author of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

"In Merchant of Death, two of America's finest reporters have performed a major public service, turning over the right rocks that reveal the brutal international arms business at the dawn of the 21st Century. In Viktor Bout, they have given us a new Lord of War, a man who knows no side but his own, and who has a knack for turning up in every war zone just in time to turn a profit. As Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun uncover and document his troubling role in the Bush Administration's Global War on Terror, his ties to Washington almost seem inevitable."
—James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

"An extraordinary and timely piece of investigative reporting, Merchant of Deathis also a vividly compelling read. The true story of Viktor Bout, a sociopathic Russian gunrunner who has supplied weapons for use in some of the most gruesome conflicts of modern times--and who can count amongst his clients both the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the U.S. military in Iraq--is a stomach-churning indictment of the policy failures and moral contradictions of the world's most powerful governments, including that of the United States."
—Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad

"Stephen Braun and Douglas Farah are two of the toughest investigave reporters in the country. This is an important book about a hidden world of gun running and profiteering in some of the world's poorest countries."
—Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

"A riveting investigation of the world's most notorious arms dealer--a page turner that digs deep into the amazing, murky story of Viktor Bout. Farah and Braun have exposed the inner workings of one of the world's most secretive businesses--the international arms trade."
—Peter Bergen, author of The Osama bin laden I Know

"An impressive and damning dossier on this mysterious figure, a raw capitalist at work in an anarchical world."
—Mark Bowden, author of Guests of the Ayatollah

Meet the Author

Douglas Farah is the former West African bureau chief of the Washington Post, and the author of Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror. STEPHEN BRAUN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

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