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Extended Audio Sample Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, by Jeremy Scahill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,726 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeremy Scahill Narrator: Tom Weiner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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On September 16, 2007, machine gun fire erupted in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, leaving seventeen Iraqi civilians dead, among them women and children. The shooting spree, labeled “Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday,” was neither the work of Iraqi insurgents nor US soldiers. The shooters were private forces working for a mercenary company: Blackwater USA, the world’s most secretive, powerful, and fastest growing private army.

A largely untold facet of the war on terror is the widespread outsourcing of military tasks to these mercenary companies. Accountable neither to the citizenry nor to standard military legal codes, these largely unregulated corporate armies are being entrusted with ever-greater responsibilities on behalf of the nation.

Founded by fundamentalist Christian megamillionaire Erik Prince, the scion of a conservative dynasty that bankrolls extreme right-wing causes, this particular company of soldiers is now being sent “to the front lines of a global battle, waged largely on Muslim lands, that an evangelical President whom Prince helped put in the White House has boldly defined as a ‘crusade.’” Ranging their roots in Moyock, North Carolina, to the bloodied streets of Iraq, to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, to the chambers of power in Washington, DC—where they are hailed as heroes—this is the dark story of Blackwater’s rise to power.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Scahill’s] book is so scary and so illuminating.”

    Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time

  • “Of all the insane Bush privatization efforts, none is more frightening than the corporatizing of military combat forces. Jeremy Scahill admirably exposes a devastating example of this sinister scheme.”

    Michael Moore

  • “It should be mandatory reading. It’s very interesting—and scary.”

    Scarlett Johansson, actor

  • “A crackling exposé.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Blackwater being rarely out of the news lately, this is a very useful survey of modern mercenaries—or, as they prefer to be called, ‘private security contractors’ in the ‘peace and stability industry’…Scahill is a sharp investigative writer.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Should our nation enter a period of instability following another terrorist attack on American soil, an economic collapse, or a series of environmental disasters, the tyranny that groups such as Blackwater impose on others could become the tyranny they impose on us. The rise of this unchecked mercenary force, as Jeremy Scahill understands, could presage the final stage in the collapse of American democracy.”

    Chris Hedges, former New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief

  • “This engrossing investigative piece exposing, in shocking detail, a US-government-outsourced Frankenstein replete with helicopter gunships may leave you incredulous. But you better believe it, for it poses a grave and gathering danger to the future of our Republic.”

    Ray McGovern, CIA veteran and former intelligence briefer to George H. W. Bush

  • “The dark, largely unknown story of Blackwater…is chillingly told in Jeremy Scahill’s exposé…Tom Weiner has precise diction and a rumbling, authoritative delivery.”


  • “Jeremy Scahill’s Blackwater would be a masterpiece of the genre of futuristic sci fi were it not so regrettably real…[A] horrifying but necessary read.”

    Daily Kos

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • Winner of the George Polk Book Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelly | 2/18/2014

    " This book follows the development of the Blackwater USA, arguably the world's largest private military company. The author looks at the U.S.'s strategy to outsource routine military functions to private agencies from the first Gulf War to the present military action in the Middle East. Democracy and free-market priciples collide as public support falters for our current military efforts, thought to trigger a correlating governmental reduction. Instead, through the use of private contractors the democratic process is skirted as public opinion and voting have a reduced effect on overall military manpower. I found Blackwater's legal immunity shocking as they fall outside military courts yet have argued they cannot be held liable in civilian court because of their relationship in a military campaign. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amelia | 2/12/2014

    " Priviate armies are having a corrosive effect on sovereignty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Robert Hill | 2/2/2014

    " Quite a story about our mercenaries in Iraq...above the law, but quite neccessary and expedient....... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katgoyette Goyette | 1/31/2014

    " I found this to be a terrifying yet fascinating read about one of many corruptions in the military industrial complex that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about in 1961. The appalling arrogance of Blackwater, the CIA, and the Bush Administration permeates the book. "

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