Against All Enemies

  • by Richard A. Clarke
  • Narrated by Richard A. Clarke
  • 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The real war on terror has happened largely behind closed doors, run by the White House, drawing on secret intelligence and operations around the world. There is no man who knows more about it than Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar for both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the man who has led our efforts against al Qaeda and all other terrorist enemies for years, serving under seven presidents and in the White House for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, until he resigned in March 2003. He has had a front-row seat at every major battle in this war, from the first World Trade Center bombing, to 9/11, to Afghanistan, to Iraq. Clarke knows the secret stories of Bill Clinton's great victories (shutting down anti-U.S. terrorism sponsored by Iran and Iraq) and his great frustrations (failing to kill Osama Bin Laden despite many attempts). When President Bush took office, Clarke was ready to present him with a master plan to roll back and destroy al Qaeda, yet the president did not grant a briefing for months. His aides had little interest in Osama Bin Laden, preferring to talk about Saddam Hussein at every turn. Clarke knows why we failed to shut down terrorist financing within our borders prior to 2001.
After ignoring existing plans to attack al Qaeda when he first took office, George Bush made disastrous decisions when he finally did pay attention. Thanks to the determined, even conspiratorial views of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Bush, we went after the wrong enemy.
The charges Clarke levels against the current administration must be taken seriously by every American, Democrat or Republican. Our security depends upon it.


What the Critics Say

Audie Award Winner, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2005
"The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but Against All Enemies offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs: it's a thumping good read." (The New York Times Book Review)
"The level of detail Clarke includes is impressive....Clarke delivers it like a pro. With his deep tenor and weighty pauses, Clarke never lets listeners forget the gravity of the situation....Compelling." (Publishers Weekly)
"Clarke tells an insider's story of our government's awakening to a threat we had never faced before. Because the written words are his own, every pause and emphasized phrase serve to hone his intended meaning as no contracted narrator could do. Although this is an abridgement, none of the meat or spice in this hot dish seems left out." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Personal Account of War on Terrorism

Richard Clarke offers up his own, personal, experience of our government recognizing and dealing with the war on terrorism; in particular, our war with Usama Bin Laded and his Al Qaeda network. He tracks the history of this group and our growing awareness of what are their goals. Because of our relationship with Saudi Arabia and continued military presence in the Middle East, Bin Laden has considered us a threat to his world and has declared war on us. In the early stages of this war, Clarke demonstrates, many of our terrorists attacks were not correctly attributed to him. But as the truth began to become more apparent, our desire to attack and extinguish this threat escalated. Yes, the Bush Administration is taken to task for not heading the advice of the Clinton administration. This is not an unqualified accusation, Clarke was in the trenches from the beginning of this war and watched its importance get set aside for other priorities. It is not an outright attack on the Bush administration, as some seem to claim, rather a thorough analysis of each administration?s priority with terrorism. To dismiss this book as partisan rhetoric, would be extremely ignorant of what Clarke is trying to accomplish and put forth. This is an important work on understanding how best to fight this terrorist war.

Clarke does an excellent job of narrating his book and offers chilling first-hand accounts of the tragedy of 9/11. His analysis of attacks and our responses is even-handed, detailed, and very illuminating. This is an important book not solely because of the ?press? it has gotten, but because of the tremendous insight it offers into the working of our government and the people who work within it. I highly recommend it.
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- Steve

Good background information

I expected the book to get a lot of backlash about partisanship based on Clarke's testimony but not from the people who actually read the book. I found it to be helpful in figuring out how we got here, in this mess with al-Quaeda. Richard Clarke's career started in the Reagan Administration and he told about the unintended consequences (that no one could forsee) of the Cold War and Reagan's efforts to bring down the Soviet Union.

Clarke himself acknowledges that it is likely that no one could have prevented 9/11. Those he criticizes most for not preventing 9/11 are the CIA and FBI and their entrenched, territorial view of their jobs.
He says that he knew it would take body bags for them to listen. He faults Congress and the Clinton Adminstration for not adequately funding anti-terrorism efforts. He does fault the Bush Administration for Iraq, which he views as a distraction from the war on terror, but that is not the purpose of the book.

I found the behind-the-scenes view of the inner workings of our government fascinating and an interesting read for that reason alone. Clarke's frustration at trying to "turn the battleship" is evident throughout the book - in all the Adminstrations in which he served.
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- Brenda

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-05-2004
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio