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Download Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times Audiobook, by George Crile Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,481 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Crile Narrator: Christopher Lane Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455180455
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Charlie Wilson’s War is the untold story of the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the Agency’s history.

In the early 1980s, after a Houston socialite turned Wilson’s attention to the ragged Afghan freedom fighters who continued to fight the Soviet invaders despite overwhelming odds, the congressman became passionate about their cause and procured hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahideen. The arms were secretly procured and distributed with the help of an out-of-favor CIA operative, Gust Avrokotos, whose working-class Greek-American background made him an anomaly among the Ivy League world of American spies. Avrakotos handpicked a staff of CIA outcasts to run his operation and, with their help, continually stretched the Agency’s rules to the breaking point.

Moving from the back rooms of the Capitol, to secret chambers at Langley, to arms-dealers conventions, to the Khyber Pass, Charlie Wilson’s War is a detailed and brilliantly reported account of the inside workings of the CIA.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Charlie Wilson’s War is an amazing tale…with a breathtaking cast of characters worthy of a le Carré novel. Only it’s all true. And just as vivid.”

    Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Tom Clancy’s fiction pales in comparison with the amazing, mesmerizing story told by George Crile.”

    Dan Rather, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A vivid narrative…Charlie Wilson’s War is a behind-the-scenes chronicle of a program that is still largely classified…Few people who remember Wilson’s years in Washington would discount even the wildest tales.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A gripping read for students of the Cold War, anyone who wants the lowdown on how their tax dollars really get spent, Central Asian junkies, or those who delight in cloaks, daggers, and plausible deniability.”

    Economist

  • “Irresistible…Can’t be believed until Crile and his thorough reporting gradually make it clear that yes, it all really happened.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Vibrant storytelling…An entirely new take on Reagan-era history with international sweep and modern implications, neatly laid over the intriguing, untold inner workings of [the CIA].”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Crile’s globe-trotting research and adroit writing have produced a vastly entertaining book that outmuscles most spy novels in its quota of sheer thrills and chills.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • Charlie Wilson’s War is a cross between Tom Clancy and Carl Hiaasen, with the distinguishing feature that it’s all apparently true.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Crile has raised the bar on books of this sort. It has more political intrigue, more suspense, more intense psychological analysis, and more technological know-how than anything Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum could fantasize about. And it has something else besides: It’s true.”

    Charleston Gazette

  • “Narrator Christopher Lane affects an even tone and pace, allowing the events of the story to carry the listener to the extraordinary highs and sickening lows of the flawed but heroic Wilson. Thankfully, Lane takes it easy on the accents and shines brightest when allowing a tinge of cynicism in his delivery. Winner of the Audie Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Absorbing, thoroughly detailed…A range of colorful characters…figure in this engrossing account.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An engaging, well-written, newsworthy study of practical politics and its sometimes unlikely players, and one with plenty of implications.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 2004 Audie Award for Best Narration
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Washington Post Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zack | 2/18/2014

    " This was a great book. One has to consider the perspective from which the story is told, however it fills in quite a space for this era. I remember alot of this stuff going on in the news at the time, and looking at this story through today's historical filter adds to its significance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kemper | 2/16/2014

    " This definately falls in the category of truth being stranger than fiction because this story is so unlikely that no one would believe it if it hadn't happened. Not only is there much more detail and depth than the movie even hinted at, it's also a great inside look at how the American government and intelligence community actually work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole Marble | 2/5/2014

    " Facts, lots of facts. An amazing look at our government, the CIA and Afghanistan in the 1980's - and the connection to our military action there today. It reads like a Clancy book - but this is the real stuff. If you are in a big hurry, just read the afterward. Supurb! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luke Terry | 1/22/2014

    " Becoming bed fellows with the Jihad to take out the Russians during the height of the cold war did the job... but also laid the ground work for our current middle east conflicts at least in part. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rn Haven | 1/22/2014

    " This is a must read as an eye opener on American foreign policy and how politics really works--even if you saw the pretty good movie version with Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts. In fact, as almost unbelieveable as the movie plot seemed, the reality as thoroughly depicted in the book, is even more amazing. Well written, with plenty of detail, it moves along briskly without getting bogged down. If you had any naivete left about U.S. foreign policy, the CIA and Congress, this will wring it out of you. Should be required high school current affairs reading. And with what's going on in Afghanistan and the disastrous Bush march to a war of choice in Iraq, this book is as relevant as when the actual events unfolded in the 1980s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patty | 1/8/2014

    " Nonfiction story of Senator Charlie Wilson who arranged to secretly get funding for the Afghans to defeat Russia's invasion of their country. Lots of geography and history. Not lighthearted like the Tom Hanks movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 1/6/2014

    " Great read! Truth really is stranger than fiction. I keep forgetting as I am reading this that the story is non-fiction. Reads better than a beach crime novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Stevens | 12/27/2013

    " Hmmm, lots of crude language, but really great otherwise...illuminating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiah | 12/20/2013

    " Fascinating and, equally, disturbing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carroll | 11/25/2013

    " Truth really is stranger than fiction! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kacie | 11/7/2013

    " Not my kind of book by any means. There were a few interesting parts, but overall for history buffs not like myself "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geoff | 8/13/2013

    " Great read to see how DC works behind the scenes, and how/why some of Afghanistan's Muslim population is so militant. Who knew that giving the USSR its own Vietnam could lead to fundamentalists eyeing the US? Haven't seen the movie... yet. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kim | 10/19/2012

    " this one has to go back on the shelf... can't get into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Kallan | 9/28/2011

    " Amazing story of how the U.S. funded the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980's after the (1979) Soviet invasion. The book reads like fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carey | 6/14/2010

    " Greatness... I learned a lot and it was majorly entertaining. As the saying goes... stranger than fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara Wowra | 4/8/2010

    " This book opens your eyes to the Russian/Afghanistan war, and gives perspective to the Afghanistan today. A surprisingly easy read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 11/10/2007

    " A story of imperfect people, all doing what they think is right. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caroline | 6/14/2007

    " Shocking. Unbelievable. A gripper of a book, though in a totally stomach-sinking, American-guilt-ridden way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh Erickson | 12/24/2006

    " A great read, but it's also depressing to see how our government works sometimes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 2/24/2006

    " Movie is also great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 7/10/2005

    " The book goes much deeper than the film, and really drives home how one connected congressman was able to fund a vast covert war while the nation was distracted by the much smaller Iran-Contra affair. "

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About the Author

George Crile (1945–2006) was an award-winning documentary filmmaker and veteran producer for 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II. Charlie Wilson’s War began as a 60 Minutes profile in 1988.

About the Narrator

Christopher Lane is an award-winning actor, director, and narrator. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration and recipient of ten AudioFile Earphones Awards.