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Download Counterstrike: The Untold Story of Americ’s Secret Campaign against Al Qaeda Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Counterstrike: The Untold Story of Americ’s Secret Campaign against Al Qaeda, by Eric Schmitt, Thom Shanker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (79 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eric Schmitt, Thom Shanker Narrator: George K. Wilson Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A look inside the Pentagon’s secretive and revolutionary new strategy to fight terrorism—and its game-changing effects in the Middle East and at home

In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the United States waged a “war on terror” that sought to defeat al-Qaeda through brute force. But it soon became clear that this strategy was not working, and by 2005 the Pentagon began looking for a new way.

In Counterstrike, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of the New York Times tell the story of how a group of analysts within the military, at spy agencies, and in law enforcement has fashioned an innovative and effective new strategy to fight terrorism, unbeknownst to most Americans and in sharp contrast to the cowboy slogans that characterized the United States government’s public posture. Adapting themes from classic Cold War deterrence theory, these strategists have expanded the field of battle in order to disrupt jihadist networks in ever more creative ways.

Schmitt and Shanker take readers deep into this theater of war, as ground troops, intelligence operatives, and top executive branch officials have worked together to redefine and restrict the geography available for al-Qaeda to operate in. They also show how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

Filled with startling revelations about how our national security is being managed, Counterstrike will change the way Americans think about the ongoing struggle with violent radical extremism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Insightful…Counterstrike…is not just another book about Sept. 11, Iraq or Afghanistan. Rather, it focuses on the various military and civilian agency responses to terrorism [with a] strong portrayal of the many unheralded United States victories…Americans should take comfort in this book’s reminder that their government can adapt to meet threats as they change, keeping them safer—if not necessarily safe—from terrorism.”

    New York Times

  • "Counterstrike’ provides a detailed look at the changes that have occurred and the personalities behind those decisions, as well as the complicated global chessboard of terror networks and sympathetic governments that made adaptation so vital.”

    Boston Globe

  • “This eye-opening account of how the US government has vastly upgraded its counterterrorism efforts since Sept. 11 reminds readers that while the threat from al-Qaeda and its affiliates persists, so does the American will to strike back.”

    Washington Times

  • “In Counterstrike, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, reporters for the New York Times, warn that another catastrophic terrorist event is inevitable, but their behind-the-scenes account of the evolution of US counterterrorism strategy gives officials the highest marks…Counterstrike is a glowing portrayal of the American intelligence community.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A remarkable detective story by two of the nation’s best reporters. With meticulous research and fine storytelling, Counterstrike reveals who, what, when, where, and why in describing the long campaign by the United States government to demolish al-Qaeda and ultimately to kill Osama bin Laden.”

    Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn

  • "Counterstrike lays bare the provocative new ideas that are driving the war on terrorism. Generals often talk about changing the hearts and minds of people in faraway lands, but Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker reveal the importance of changing the hearts and minds of America’s defense strategists. This is a groundbreaking intellectual history that is also a great read.”

    Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill

  • "New York Times correspondents Schmitt and Shanker review events after 9/11, focusing on government and military counterterrorism experts who convinced administration ideologues to switch gears…[A] reassuring argument that, after an expensive and massive effort, terrorism seems on the decline.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Rick Cheeseman | 6/7/2013

    " Easy read, enjoyable. Good look at the non-kinetic efforts behind fighting terrorism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by John | 2/13/2013

    " Encouraging in that it documents an improving coordination among our terrorist-fighting agencies. The account of Bin Laden's take-down interesting especially in the amount of preparation made. Good reporting but not an engaging read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katie | 5/3/2012

    " A worthwhile read for those looking at the war against al Qaeda in layman's terms. I would not plan on reading this twice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 4/23/2012

    " One of 5 finalists for the NYPL Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. "

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About the Author

Eric Schmitt is a terrorism correspondent for the New York Times and has embedded with troops in Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan. Schmitt has twice been a member of Times reporting teams that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.