Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hunt for KSMM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Hohammed by Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer & Giveaway

The blurb:
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the most significant terrorist in captivity. On March 1, 2003, American and Pakistani intelligence agents captured KSM, bringing to a close one of the greatest manhunts in history.

Drawing on unprecedented access to key sources, many of whom have never spoken publicly -- as well as jihadis and members of KSM's family and support network -- Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer give the first comprehensive account of the search for KSM and what happened after he was captured, including how his torture propted false confessions that sent U.S. agents on a wild goose chase across four continents.

The Hunt for KSM is a tour de force of investigative journalism and a vivid portrayal of the epic struggle to capture the most significant terrorist behind bars.

The Hunt for KSM gives us a chronological, detailed, and carefully researched account of the investigation into the characters that planned, financed, and executed the 9/11 attacks. McDermott and Meyer give us anecdotes, conversations, and small details that must have come from extensive interviews.  The authors are quick to give credit to individual investigators and are not afraid to mention mistakes and lost opportunities when discussing earlier attempts to pinpoint the planners and actors in the terrorist attacks.

For those of us who are not familiar with the main characters, geography or the politics of the region, the details can be confusing.  Fortunately, the writers are careful to repeat the names and to make the story accessible and comprehensible to the lay person.

The discussion differentiating the CIA and the FBI was particularly interesting as the authors explained why and how the CIA became the prime mover in the fight against terror.  In the detailed description of the investigations, I learned that so many seemingly disparate events that were going on around me, whether in the Philippines or in the US, were significant.  There are detailed accounts of KSM and his colleagues escapades in the Philippines - and the investigators' reconstruction of KSM's trail - that involve bar girls, an apartment in Greenhills, pretty dentists, and visits into the slums of Manila - that I personally found fascinating.

Overall, The Hunt for KSM is an engrossing read.  It teaches us about geopolitics and current events and gives us greater insight into the debate about torture, civil rights versus emergency measures and national security.  Not all the US characters are heroes, but we certainly appreciate the dedication and sacrifices of the American and Pakistani investigators.

ISBN-10: 0316186597 - Hardcover $27.99
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (March 26, 2012), 368 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Authors:
Terry McDermott's work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Wilson Quarterly, the Columbia Journalism Review; the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Pacific Magazine.

Josh Meyer is the chief terrorism reporter for the Los Angeles Times and has reported on international terrorism for more than a decade.  He lives in Washington DC.

Little, Brown & Company is sponsoring this giveaway of 3 copies of The Hunt for KSM. To enter, please recommend a book that you loved lately and tell us a little bit about it.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
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3.  One winner per household.
The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on June 30, 2012.

1 comment:

  1. I am a follower and email subscriber. I enjoyed the Hunt about a human pretending to be a vampire to survive.