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Download Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia Audiobook, by Ahmed Rashid Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (937 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ahmed Rashid Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781423368106
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Ahmed Rashid is the voice of reason amid the chaos of Central Asia today. His unique knowledge of this complex, war-torn region gives him a panoramic vision and grasp of nuance that no Western writer can emulate. In Descent Into Chaos, Rashid reviews the regional conditions since 9/11 and the catastrophic aftermath of America’s failed war on terror. The underlying theme is clear, devastating and deeply critical of current U.S. foreign policy. Iraq is essentially a sideshow. Pakistan and Afghanistan are where the war really began. Pakistan remains the crucial resource and key player, and Afghanistan is where the fight against Islamic insurgency is eventually going to be played out. Rashid also brings into clear focus the regional issues of Central Asia that few in our country seem to understand and yet are having a crucial impact on our own security and conduct. Seven years after 9/11, despite the thousands of lives and billions of dollars that have been spent in the region, it is in chaos. Pakistan, unstable and armed with nuclear weapons, has become terrorism central. The Taliban is resurging and reconquering land, and al Qaeda is stronger than ever. And at the heart of these calamities is the United States’ refusal to accept its responsibility for statecraft and nation building and its utter failure to understand the region. Rashid’s blistering critique of American policy is also a warning and an impassioned call to correct our failed strategies. There is no more urgent global task. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Recipient of the 2009 Arthur Ross Book Award Silver Medal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 2/15/2014

    " A clear picture of Pakistan by an insider. A bit biased, perhaps, but informative and frightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill 1098 | 2/13/2014

    " Rashid knows the area well and brings considerable evidence to bear on the growing problems in Pakistan. The only quibble I have with the book is that it spends perhaps too much time attacking the Bush Administration for its mistakes. He is absolutely correct, but he belabors the point after it has already been established quite firmly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janine | 1/27/2014

    " Another great book by Ahmed Rashid. An insightful critique of US foreign policy in Central Asia from the perspective of a Pakastani journalist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa Erickson | 1/9/2014

    " If you're interested in this area of the world this is an extremely detailed and informative account of US relations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mromigh | 12/31/2013

    " Having recently deployed to Afghanistan, I read this book to gain situational awareness on the emerging threat of Pakistan. My only complaint was that the book was not a quick read, though I attribute that to my inability to contribute more quality time to reading it (I only read a few pages at a time). Good sociopolitical analysis of the current situation with historical perspective. A must-read for anyone coming to this region. "

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

    " This was a challenging read, but well worth it. I think this is required reading for understanding and appreciating the complexities of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce Reiter | 12/18/2013

    " Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani, former revolutionary now journalist and author. The book is dry as toast but readable with repetition of facts to back up his analysis on several subject areas. His analysis of the drug war in Afghanistan parallels much of what we saw in Latin America in the 1990s but still haven't learned enough to change our response. His hard look at the neocon policy of the imperial America and Iraq and the second Bush administration's inability to accept nation building of "failed states" should make one shudder at the thought of foreign policy under a Republican controlled government. The book took me forever to read and involved additional computer time to review key players. It is amazing how little current information is available on Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Central Asian states. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ideopreneur | 12/16/2013

    " A must read for anybody who wants to understand the not too distant and contemporary developments in the most crucial and volatile region on earth - South/Central Asia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsha | 11/28/2013

    " Authoritative account of the background for the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. Learned alot about the area, was amazed at how much money we have already invested there. Well worth the read, which was slow going at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 11/16/2013

    " Rather long and tough to get through, but extremely informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alden Mackie | 11/10/2013

    " I think "Taliban" was a better work, but this book was also written during a very chaotic course of events so it can be forgiven for not being quite as polished. Still the best book I've read on the recent state of affairs in Afghanistan. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 9/6/2013

    " a good primer for 'three cups of tea' by greg mortenson "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joel | 6/1/2013

    " I wonder if our politicians have read this. If so, I wonder what they thought. Assuming they can think... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobbi | 8/18/2012

    " Fascinating. Ahmed Rashid is one of the most knowledgeable journalists around, from Pakistan. He follows the rise and fall of Afthanistan and Pakistan over the past ten years. Seems like everyone should read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sikander | 7/20/2012

    " A chronicle descrition, how and where occupying powers lost its battle in Afghanistan especially after 9/11. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Bradley | 1/28/2012

    " If you want the bigger picture on Afghanistan, this is it. Fantastically written and an easier read than "Taliban" "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Omar | 1/12/2012

    " In spite of my mixed feelings towards the author, I think it is good read for those interested in the subject. Rashid is a braggart. He is intimate with Mullah Omar, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, ISI rank and file while at the same time he is critical and condemns some of them. C'mon! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 AC | 12/26/2011

    " Though I didn't have quite the same response as Jim this book (I listened on audio -- while in a prone position for three days) it is clearly an authoritative and devastating discussion of the topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ideopreneur | 3/6/2011

    " A must read for anybody who wants to understand the not too distant and contemporary developments in the most crucial and volatile region on earth - South/Central Asia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/5/2011

    " Good at first and then kind of boring. I think I am just reading too much of the same types of stories. I like this author though. He definitely knows what he is talking about and does his research. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Daniel | 1/5/2011

    " Ahmed Rashid is easy to read and not always entirely inaccurate, but his ego and his agenda often cloud reality and make it difficult to achieve a somewhat accurate picture. Read this only as an intro to Giustozzi, but read Coll's Ghost Wars first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brent | 12/15/2010

    " Well worth the time...this man knows more about his subject than almost any other English-language author... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 12/11/2010

    " Well researched book but for large parts failed to hold my attention so took a long time to read. It was good for an insight into the war thats currently going on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Omar | 11/5/2010

    " In spite of my mixed feelings towards the author, I think it is good read for those interested in the subject. Rashid is a braggart. He is intimate with Mullah Omar, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, ISI rank and file while at the same time he is critical and condemns some of them. C'mon! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa | 9/22/2010

    " If you're interested in this area of the world this is an extremely detailed and informative account of US relations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janine | 8/10/2010

    " Another great book by Ahmed Rashid. An insightful critique of US foreign policy in Central Asia from the perspective of a Pakastani journalist. "

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About the Author
Author Ahmed RashidAhmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore who writes for The Washington Post, Daily Telegraph (London), the International Herald Tribune, The New York Review of Books, BBC Online, and The Nation. His previous books include Jihad, Taliban, and The Resurgence of Central Asia. He appears regularly on NPR, CNN, and the BBC World Service.
About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.