A compelling story, told with authority, of the final takedown of likely the most wanted criminal in history.

MANHUNT

THE TEN-YEAR SEARCH FOR BIN LADEN--FROM 9/11 TO ABBOTTABAD

An exciting insider account of the vast, secretive effort to track and kill the al-Qaeda leader.

Shortly after coming into office, President Obama urged CIA Chief Leon Panetta to redouble the efforts to find Osama bin Laden; the trail had grown cold despite the dozen high-level intelligence officers working on the case for a decade. Only in 2010 did the monitoring of a Kuwaiti courier’s cellphone use suggest ties to bin Laden, and they followed his car to the compound in the quiet Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where he actually lived with bin Laden's extended family. A CIA safe house was set up nearby to observe the “pattern of life” details: the wives and children living at the compound and never leaving, the wash hanging on the line, the mysterious “pacer” who walked around the “jail yard” and never left. In fact, bin Laden had lived there for years, increasingly isolated and out of touch with his network and with only the Kuwaiti and his brother as guards and conduits to the outside world. CNN national security analyst Bergen (The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, 2011, etc.) ably delineates the U.S. government decision-making process in pursuing the Special Operations infiltration of the compound, despite the lack of certainty that bin Laden was actually there. Officials also had to consider America’s delicate relationship with Pakistan. In three weeks of rehearsal, SEAL teams manipulated every eventuality, even the helicopter mishap that actually happened. Bergen also stresses the enormity of the political risks undertaken by Obama and his staff, and he pursues the aftermath in terms of wounded Pakistan-U.S. relations and the spelling of the “twilight” for al-Qaeda.

A compelling story, told with authority, of the final takedown of likely the most wanted criminal in history. 

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-95557-9

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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