The pause-resister inside account of how two kids from Florida became big-time weapons traders - and how the US government turned on them.
In January 2007 two young stoners from Miami Beach - one a ninth-grade dropout, the other a licensed masseur - won a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Incredibly, instead of fulfilling the order with high-quality arms, Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz - the dudes - bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners. The pair then secretly repackaged millions of rounds of shoddy Chinese ammunition and shipped it to Kabul - until they were caught by Pentagon investigators and the scandal turned up on the front page of The New York Times.
That's the "official" story. The truth is far more explosive. For the first time, journalist Guy Lawson tells the thrilling true tale. It's a trip that goes from a dive apartment in Miami Beach to mountain caves in Albania, the corridors of power in Washington, and the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawson's account includes a shady Swiss gunrunner, Russian arms dealers, corrupt Albanian gangsters, and a Pentagon investigation that impeded America's war efforts in Afghanistan. Lawson exposes the mysterious and murky world of global arms dealing, showing how the American military came to use private contractors like Diveroli and Packouz as middlemen to secure weapons from illegal arms dealers - the same men who sell guns to dictators, warlords, and drug traffickers.
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Not a novel. Simple reporting.
People who are really into recent military history. Knowing how many kinds of weapons were sent to the forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan: this is depressing information, and the fact that three teenagers were able to convince the government to award them a $300 million contract to supply these weapons: the situation proves the people's guess that nobody with any brains is at home in Washington, DC. No matter what side of the aisle you prefer, there is plenty of idiocy to go around. Thing is, it's not funny. Not at all. If a simple expose was intended, it is fully communicated in the five-minute author's foreword. There is no drama. No humor. I did not like it.
As I said above, it's not a novel. For some reason I thought that this book was going to be one of those that smoothly interweaves historical fact and fiction, so you end up wanting to know: how much of this was real? There is no suspense about that: once again, the five-minute foreword, plus the Audible blurb, reveal the fact that this is just a form of war reporting. If I wanted that, I could watch CNN.
I am guessing that he has not had the acting training that the finest narrators almost always have. His reading is factual, as is appropriate to the material, without humor, and boring as hell. There is no drama, and no exciting interplay among the characters. I do not think that I will listen to Mr. Culp again.
I know that I can be counted on to say, "All of them." So, my faithful readers, I would cut all of them. Don't waste your time and money. Life is too short to read bad books, just as life is too short to drink cheap wine.
- Richard Delman "I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get."
What is with those accents?