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Richard Miniter's new book Mastermind: is a mixed bag for a moderate like myself. At it's best, the book does a great job showcasing the skills of the veteran investigative journalist. The book thoroughly profiles the actions of one the most evil men of the last 65 years. The listener will hear a litany of evil KSM, (as Mohammed is called in this book),has perpetrated over the years and Miniter does a great job explaining just how big of an operational asset KSM was to al Qaeda.
Miniter's writing style is adequate, if workman like. He can from time to time create a vivid depiction of a terrorist attack. His narration though leaves a little to be desired. His delivery is often flat and nearly toneless, causal listeners beware.
The books largest failing, for a moderate like me, is the huge dose of ideology Miniter delivers in this book. Dear reader I hope you are a Neoconservative, because in the course of reading this book Miniter will feed you a lot of it. If you don't care for it's taste, you may find the book unpalatable. Most of the book has a large amount of interesting and well researched information with only a moderate amount of neoconservative ideology; but the last chapter could have been written by Ann Coulter.
The final area in which this book falls a bit short for me is Miniter's exploration into what makes a terrorist a terrorist, or I should say his lack of exploration. I would like to have seen him attempt to explore the reasons why terror groups flourish in the middle east. Instead Miniter presents us with villains so one dimensional they might as well be wearing tights and a cape. For the record, I have no problem with the killing of terrorists, military tribunals for terrorists, or water-boarding them.I just would be interested in finding out why they make the choices they make.
With all of Mr. Miniter's obvious talent, it is a shame he didn't decide to dig deeper. This book feels like a missed opportunity.
3 out of five stars