Download State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration Audiobook

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration Audiobook, by James Risen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James Risen Narrator: Boyd Gaines Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9780743555869
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With relentless media coverage, breathtaking events, and extraordinary congressional and independent investigations, it is hard to believe that we still might not know some of the most significant facts about the presidency of George W. Bush. Yet beneath the surface events of the Bush presidency lies a secret history—a series of hidden events that makes a mockery of current debate.

This hidden history involves domestic spying, abuses of power, and outrageous operations. It includes a CIA that became caught in a political cross fire that it could not withstand, and what it did to respond. It includes a Defense Department that made its own foreign policy, even against the wishes of the commander in chief. It features a president who created a sphere of deniability in which his top aides were briefed on matters of the utmost sensitivity—but the president was carefully kept in ignorance. State of War reveals this hidden history for the first time, including scandals that will redefine the Bush presidency.

James Risen covered national security for the New York Times for years. Based on extraordinary sources from top to bottom in Washington and around the world, drawn from dozens of interviews with key figures in the national security community, this book exposes an explosive chain of events:

  • Contrary to law, and with little oversight, the National Security Administration has been engaged in a massive domestic spying program.
  • On such sensitive issues as the use of torture, the administration created a zone of deniability: the president’s top advisors were briefed, but the president himself was not.
  • The United States actually gave nuclear-bomb designs to Iran.
  • The CIA had overwhelming evidence that Iraq had no nuclear weapons programs during the run-up to the Iraq war. They kept that information to themselves and didn’t tell the president.
  • While the United States has refused to lift a finger, Afghanistan has become a narco-state, supplying eighty-seven percent of the heroin sold on the global market.


These are just a few of the stories told in State of War. Beyond these shocking specifics, Risen describes troubling patterns: Truth-seekers within the CIA were fired or ignored. Long-standing rules were trampled. Assassination squads were trained; war crimes were proposed. Yet for all the aggressiveness of America’s spies, a blind eye was turned toward crucial links between al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, among other sensitive topics.

Not since the revelations of CIA and FBI abuses in the 1970s have so many scandals in the intelligence community come to light. More broadly, Risen’s secret history shows how power really worked in George W. Bush’s presidency.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Risen offers a useful perspective on what the CIA has been doing since September 11th, and some devastating summary judgments.”

    New Yorker

  • “Illuminating and disturbing...a monumental job of reporting.”

    New York Times

  • “Explosive…Fast paced, quite mesmerizing, colorful, and fascinating.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Damning and dismaying…Risen’s book is an urgent contribution to the country’s common good by a skillful and courageous reporter.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The quantity, and apparent quality, of the secrets revealed in State of War distinguishes Risen’s book from its competitors. What it represents is a profound hemorrhaging of information from within the corridors of secret power in Washington.”

    Toronto Globe and Mail

  • “Domestic spying, demands for political loyalty in the name of national security, investigating a newspaper's sources: With State of War, the Nixonian déjà vu can give a reader whiplash.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Make[s] for startling, newsmaking reading.”

    Amazon.com

  • "A notorious phrase-slam dunk exposé of the CIA’s recent snafus…Risen has written a thrilling, depressing and worrying book.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ehren | 1/12/2014

    " Good synopsis of CIA involvement and political factors in the iraq invasion. Probably good to read this with "Bush at War" to get a good idea of what was happening in the bureaucracy during the invasion planning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blake | 11/12/2013

    " 4 stars might be a bit too generous. This is a pretty good but not great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kamal | 11/11/2013

    " A Fine book detailing how US & CIA flopped from Afghan to Iraq..Sheer coincidence, when i finished this book yesterday news flashed out that US ends its occupation in Iraq..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 9/12/2013

    " A good end-of-the-empire read, this is far more than the compilation of long-known facts that many similar books have turned out to be. Risen delves far deeper than many other journalists have dared, which is probably why the government is threatening to jail him if he won't give up his sources. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Seligne | 2/5/2013

    " Well written and workmanlike, this short book does not have any of the flash associated with similar books by Woodward, et al., but is worth the read in its own right. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 1/26/2013

    " Great book. It amazes me how many poor choices were made by King George 2. This should be required reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 7/29/2012

    " The intellegence community never presented the Bush administration with any Viable evidence of WMD'S. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 11/1/2011

    " Educational. While it was only a couple hundred pages, it was a heavy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 8/13/2011

    " A decent account, but leaves a lot of holes in coverage of how the Bush administration operated, and who Bush really is. Besides the topic of the book has been done 10 times over by other authors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 12/31/2010

    " Educational. While it was only a couple hundred pages, it was a heavy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/10/2009

    " A decent account, but leaves a lot of holes in coverage of how the Bush administration operated, and who Bush really is. Besides the topic of the book has been done 10 times over by other authors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 2/23/2009

    " The intellegence community never presented the Bush administration with any Viable evidence of WMD'S. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roger | 10/22/2008

    " Chilling stuff. I knew quite a bit about Iran Contra and am currently researching extraordinary rendition, etc., for a TV series I'm writing. I'll deliver a full critique when I've read it properly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 8/31/2008

    " Great book. It amazes me how many poor choices were made by King George 2. This should be required reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ehren | 7/16/2008

    " Good synopsis of CIA involvement and political factors in the iraq invasion. Probably good to read this with "Bush at War" to get a good idea of what was happening in the bureaucracy during the invasion planning. "

About the Author

James Risen is an investigative journalist for the Intercept. He formerly covered national security for the New York Times, and he was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2002 for coverage of September 11 and terrorism. He also won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including State of War, a New York Times bestseller.

About the Narrator

Boyd Gaines is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and an actor whose many film credits include Second Best, I’m Not Rappaport, Heartbreak Ridge, Fame, and Porky’s. He’s won two Tony Awards for performances in the The Heidi Chronicles and the musical She Loves Me. On television he has appeared in A Woman Called Jackie, A Son’s Promise, and in the popular series One Day at a Time.