"For readers interested in a highly informed, wide-angled, single-volume briefing on the war on terror so far, The Longest War is clearly that essential book."Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"The Longest War is Mr. Bergen's magnum opus…. essential reading.”The Washington Times
“For years, I tried to read every new novel about how 9/11 affected our lives. Some were very thoughtful, but I always came away unsatisfied, feeling that the authors had worked hard but had somehow fallen short. As I read the stunning first section of Peter L. Bergen’s new book on the war between the United States and Al Qaeda, I realized I had been looking in the wrong genre. None of the novels were as effective or moving as “The Longest War,” which is a history of our time. … “The Longest War” is one of the most important accounts on the subject to appear in years. But be warned: You will read it and weep.”
–Thomas E. Ricks, The New York Times Book Review
“His important history of the war on terrorism….The greatest strength of The Longest War is that it provides a detailed history of what has occurred since al-Qaeda first appeared on the terrorist scene. Uniquely, it tells the history from three sides: the Americans involved in prosecuting the war; ordinary Muslims, the vast majority of whom remain unmoved by bin Laden's siren call; and the many terrorists and sympathizers whom Bergen has sought out in the field or whose voluminous writings he expertly synthesizes. The Longest War is also a very good read.”Washington Post
“The Longest War is ambitious both in scope and aims…you need to understand al-Qaida, and Bergen, with this detailed, serious, scrupulously fair, perceptive and sometimes startling work has made a significant contribution to us doing exactly that.”The Guardian
”The Longest War is by far the best and most comprehensive book on the conflict so far.”Sunday Times
“A grippingly important work that belongs on the shelf alongside The Looming Tower and Ghost Wars.”-The Daily Beast
"The Longest War is his history of a daunting subject that succeeds where other books have failed. That's because the author was one of the few people onto al-Qaeda years before the instant experts cropped up. And he is still there watching, long after most of those so-called experts packed it in and moved on."The Globe and Mail
“A revelatory, pull-no-punches history of the War on Terror, from before 9/11 to the present day…One of the deepest and most disturbing investigations of one of the defining issues of our era.”—Kirkus, starred review
“Drawing on vast firsthand knowledge of the region and mining a huge stock of primary and secondary material, including his own interviews with combatants, the book’s depth of detail and breadth of insight make it one of the more useful analysis of the ongoing conflict.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
‘In The Longest War Bergen attempts to provide us with an overarching narrative of the first ten years of the epic struggle that resulted from the 9/11 attacks, and he does an admirable job of it.” –Christian Caryl, The Washington Monthly
“[a] readable and well-reported appraisal”—The Economist
“"The Longest War" is a useful synopsis of the struggle we've come to call the war on terror, and he chronicles it with the keen eye of an experienced journalist and on-the-ground observer. Bergen, who actually has interviewed Bin Laden and is the author of two books on him, gives a particularly good view of Al Qaeda’s operative behavior — it’s much more bureaucratic than you might imagine — as well as a gripping re-creation of what went wrong at Tora Bora, the last opportunity the U.S. had to apprehend or kill Bin Laden.” –LA Times
“Peter Bergen has long since established himself as America’s most authoritative and insightful analyst on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and time and again has given the nation an unblinking glimpse into the mind of the enemy. Now, with The Longest War, he has performed perhaps his greatest public service with what is certainly the finest comprehensive history of the war on terror yet written. Weaving together the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader anti-terror campaigns of Bush and Obama, he does something nearly impossible. He explains how we got here from 9/11.”
James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
“When the War on Terror is consigned to the history books, one name will dominate as the steady, clear-eyed chronicler of that period. Peter Bergen was among the first to note the rise of al-Qaeda, and he is still on the case. The Longest War is a vital and essential account of the central conflict of our times.”
Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
“Peter Bergen’s The Longest War is indispensable history. Authoritative and ambitious, it provides a damning account of the fitful fight against Islamic terrorism that every American should read.”
—Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side: How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
"Peter Bergen has produced a masterful, definitive assessment of Al-Qaeda and America since September 11 - rich with new details, elevated by careful analysis, and quickened by riveting characters and stories. This is essential reading."Steve Coll, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens
A revelatory, pull-no-punches history of the War on Terror, from before 9/11 to the present day.
CNN national security analyst and journalist Bergen (The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader, 2006, etc.) takes a critical look at all phases of the conflict between the West and al-Qaeda. Drawing on an impressive range of both Western and Islamic sources, the author examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the jihadist movement, most importantly as exemplified by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden's charismatic appeal arises in part from conscious emulation of the prophet Muhammad, writes Bergen, even as early as his joining the fight to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. In particular, his personal asceticism, maintained in spite of his great wealth, gives him credibility with the disaffected of the Islamic world and makes it easy for him to recruit candidates for suicide missions. But Bergen argues that bin Laden's greatest triumph was also the ruination of al-Qaeda, making him the target of the most relentless manhunt of our time and forcing his followers to the margins of civilized society. At the same time, the Bush administration's response to 9/11 was deeply flawed; the failure to close the trap on bin Laden at Tora Bora left him and his organization free to continue the fight against the West. Then, the Iraq war, against a country that had no part in 9/11, cost the United States an unprecedented level of international support, especially as the Bush administration abandoned the Geneva Convention in its treatment of prisoners. Bergen looks at the lessons learned on both sides of the war, notably the U.S. military's rediscovery of one of the lessons of Vietnam: Small units working closely with the indigenous population can achieve what large concentrations of conventional force cannot. The author concludes that, simply by surviving so long, bin Laden has created a movement likely to carry on his brand of anti-Americanism for the foreseeable future.
One of the deepest and most disturbing investigations of one of the defining issues of our era.