A highly readable, vividly detailed account of one of the most dramatic intelligence victories in recent history.

COUNTDOWN BIN LADEN

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE 247-DAY HUNT TO BRING THE MASTERMIND OF 9/11 TO JUSTICE

The latest in the Fox News host’s Countdown series tells the inside story of the CIA operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

Wallace begins the countdown in August 2010, nearly eight months before the operation bore fruit. CIA director Leon Panetta had just learned about a fortresslike house in Abbottabad that was believed to be the “hideout for the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a man who had all but dropped off the face of the earth.” The discovery was welcome news, but there was also a high level of uncertainty. The house’s owner was a high-level al-Qaida courier believed to be in close touch with bin Laden, and the signs of tight security suggested that someone very important was inside the building. However, there was no direct evidence, and the area was also home to Pakistan’s military academy. Mounting any kind of operation in this environment risked civilian casualties as well as unwanted attention from the Pakistani government. Wallace delineates the process of intelligence-gathering, as top officials struggled to determine the likelihood of bin Laden’s presence and then create a plan of action. The author alternates the focus among Panetta, the key CIA officials who developed the mission plan, and members of the Navy SEAL team that carried it out. The narrative accelerates as it progresses, and Wallace provides the right amount of detail to bring the events to life. He also presents well-rendered profiles of the participants, giving the story a novelistic fullness. This is a plus given that everyone reading it basically knows the ending beforehand. For further information on bin Laden’s life and how he became a terrorist leader and public enemy No. 1, check out Peter Bergen’s The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden (2021).

A highly readable, vividly detailed account of one of the most dramatic intelligence victories in recent history.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982176-52-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

THE BASEBALL 100

Longtime sports journalist Posnanski takes on a project fraught with the possibilities of controversy: ranking the 100 best baseball players of all time.

It would steal the author’s thunder to reveal his No. 1. However, writing about that player, Posnanski notes, “the greatest baseball player is the one who lifts you higher and makes you feel exactly like you did when you fell in love with this crazy game in the first place.” Working backward, his last-but-not-least place is occupied by Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose valiant hitting rivaled Pete Rose’s, mostly a base at a time. As for Rose, who comes in at No. 60, Posnanski writes, “here’s something people don’t often say about the young Pete Rose, but it’s true: The guy was breathtakingly fast.” Thus, in his first pro season, Rose stole 30 bases and hit 30 triples. That he was somewhat of a lout is noted but exaggerated. Posnanski skillfully weaves statistics into the narrative without spilling into geekdom, and he searches baseball history for his candidate pool while combing the records for just the right datum or quote: No. 10 Satchel Paige on No. 15 Josh Gibson: “You look for his weakness, and while you’re looking for it he’s liable to hit 45 home runs.” Several themes emerge, one being racial injustice. As Posnanski notes of “the greatest Negro Leagues players....people tend to talk about them as if there is some doubt about their greatness.” There’s not, as No. 94, Roy Campanella, among many others, illustrates. He was Sicilian, yes, but also Black, then reason enough to banish him to the minors until finally calling him up in 1948. Another significant theme is the importance of fathers in shaping players, from Mickey Mantle to Cal Ripken and even Rose. Posnanski’s account of how the Cy Young Award came about is alone worth the price of admission.

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982180-58-4

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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