The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Unabridged)
by Jane Mayer
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In the days following September 11, the most powerful people in the country were panic-stricken. The decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser, David Addington, used the crisis to further a long-held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history. The Dark Side is a riveting narrative account of how the U.S. made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists, decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and best-selling author Jane Mayer relates specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of Washington, looking at the intelligence gained - or not - and the price paid. In all cases, whatever the short-term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, our country's place in the world, and its sense of itself. The Dark Side chronicles one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W. Bush presidency.
Mayer's style is erudite yet accessible. Her thoroughness makes this book a must-read/-listen. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the narrator is a bit blustery. Having heard Mayer on NPR, I think she herself would have been a far better choice to read the text.