by Peter Bergen
published by Free Press
© 2011 by Peter Bergen
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At nearly a decade and counting, and with tens of thousands of American
troops still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq -- and with Osama bin Laden
still at large -- -we remain well within the post-9/11 era, almost to
the point where we take its conditions for granted. Many of the aspects
of the ongoing, often indirect battles between America and al-Qaeda
have been well covered, but there hasn't until now been a full overview
of the conflict, and few are more qualified to write it than Peter Bergen,
the print and television journalist who, as a CNN producer, arranged
bin Laden's first interview with the Western press in 1997. He has been
on the story ever since, as the author of Holy War, Inc., and The Osama
bin Laden I Know, but in The Longest War he synthesizes his knowledge
for the first time into an insightful portrait of both sides in this
asymmetrical struggle between superpower and shadowy scourge. Readers
of reporters like Lawrence Wright, Thomas Ricks, and Bob Woodward will
be familiar with much of the story, especially on the American side,
but Bergen's rare understanding of bin Laden's world -- often based
on personal interviews with present and former jihadists--along with
his sharp assessments of each side's successes and failures (he considers
the 9/11 attacks to have been more of a failure than a success for their
perpetrators), make it necessary reading for anyone wanting to understand
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