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  1. 14.4 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The year is 1997, Michael Soussan, a fresh-faced young graduate takes up a new job at the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program, the largest humanitarian operation in the organization’s history. His mission is to help Iraqi civilians survive the devastating impact of economic sanctions that were imposed following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As a gaffe-prone novice in a world of sensitive taboos, Soussan struggles to negotiate the increasing paranoia of his incomprehensible boss and the inner workings of one of the world’s notoriously complex bureaucracies. But as he learns more about the vast sums of money flowing through the program, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Soussan becomes aware that Saddam Hussein is extracting illegal kickbacks, a discovery that sets him on a collision course with the organizations leadership. On March 8, 2004, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Soussan becomes the first insider to call for an independent investigation of the UN’s dealings with Saddam Hussein. One week later, a humiliated Kofi Annan appointed Paul Volcker to lead a team of sixty international investigators, whose findings resulted in hundreds of prosecutions in multiple countries, many of which are still ongoing. Backstabbing for Beginners is at once a witty tale of one man s political coming of age, and a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy that prevailed at the heart of one of the world’s most idealistic institutions.

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    Backstabbing for Beginners

    14.4 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 8.1 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The key to understanding the calamitous Afghan war is the complex, ultimately failed relationship between the powerful, duplicitous Karzai family and the United States--brilliantly portrayed here in its entirety for the first time by the former Washington Post Kabul bureau chief. The United States came to Afghanistan on a simple mission: to avenge the September 11 attacks and to drive the Taliban from power. This took less than two months. But over the next decade, the ensuing fight for power and money left the region even more dangerous than before the first troops arrived. At the center of this story are President Hamid Karzai and his brothers who began the war as symbols of a new, moderate, forward-looking Afghanistan--the antithesis of the brutish and backward Taliban regime. Now, with the war in shambles, they are in open conflict with one other and with their Western allies. Joshua Partlow's clear-eyed analysis reveals the mistakes, squandered hopes, and wasted chances behind the scenes of a would-be political dynasty that, in turn, newly illustrate the arc of the war and America's relationship to Afghanistan--from optimism to despair, and from friendship to enmity.From the Hardcover edition.

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    A Kingdom of Their Own

    8.1 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 8/30/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower and Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars comes an unprecedented exploration of the decades-long hostilities between the United States and Iran, a power struggle that led to a historic nuclear deal. Through economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain what many view as the Middle East’s most alarming foreign policy threat. Meanwhile, Iran has used the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and their own formidable intelligence networks and proxies to undermine America’s foothold in the region. From Jay Solomon, chief foreign affairs correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, this is the deeply reported, riveting account of a war waged on many levels—military, financial, covert. Most don’t even realize it is being fought, let alone its depth and far-reaching implications.

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    The Third War

    8/30/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 13.1 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    The first serious book to examine what happens when the ancient boundary between war and peace is erased. Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Today, military personnel don’t just “kill people and break stuff.” Instead, they analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it. Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret. Her experiences lead her to an urgent warning: When the boundaries around war disappear, we risk destroying America’s founding values and the laws and institutions we’ve built—and undermining the international rules and organizations that keep our world from sliding towards chaos. If Russia and China have recently grown bolder in their foreign adventures, it’s no accident; US precedents have paved the way for the increasingly unconstrained use of military power by states around the globe. Meanwhile, we continue to pile new tasks onto the military, making it increasingly ill-prepared for the threats America will face in the years to come. By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything transforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don’t really understand. It’s the kind of book that will leave you moved, astonished, and profoundly disturbed, for the world around us is quietly changing beyond recognition—and time is running out to make things right.

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  5. 10.8 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    On a tranquil summer night in July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Nicknamed the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” Y-12 was reputedly one of the most secure nuclear weapons facilities in the world, a bastion of warhead parts that harbored hundreds of metric tons of highly-enriched uranium—enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs. The activists—a house painter, a Vietnam veteran, and an eighty-two-year-old Catholic nun—penetrated the complex’s exterior with alarming ease; their strongest tools were two pairs of bolt cutters and three hammers. Once inside, the pacifists hung freshly spray-painted protest banners and streaked the complex’s white walls with six baby bottles’ worth of human blood. Then they waited to be arrested. With the symbolic break-in, the Plowshares activists had hoped to draw attention to a costly military-industrial complex that stockpiled deadly nukes and drones. But they also triggered a political, legal, and moral firestorm when they defeated a multimillion-dollar security system. What if they had been terrorists with a deadly motive? Why does the United States continue to possess such large amounts of nuclear weaponry in the first place? And above all, are we safe? In Almighty, Washington Post reporter Dan Zak explores these questions by reexamining America’s love-hate relationship with the bomb, from the race to achieve atomic power before the Nazis did to the solemn seventieth anniversary of Hiroshima. At a time of concern about proliferation in such nations as Iran and North Korea, the US arsenal is plagued by its own security problems. This life-or-death quandary is unraveled in Zak’s eye-opening account, with a cast that includes the biophysicist who first educated the public on atomic energy, the prophet who predicted the creation of Oak Ridge, the generations of activists propelled into resistance by their faith, and the Washington bureaucrats and diplomats who are trying to keep the world safe. Part historical adventure, part courtroom drama, part moral thriller, Almighty reshapes the accepted narratives surrounding nuclear weapons and shows that our greatest modern-day threat remains a power we discovered long ago.

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    Almighty by Dan Zak

    Almighty

    10.8 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 15.7 hrs • 7/5/2016 • Unabridged

    In Mission Failure, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America’s leading foreign policy thinkers, provides an original, provocative, and definitive account of the ambitious but deeply flawed post–Cold War efforts to promote American values and American institutions throughout the world. In the decades before the Cold War ended, the United States used its military power to defend against threats to important American international interests or to the American homeland itself. When the Cold War concluded, however, it embarked on military interventions in places where American interests were not at stake. Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo had no strategic or economic importance for the United States, yet the US intervened in all of them for purely humanitarian reasons. Each such intervention led to efforts to transform the local political and economic systems. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq turned into similar missions of transformation—none of them achieved its aims. Mission Failure describes and explains how such missions came to be central to America’s post–Cold War foreign policy, even in relations with China and Russia in the early 1990s and in American diplomacy in the Middle East, and how they all failed. Mandelbaum shows how American efforts to bring peace, national unity, democracy, and free-market economies to poor, disorderly countries ran afoul of ethnic and sectarian loyalties and hatreds as well as foundered on the absence of the historical experiences and political habits, skills, and values that Western institutions require. The history of American foreign policy in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is, he writes, “the story of good, sometimes noble, and thoroughly American intentions coming up against the deeply embedded, often harsh, and profoundly un-American realities of places far from the United States. In this encounter the realities prevailed.”

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    Mission Failure by Michael Mandelbaum

    Mission Failure

    15.7 hrs • 7/5/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 15.5 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    From the former assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell: the definitive analysis and explanation of the major shift—the Pivot—in American foreign policy, its interests and assets, to Asia. There is a quiet drama playing out in American foreign policy, far from the dark contours of upheaval in the Middle East and South Asia and the hovering drone attacks of the war on terror. The United States is in the midst of a substantial and long-term national project, which is proceeding in fits and starts, to reorient its foreign policy to the East. The central tenet of this policy shift, aka the Pivot, is that the United States will need to do more with and in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere to help revitalize its own economy, to realize the full potential of the region’s dramatic innovation, and to keep the peace in the world’s most dynamic region where the lions’ share of the history of the twenty-first century will be written. This book is about a necessary course correction for American diplomacy, commercial engagement, and military innovation during a time of unrelenting and largely unrewarding conflict. While the United States has intensified its focus on the Asia-Pacific relative to previous administrations, much more remains to be done. The Pivot is about that future. It explores how the United States should construct a strategy that will position it to maneuver across the East and offers a clarion call for cunning, dexterity, and ingenuity in the period ahead for American statecraft in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    The Pivot

    15.5 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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    10.2 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    The world’s leading intellectual offers a probing examination of the waning American Century, the nature of US policies post-9/11, and the perils of valuing power above democracy and human rights. In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky argues that the United States, through its military-first policies and its unstinting devotion to maintaining a world-spanning empire, is both risking catastrophe and wrecking the global commons. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from the expanding drone assassination program to the threat of nuclear warfare, as well as the flash points of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine, he offers unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power on our increasingly chaotic planet. In the process, Chomsky provides a brilliant anatomy of just how US elites have grown ever more insulated from any democratic constraints on their power. While the broader population is lulled into apathy diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, the corporations and the rich have increasingly been allowed to do as they please. Fierce, unsparing, and meticulously documented, Who Rules the World? delivers the indispensable understanding of the central conflicts and dangers of our time that we have come to expect from Chomsky.

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    Who Rules the World?

    10.2 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 3.5 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    Electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden In 2011, an elite group of US Navy SEALS stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, the man the United States had begun chasing before the devastating attacks of 9/11. The news did much to boost President Obama’s first term and played a major part in his reelection victory of the following year. But much of the story of that night, as presented to the world, was incomplete, or a lie. The evidence of what actually went on remains hidden. At the same time, the full story of the United States’ involvement in the Syrian civil war has been kept behind a diplomatic curtain, concealed by doublespeak. It is a policy of obfuscation that has compelled the White House to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s involvement in supporting ISIS and its predecessors in Syria. This investigation, which began as a series of essays in the London Review of Books, has ignited a firestorm of controversy in the world media. In his introduction, Hersh asks what will be the legacy of Obama’s time in office. Was it an era of “change we can believe in” or a season of lies and compromises that continued George W. Bush’s misconceived War on Terror? How did he lose the confidence of the general in charge of America’s forces who acted in direct contradiction to the White House? What else do we not know?

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    The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

    3.5 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 27.7 hrs • 11/3/2015 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie Savage’s penetrating investigation of the Obama presidency and the national security stateBarack Obama campaigned on a promise of change from George W. Bush’s “global war on terror.” Yet from indefinite detention and drone strikes to surveillance and military tribunals, Obama ended up continuing—and in some cases expanding—many policies he inherited. What happened? In Power Wars, Charlie Savage looks inside the Obama administration’s national security legal and policy team in a way that no one has before. Based on exclusive interviews with more than 150 current and former officials and access to previously unreported documents, he lays bare their internal deliberations, including emotional debates over the fates of detainees held on torture-tainted evidence and acts of war that lacked congressional authorization. He tells the inside stories of how Obama came to order the killing of an American citizen, preside over an unprecedented crackdown on leaks, and keep a then-secret National Security Agency program that collected records of every American’s phone calls.Savage also pieces together the first comprehensive history of how American surveillance secretly developed over the past thirty-five years, synthesizing recent revelations and filling in gaps with new reporting. And he provides lucid explanations of legal dilemmas in a way that non-lawyers can understand. Highlighted by new information about the pivotal aftermath to the failed Christmas underwear bombing and the planning for the Osama bin Laden raid, Savage’s own eyewitness reporting at Guantanamo, and detailed accounts of closed-door meetings at the highest levels of government, Power Wars equips readers to understand the legacy of Obama’s presidency.

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    Power Wars

    27.7 hrs • 11/3/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 18.8 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    A necessary and unprecedented account of America’s changing relationship with Israel. When it comes to Israel, US policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Today our ties to Israel are close—so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way. Dennis Ross has been a direct participant in shaping US policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years. He served in senior roles, including as Bill Clinton’s envoy for Arab–Israeli peace, and was an active player in the debates over how Israel fit into the region and what should guide our policies. In Doomed to Succeed, he takes us through every administration from Truman to Obama, throwing into dramatic relief each president’s attitudes toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers, and the events that drove the policies and at times led to a shift in approach. Ross points out how rarely lessons were learned and how distancing the United States from Israel in the Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, and Obama administrations never yielded any benefits and why that lesson has never been learned. Doomed to Succeed offers compelling advice for how to understand the priorities of Arab leaders and how future administrations might best shape US policy in that light.

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    Doomed to Succeed

    18.8 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.9 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    Former vice president Dick Cheney, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and his daughter Liz Cheney, former deputy assistant secretary of state, explain the unique and indispensable nature of American power, reveal the damage done by President Obama’s abandonment of this principle, and show how America can and must lead again. Since World War II, American power and leadership have been an unmatched force for the defense of freedom around the globe. For seventy years, presidents both Republican and Democratic have shared a dedication to maintaining American power and leadership. President Obama has abandoned this bipartisan tradition, choosing instead to “lead from behind” as he abandons America’s allies, appeases our enemies, and apologizes for this great nation. When the former vice president spoke out on the topic last year, the Wall Street Journal declared, “Dick Cheney is still right,” and the Washington Post lauded his comments, adding that “unless we have a president who understands that proactive, early action and a robust military force are essential to national security, we will forever be racing to catch up to our enemies.” Now the former vice president and his daughter, former deputy assistant secretary of state Liz Cheney, team up to explain how President Obama has drastically broken with the bipartisan foreign policy consensus that enabled America to prevail in World War II, to win the Cold War, and to triumph in the first decade of the War on Terror. The Cheneys reveal the damage done by President Obama’s policies and demonstrate how his unwillingness to defend and protect American power has weakened the nation and diminished the ability of future presidents to defend us. Finally, the Cheneys do what no one before them has done: chart a path forward to restoring American power and strength, explaining what must be done to reverse course, to fight and win the war on terror, to rebuild our military and reassure our allies that they can once again rely on American leadership. A critical, frank, and much-needed touchstone, Exceptional should stand as a guiding principle for the potential presidential candidates in 2016—and for policymakers today and beyond.

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    Exceptional

    7.9 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    9.5 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Initially dismissed by US President Barack Obama, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shocked the world by conquering massive territories in both countries and promising to create a vast new Muslim caliphate that observes the strict dictates of Sharia law. In ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who have conquered territory equal to the size of Great Britain. Drawing on original interviews with former US military officials and current ISIS fighters, the authors also reveal the internecine struggles within the movement itself, as well as ISIS’s bloody hatred of Shiite Muslims, which is generating another sectarian war in the region. Past is prologue and America’s legacy in the Middle East is sowing a new generation of terror.

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    ISIS

    9.5 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.4 hrs • 6/9/2015 • Unabridged

    The page-turning, inside account of how three kids from Florida became big-time weapons traders—and how the United States government turned on them In January of 2007, three young stoners from Miami Beach 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, David Packouz, and Alex Podrizki—the dudes—bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners. The dudes 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 front lines 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, Packouz, and Podrizki as middlemen to secure weapons from illegal arms dealers—the same men who sell guns to dictators, warlords, and drug traffickers. This is a story you were never meant to read.

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    Arms and the Dudes

    9.4 hrs • 6/9/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 15.7 hrs • 6/8/2015 • Unabridged

    Many see China’s rise as a threat to US leadership in Asia and beyond. Thomas J. Christensen argues instead that the real challenge lies in dissuading China from regional aggression while eliciting its global cooperation. Drawing on decades of scholarship and experience as a senior diplomat, Christensen offers a deep perspective on China’s military and economic capacity. Assessing China’s political outlook and strategic goals, Christensen shows how nationalism and the threat of domestic instability influence the party’s decisions about regional and global affairs. If China obstructs international efforts to confront nuclear proliferation, civil conflicts, financial instability, and climate change, those efforts will likely fail; but if China merely declines to support such efforts, the problems will grow vastly more complicated. Articulating a balanced strategic approach along with perceptive historical analysis, Christensen describes how we might shape China’s choices in the coming decades so that it contributes more to the international system from which it benefits so much.

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    The China Challenge

    15.7 hrs • 6/8/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 9.8 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    Why has America stopped winning wars? For nearly a century, up until the end of World War II in 1945, America enjoyed a Golden Age of decisive military triumphs. And then suddenly, we stopped winning wars. The decades since have been a Dark Age of failures and stalemates—in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan—exposing our inability to change course after battlefield setbacks. In this provocative book, award-winning scholar Dominic Tierney reveals how the United States has struggled to adapt to the new era of intractable guerrilla conflicts. As a result, most major American wars have turned into military fiascos. And when battlefield disaster strikes, Washington is unable to disengage from the quagmire, with grave consequences for thousands of US troops and our allies. But there is a better way. Drawing on interviews with dozens of top generals and policymakers, Tierney shows how we can use three key steps—surge, talk, and leave—to stem the tide of losses and withdraw from unsuccessful campaigns without compromising our core values and interests. Weaving together compelling stories of military catastrophe and heroism, this is an unprecedented, timely, and essential guidebook for our new era of unwinnable conflicts. The Right Way to Lose a War illuminates not only how Washington can handle the toughest crisis of all—battlefield failure—but also how America can once again return to the path of victory.

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    The Right Way to Lose a War

    9.8 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
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