Military History

Post-WW2 Conflicts

  • CDWR
    Bridget Kendall
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    Accompanying the landmark BBC Radio 4 series, former BBC correspondent Bridget Kendall's The Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how the tensions of the last century have shaped the modern world - and what it has been like to live through them.

    Combining meticulous historical research with personal testimonies from those who lived through the conflict, the series has presented a unique and unbiased history of the Cold War - one of the furthest reaching and longest lasting conflicts in modern history. This book provides even more insight and explains how the war, which lasted over half a century, spanned all over the globe from Greece to China and Hungary to Cuba and has shaped political relations to this day.

    This war also managed to draw new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West and affected all kinds of ordinary people. This captivating read offers a captivating and all-encompassing account of just how far this major historical event reached and its lasting impact.
  • MPWR
    Jeremy Black
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    A very poignant and powerful book, Maps of War is a visual survey of how conflict was recorded and planned. It uses archive maps to reveal how warfare and documentation has changed through the centuries.

    Covering the history of military mapping, the book looks at beginning and what impact the invention of printing and introduction of gunpowder had. In the 17th century, military commanders and strategists started to document wars by way of illustration.

    In the 18th century, they started to use maps to chart progress. This chapter reflects the spread of European power and transoceanic conflict and focuses on the American war of Independence. The book then moves on to the 19th and 20th centuries, covering everything from the American Civil War to the World War, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars.
  • AHWEK
    Pete Hamill
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    The Vietnam War has left a deep and lasting impression in American life, from its impact on the men and women who fought in it, to the journalists and photographers who covered it, to the millions of Americans who protested against it or supported it. Thanks to an uncensored press, the world knew and saw more of this war than any in history before or since. The Associated Press made an unprecedented commitment to reporting the conflict: It gathered an extraordinary group of superb photojournalists in its Saigon bureau and these men created one of the great photographic legacies of the twentieth century. Collected here are images that tell the human story of the Vietnam War, as we watch the American presence in the war swell from a trickle of military advisers in the late 1950s, through dramatic operations involving thousands of soldiers in the 1960s, to the fall of Saigon in 1975. These are pictures that both recorded and made history, taken by unbelievably courageous photojournalists. In a moving essay, writer Pete Hamill, who reported from Vietnam in 1965, celebrates their achievement, focusing on five masters who took many of the photographs in the book: Horst Faas, Henri Huet, Eddie Adams, Nick Ut, and Phuoc Van Dang.
  • AYSMQ
    Professor Ben Kiernan (Yale Un
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    This book narrates the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions, their changing cultures and religious traditions, and their interactions with their neighbors in China and Southeast Asia. Key themes include the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times, the central importance of riverine and maritime communications, ecological and economic transformations, and linguistic and literary changes. The country's long experience of regional diversity, multi-ethnic populations, and a multi-religious heritage that ranges from local spirit cults to the influences of Buddhism, Confucianism and Catholicism, makes for a vividly pluralistic narrative. The arcs of Vietnamese history include the rise and fall of different political formations, from chiefdoms to Chinese provinces, from independent kingdoms to divided regions, civil wars, French colonies, and modern republics. In the twentieth century anticolonial nationalism, the worldwide depression, Japanese occupation, a French attempt at reconquest, the traumatic American-Vietnamese war, and the 1975 communist victory all set the scene for the making of contemporary Viet Nam. Rapid economic growth in recent decades has transformed this one-party state into a global trading nation. Yet its rich history still casts a long shadow. Along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Viet Nam is now involved in a tense territorial standoff in the South China Sea, as a rival of China and a <"partner>" of the United States. If its independence and future geographical unity seem assured, Viet Nam's regional security and prospects for democracy remain clouded.
  • BLXVS
    Max Boot
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    In this biography of Edward Lansdale (1908-1987), the man said to be the model for Greene's The Quiet American, Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a 'hearts and minds' diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was ultimately crushed by America's giant military bureaucracy, steered by elitist generals who favoured napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people. Through dozens of interviews and access to never-before-seen documents, Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of Lansdale from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evaculation in 1975. Boot rescues Lansdale from historical ignominy and suggests that Vietnam could have been different had we only listened. With reverberations that continue to resonate, this is a biography of profound historical consequence.
  • BGXJM
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    This original edited volume draws upon the latest work of a global cast of scholars and practitioners in several fields to examine the history, evolution and lessons of previous expeditionary police advising missions. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been an explosion of efforts to build modern police forces in other lands via dispatching police advisory missions. There is much to be learned from these recent efforts, but there are equally valuable lessons to be gathered by examining the breadth of a practice that, surprisingly to most, dates to the end of the 19th century.
  • AUGXE
    Gal Hirsch
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    Israel Defense Force Brigadier General Gal Hirsch has taken part in all of Israel's military confrontations since 1982, leaving a unique signature on a wide scope of strategic thinking owing to his deep understanding of operational art and military planning. In 2009, Hirsch's autobiographical book in Hebrew, War Story, Love Story, was published and instantly appeared on the Israeli bestseller list where it stayed for many months. The description of his own personal journey offers deep, open-minded, and critical insights into the most significant milestones in Israel's defense in the past 30 years, in which he played a key role. This new, revised, and reconceived English edition of the book offers international readers a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind, contextual description of Israeli national defense developments, serving as a valuable tool for understanding contemporary security challenges in the Middle East. The book has been praised as a lesson in leadership, bravery, and endurance. It is a remarkable testimony to the bond between the Jewish people and its Bible and land.
  • AFURT
    Roger Annett
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    The author, Roger Annett, experienced first-hand the events detailed here. Flying with 215 Squadron, and co-piloting Argosy transport aircraft deep over Malayan jungle terrain from 1963 to 65, he is well placed to provide a colorful account of this dramatic period. Following a reunion of RAF Whirlwind veterans of Borneo, Annett began work on this record of their collective experience, attempting to stir the memories of both war veterans and civilians alike, riveted by the drama as it played out by opposing forces attempting to control the island of Borneo. The book describes the oppositions, antagonisms, victories, and defeats experienced on the island. Borneo itself, with its difficult terrain, jungles, and lack of adequate road networks, proved to be one of the biggest challenges from a military perspective, and it is brought to life here. The story of the 'Borneo Boys' of the title traces a journey from new recruits at boot camp to flying training, and on to Borneo itself. It was here where a fraternal bond was to be forged to last a lifetime and provide an impetus for this book. The process of Theatre familiarization - jungle training, nursing Whirlwind 10s over and around the mountainous Malayan jungle - is recorded here with first-hand authenticity. Setting this journey in context, Annett fills out the history of the wider conflict in which the boys were embroiled. The Far East colonial tensions which bred antagonism and ultimately led to the conflict are detailed, as are the cross-border raids and riots which bred a fever of revolt. Much is written already on the Borneo conflict, a lot of it dealing with the politics of the situation. This book swoops its focus on the young men who were called upon to fly over such confusion, far away from home. It is their daily adventures, camaraderie, and learning trajectory which we are faced with. All the excitement of the Aviator's adrenalin ride is translated into eloquent prose, strengthened by the kind of confident delivery that only a man involved in such proceedings could achieve.
  • AXVOS
    DK
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    The Vietnam War is the definitive illustrated history of the world's first televised war. Compiling insightful maps, at-a-glance timelines, and incredible archive photography, The Vietnam War is an all-encompassing showcase of the story of the conflict, and a reflection on modern issues of battle such as prisoners of war and civil rights. Detailed descriptions of every episode, from Operation Passage to Freedom to the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon, are enhanced by the stories of those who witnessed the drama unfold. Eyewitness features pick out iconic photographs and individual tales, giving you a truly immersive look at the events of the Vietnam War. Discover the stories of the conflict's most significant figures, with detailed biographies of Henry Kissinger, General Thieu, President Nixon, and Pol Pot. Hundreds of incredible images are brought together to form an incredible visual record of the suffering, sacrifice, and heroism in America's bloodiest conflict of the 20th century.
  • AUKYW
    Mark Simner
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    Pathan Rising tells the story of the large-scale tribal unrest that erupted along the North West Frontier of India in the late 1890s; a short but sharp period of violence that was initiated by the Pathan tribesmen against the British. Although the exact causes of the unrest remain unclear, it was likely the result of tribal resentment towards the establishment of the Durand Line and British 'forward policy', during the last echoes of the 'Great Game', that led the proud tribesmen to take up arms on an unprecedented scale. This resentment was brought to boiling point by a number of fanatical religious leaders, such as the Mad Fakir and the Hadda Mullah, who visited the various Pathan tribes calling for jihad. By the time the risings ended, eleven Victoria Crosses would be awarded to British troops, which hints at the ferocity and level of bitterness of the fighting. Indeed, although not eligible for the VC in 1897, many Indian soldiers would also receive high-level decorations in recognition of their bravery. It would be one of the greatest challenges to British authority in Asia during the Victorian era.
  • ALHNU
    Simon Gifford
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    The immediate post-VJ-Day period of RAF history is often consigned to be little more than a footnote in most published accounts. In this first detailed look at the RAF in the Middle and Far East regions in the three years following the end of the war, the RAF's role in stemming the flow of immigrants into Palestine and flying whilst under terrorist attack in Palestine is examined. Further chapters highlight the RAF's roles in Iraq, Cyprus and flying strike missions over Aden, and then look at the RAF's operations over India including some of the first humanitarian airdrops for which the RAF became famous. Attention is then turned to the RAF's return to the Malayan peninsular and how the RAF became embroiled in the beginnings of the Malayan Emergency. Finally, Rapid Rundown: RAF Operations East of Suez 1945-1948 looks at the RAF's involvement beyond the boundaries of the Empire with Spitfires flying over Siam, French Indo-China and Japan, and how it flew combat operations in the Dutch East Indies. The book is copiously illustrated with many unpublished images and is enlivened by many RAF veterans' first-hand and eyewitness accounts.
  • BCIQR
    Fred Bridgland
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    The Angolan Civil War lasted over a quarter of a century, from 1975 to 2002. Beginning as a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the MPLA and UNITA, it became a Cold War struggle with involvement from the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the USA. This book examines the height of the Cuban-South African fighting in Angola in 1987-88, when 3,000 South African soldiers and about 8,000 UNITA guerrilla fighters fought in alliance against the Cubans and the armed forces of the Marxist MPLA government, a force of over 50,000 men. Bridgland pieced together the course of the war, fought in one of the world's most remote and wild terrains, by interviewing the South Africans who fought it, and many of their accounts are woven into the narrative. This classic account of a Cold War struggle and its momentous consequences for the participants and across the continent, is released in a new edition with a new preface and epilogue.
  • BBBFK
    Major Richard Streatfeild
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    In 2009 Major Richard Streatfeild and his men fought for six months against the Taliban in Sangin, northern Helmand. They were engaged in over 800 fire-fights. They were the target of more than 200 improvised explosive devices. Ten men in his company were killed, 50 were wounded. This is their story - and it is the story, from the front line, of Western intervention in Afghanistan. His graphic personal account gives an inside view of the physical, psychological and political battle to come to terms with severe casualties and the stress of battle while seeking the support of the local population. As he describes the day-to-day operations, he provides a fascinating record of the Taliban's guerrilla tactics and the British response to them. His narrative also gives a direct insight into the experiences of soldiers who had to face down their fear throughout a prolonged tour of duty on the Afghan battlefield. Honourable Warriors is essential reading for anyone who cares to understand the nature of the war in Afghanistan and how the odds are stacked against the army's success.
  • AXWYU
    Dan Daly
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    During the Vietnam war 3500 officers and men served in the Swift Boat program in a fleet of 130 boats with no armor plating. The boats patrolled the coast and rivers of South Vietnam, with the average age of the crew being twenty-four. Their days consisted of deadly combat, intense lightning firefights, storms and many hidden dangers. This action-packed story of combat written by Dan Daly, a Vietnam combat veteran who was the Officer in Charge of PCF 76 makes you part of the Swift Boat crew. The six man crew of PCF 76 were volunteers from all over the United States, eager to serve their country in a highly unique type of duty not seen since the PT boats of WWII. This inexperienced and disparate group of men would meld into a combat team - a team that formed an unbreakable, lifelong bond. After training they were plunged into a 12 month tour of duty. Combat took place in the closest confines imaginable, where the enemy were hidden behind a passing sand dune or a single sniper could be concealed in an onshore bunker, mines might be submerged at every fork in the river. The enemy was all around you, hiding, waiting, while your fifty-foot Swift Boat works its way upriver. In many cases the rivers became so narrow there was barely room to maneuver or turn around. The only way out might be into a deadly ambush. Humor and a touch of romance relieve the tension in this thrilling ride with America's finest.
  • AXDKC
    Gregory Fremont-Barnes
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    The Falklands War is a story of occupation, fierce air battles, heavy naval losses and bitter encounters between ground forces amidst an inhospitable terrain and unforgiving climate. With complex political machinations and nationalist sentiment at the centre of the conflict, even today the sovereignty of the islands is hotly contested in political circles. For the first time, renowned military historian Gregory Fremont-Barnes has compiled a definitive A-Z guide to the British involvement in the Falklands conflict, including personalities, weapons, battles, ships, places, and much more. This accessible yet comprehensive companion to the Falklands War will be a welcome addition to any enthusiast's shelves.
  • AYKUO
    Michael John W. Napier
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    The RAF's only delta-winged fighter - the Gloster Javelin was also Britain's first true All-Weather Fighter. Based in the UK and in Germany, the RAF's Javelin squadrons formed the front line of Britain's air defences in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During this time Javelin crews pioneered the operational use of guided missiles and air-to-air refuelling by fighter aircraft. In the Far East, Javelins were involved in operations during the Indonesian Confrontation and the aircraft was also deployed to Zambia during the Rhodesian UDI Crisis. In this history, which is richly illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs, Michael Napier blends official records with personal accounts to describe the operational history of this iconic jet fighter.
  • BAACQ
    Leigh Neville
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    Within weeks of 9/11, United States Special Operations Forces were dropping into Afghanistan to lead the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. For over a decade special forces have been fighting a hidden war in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, Mali and Afghanistan, facing off against a range of insurgents from organisations like al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Taliban. Leigh Neville draws on recently declassified material and first-hand-accounts from his SOF contacts to lift the veil of secrecy from these operations, giving an unprecedented blow-by-blow description of major Special Forces operations, culminating in SEAL Team 6's Operation Neptune Spear and the killing of Osama bin Laden. Detailing the special equipment, tactics, machinery and training that these Special Operatives received and used this impressive volume shows how the world's elite soldiers fought against overwhelming odds around the world.
  • BHAIQ
    Theo Farrell
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    It could have been a very different story. British and US forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda and stop it from launching further terrorist attacks against the West. Instead, British troops became part of a larger international effort to stabilise the country. Yet over the following thirteen years the British military paid a heavy price for their presence in Helmand province; and when Western troops departed from Afghanistan in 2014, they had failed to stop a Taliban resurgence. In this magisterial study, Theo Farrell explains the origins and causes of the war, providing fascinating insight into the British government's reaction to 9/11 and the steps that led the British Army to Helmand. He details the specific campaigns and missions over the subsequent years, revealing how the military's efforts to create a strategy for success were continually undermined by political realities in Kabul and back home. And he demonstrates conclusively that the West's failure to understand the reasons and dynamics of local conflict in the country meant that the war was unwinnable. Drawing on unprecedented access to military reports and government documents, as well as hundreds of interviews with Western commanders, senior figures in the Taliban, Afghan civilians and British politicians, Unwinnable is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Its depth of analysis, scope and authority make it the definitive history of Britain's War in Afghanistan.
  • BGPQR
    Barney White-Spunner
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    Between January and August 1947 the conflicting political, religious and social tensions in India culminated in independence from Britain and the creation of Pakistan. Those months saw the end of ninety years of the British Raj, and the effective power of the Maharajahs, as the Congress Party established itself commanding a democratic government in Delhi. They also witnessed the rushed creation of Pakistan as a country in two halves whose capitals were two thousand kilometers apart. From September to December 1947 the euphoria surrounding the realization of the dream of independence dissipated into shame and incrimination; nearly 1 million people died and countless more lost their homes and their livelihoods as partition was realized. The events of those months would dictate the history of South Asia for the next seventy years, leading to three wars, countless acts of terrorism, polarization around the Cold War powers and to two nations with millions living in poverty spending disproportionate amounts on their military. The roots of much of the violence in the region today, and worldwide, are in the decisions taken that year. Not only were those decisions controversial but the people who made them were themselves to become some of the most enduring characters of the twentieth century. Gandhi and Nehru enjoyed almost saint like status in India, and still do, whilst Jinnah is lionized in Pakistan. The British cast, from Churchill to Attlee and Mountbatten, find their contribution praised and damned in equal measure. Yet it is not only the national players whose stories fascinate. Many of those ordinary people who witnessed the events of that year are still alive. Although most were, predictably, only children, there are still some in their late eighties and nineties who have a clear recollection of the excitement and the horror. Illustrating the story of 1947 with their experiences and what independence and partition meant to the farmers of the Punjab, those living in Lahore and Calcutta, or what it felt like to be a soldier in a divided and largely passive army, makes the story real. Partition will bring to life this terrible era for the Indian Sub Continent.
  • BIBNQ
    Sir Rodric Braithwaite
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    In 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and old ideas of warfare came to an end. This book tells how the power of the atom was harnessed to produce weapons capable of destroying human civilisation. There were few villains in the story. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, dedicated scientists cracked the secrets of nature, dutiful military men planned to use the bomb in war, politicians contemplated with a potentially intolerable decision. Patriotic citizens acquiesced in the idea that their country needed the ultimate means of defence. Some tried to grapple with the unanswerable question: what end could possibly be served by such a fearsome means? Those who protested went unheard. None wanted to start a nuclear war, but all were paranoid. The danger of war by accident or misjudgement was never entirely absent. Rodric Braithwaite, author of bestsellers Moscow 1941 and Afgantsy, paints a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of this intense period in history. Its implications are as relevant today as they ever were, as ignorant and thoughtless talk about nuclear war begins to spread once more.
  • BKZOA
    Martin W. Bowman
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    The Phantom was developed for the US Navy as a long-range all-weather fighter and first flew in May 1958, before becoming operational in 1961\. The US Air Force then realised that the Navy had an aircraft that was far better than any tactical aircraft in their inventory and ordered 543 F-4C variants. There then followed a spate of orders from around the world. In Britain, it was ordered for the Navy and Air Force, but was modified to take the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan. One of the Royal Navy's Phantoms stole the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing, a record that stood until taken by the remarkable Blackbird. Phantoms have been used in combat in many conflicts throughout its long service history. It was one of America's most utilised aircraft during the long Vietnam War and has been flown in anger in the Middle East by a number of different air forces. This is the perfect book for the general reader, enthusiast or modeller wishing to find a succinct yet detailed introduction to the design of the aircraft that has made history. It features a multitude of stories as relayed by USAF and Israeli airmen who actually flew this remarkable aircraft in wars in SE Asia and the Middle East, detailing just what it was like to fly the F-4 in combat. Many of the dozen or so chapters include combat testimonies of the Phantom design and durability in SE Asia and in the wars fought between Israel and her surrounding Arab enemies throughout the 1970s and beyond. The book also features a wealth of technical data along with stirring images that supplement the text perfectly, enhancing its visual appeal.
  • BLMZQ
    Yasutsune Hirashiki
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    On The Frontlines of the Television War is the story of Yasutsune "Tony" Hirashiki's ten years in Vietnam-beginning when he arrived in 1966 as a young freelancer with a 16mm camera but without a job or the slightest grasp of English and ending in the hectic fall of Saigon in 1975 when he was literally thrown on one of the last flights out. His memoir has all the exciting tales of peril, hardship, and close calls as the best of battle memoirs but it is primarily a story of very real and yet remarkable people: the soldiers who fought, bled, and died, and the reporters and photographers who went right to the frontlines to record their stories and memorialize their sacrifice. The great books about Vietnam journalism have been about print reporters, still photographers, and television correspondents but if this was truly the first "television war," then it is time to hear the story of the cameramen who shot the pictures and the reporters who wrote the stories that the average American witnessed daily in their living rooms. An award-winning sensation when it was released in Japan in 2008, this book been completely re-created for an international audience. In 2008, the Japanese edition was published by Kodansha in two hardback volumes and titled "I Wanted to Be Capa." It won the 2009 Oya Soichi Nonfiction Award-a prize usually reserved for much younger writers-and Kodansha almost doubled their initial print run to meet the demand. In that period, he was interviewed extensively, a documentary was filmed in which he returned to the people and places of his wartime experience, and a dramatization of his book was written and presented on NHK Radio. A Kodansha paperback was published in 2010 with an initial printing of 17,000 copies and continues to sell at a respectable pace. "Tony Hirashiki is an essential piece of the foundation on which ABC was built. From the day he approached the Bureau Chief in Saigon with a note pinned to his shirt saying he could shoot pictures to the anxious afternoon of 9/11 when we lost him in the collapse of the Twin Towers (and he emerged covered in dust clutching his precious beta tapes,) Tony reported the news with his camera and in doing so, he brought the truth about the important events of our day to millions of Americans." David Westin, Former President of ABC News
  • BLWIC
    Loch K. Johnson (Professor of
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    All democracies have had to wrestle with the challenge of tolerating hidden spy services within otherwise relatively transparent governments. Democracies pride themselves on privacy and liberty; intelligence organizations, however, enjoy heavily veiled budgets, and they are involved in the clandestine gathering of information around the world, as well as the use of covert action against foreign regimes. Sometimes, they have even turned their dark arts against the very citizens they were established to protect, as with the so-called COINTELPRO operations carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against civil rights and antiwar activists during the 1960s and early 1970s. In this sense, democracy and intelligence have always been a poor match. Yet Americans live in an uncertain and threatening world filled with nuclear warheads, long-range missiles, chemical and biological weapons, aggressive foreign leaders, failing states, and brutal terrorists. Without an intelligence apparatus scanning the globe to alert the United States about these threats, including possible pandemics and environmental catastrophes, this planet would be an even more perilous place. Thus, it becomes necessary for democracies to maintain strong, effective spy services; at the same time, though, to prevent the misuse of secret power, democracies must also take steps to ensure that their intelligence agencies are closely watched by responsible overseers. In Spy Watching, Loch K. Johnson focuses on the travails encountered by the United States as it has tried to maintain effective accountability over its spy services. Spy Watching explores the work of the famous Church Committee, a Senate panel that thoroughly investigated America's espionage organizations in 1975 and established new norms for the supervision of spy activities conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the nation's other sixteen secret services. Johnson explores why partisanship has crept into once-neutral intelligence operations; the effect of the 9/11 attacks on the expansion of spying by the United States, at home and abroad; the controversies related to CIA rendition and torture programs, along with massive data collection at home by the National Security Agency (NSA); and the leaks by Edward Snowden about these NSA dragnet "metadata" operations aimed at American citizens. Johnson views media reporting as a guard against intelligence abuses; and it evaluates the effectiveness of lawmakers in Congress as checks against spy misadventures--important forces in the "shock theory of accountability" presented in these pages. Included in this study are insights into U.S. intelligence drawn from scores of interviews with practitioners, among them several of the nation's Directors of Central Intelligence (DCIs). Above all, Spy Watching seeks to find a sensible balance between the twin imperatives in a democracy of liberty and security.
  • BMWKL
    Steve Coll
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    'Spellbinding ... a magisterial account of the great tragedy of our age ... it is a classic' Evening Standard'In the finest traditions of American investigative journalism' The Times'Spectacular ... makes Bourne movies pale in comparison' Financial TimesFrom the Pulitzer Prize winning of the acclaimed Ghost Wars, this is the full story of America's grim involvement in the affairs of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2016. In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the C.I.A. scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associates. The C.I.A. had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. A tangle of assumptions, old contacts, favours and animosities were now reactivated. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden's successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO's mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire which lasted many years.At the heart of the problem lay 'Directorate S', a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state which had its own views on the Taliban and Afghanistan's place in a wider competition for influence between Pakistan, India and China, and which assumed that the U.S.A. and its allies would soon be leaving. Steve Coll's remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong and of many lives lost.