Download Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan Audiobook

Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan Audiobook, by Steve Coll Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Steve Coll Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780525528586
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Resuming the narrative of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars, bestselling author Steve Coll tells for the first time the epic and enthralling story of America’s intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11

Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, with ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the US was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of ISI, known as “Directorate S,” was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban, in order to enlarge Pakistan’s sphere of influence. After 9/11, when fifty-nine countries, led by the U.S, deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the US was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan.

Today we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the US-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of ISI’s “Directorate S.” This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence.

Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking.

This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A book of surpassing excellence…The topic is important, the treatment compelling, the conclusions persuasive…Readers will eavesdrop on contentious policy debates conducted at the highest levels in Washington. They will also accompany soldiers and spooks in the field.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Every assertion is carefully sourced and checked. This book is in the finest traditions of American investigative journalism. Coll is the thinking man’s Michael Wolff.”

    Times (London)

  • “Might well become the definitive account of the CIA and America’s secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan…The story is delivered with a literary prowess that has been absent in previous western accounts of America’s longest running war…The result is masterful.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Spellbinding.”

    London Evening Standard

  • “Coll succeeds on all levels, and his prodigious research leads to only one conclusion: while the United States has won some battles in the so-called war on terror, it has unquestionably lost the war while feeding the radical fires of countless terrorists…In this era of fake news, Coll remains above it all, this time delivering an impeccably researched history of ‘diplomacy at the highest levels of government in Washington, Islamabad, and Kabul.’”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Pperhaps the most comprehensive work to date on the US war in Afghanistan…Among the book’s many virtues, it avoids adopting a US-centric view. The policies, interests, and important figures of the three nations and (to a lesser extent) the Taliban are all given appropriate weight. Coll’s vital work provides a factual and analytical foundation for all future work on the Afghan War and U.S. policy in Central Asia.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A Literary Hub Pick of the Week
  • Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction

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About the Author

Steve Coll is the New York Times bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars and the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. From 2007 to 2013 he was president of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute in Washington, DC. He is a staff writer for the New Yorker and previously worked for twenty years at the Washington Post, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1990. He is the author of seven other books, including On the Grand Trunk Road, The Bin Ladens, and Private Empire.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 175 audiobooks.