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Extended Audio Sample The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, by Jane Mayer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,668 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Mayer Narrator: Richard McGonagle Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the days following September 11, the most powerful people in the country were panic-stricken. The decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, used the crisis to further a long-held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history.

The Dark Side is a riveting narrative account of how the U.S. made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists—decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author Jane Mayer relates specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of Washington, looking at the intelligence gained—or not—and the price paid. In all cases, whatever the short-term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, our country’s place in the world, and its sense of itself. The Dark Side chronicles one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W. Bush presidency.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Some of “The Dark Side” seems right out of “The Final Days,” minus Nixon’s operatic boozing and weeping…. Nixon parallels take us only so far, however. “The Dark Side” is scarier than “The Final Days” because these final days aren’t over yet and because the stakes are much higher. Frank Rich, New York Times
  • The Dark Side is a gripping, meticuously researched and deeply disturbing book that vindicates the observation of the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis that 'the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.' Mayer notes that the Bush Administration was repeatedly warned by experts in military and the FBI as well as by loyal Republican lawyers inside the Administration that 'the short-term benefits of its extralegal apporach to fighting terrorism would have tragically destructive long-term consequences for both the rule of law and America's interests in the world.' Instead of heeding thi well-intentioned advvice, the Administration 'invoked the fear flowing from the [9/11] attacks' and 'sanctioned coerced confessions, extrajuidicial detention, and other violations of individuals' liberties that had been prohibited since the country's founding.' Provoking governments to overreact is a common objective of terrorist organizations. If that was what al Qaeda sought to do on 9/11, it hit the jackpot. Parameters Magazine, the United States Army's Senior Professional Journal
  • “In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer, a staff writer for the New Yorker, documents some of the ugliest allegations of wrongdoing charged against the Bush administration. To dismiss these as wild, anti-American ravings will not do. They are facts, which Mayer substantiates in persuasive detail, citing the testimony not of noted liberals like Noam Chomsky or Keith Olbermann but of military officers, intelligence professionals, "hard-line law-and-order stalwarts in the criminal justice system" and impeccably conservative Bush appointees who resisted the conspiracy from within the administration. Washington Post Book World
  • Whatever it takes to get those bastards. The true nature of our Faustian bargain would not become clear until later, and maybe it needed a journalist as steely and tenacious as Jane Mayer to give us the full picture. "The Dark Side" is about how the war on terror became "a war on American ideals," and Mayer gives this story all the weight and sorrow it deserves. Many books get tagged with the word "essential"; hers actually is. Salon.com

  • “In Jane Mayer's angry and important book ``The Dark Side,'' the tenacious New Yorker reporter takes us, step by step, through the process by which practices and methods we associate with tyrannies became official U.S. policy.
  • “(In) The Dark Side, Jane Mayer’s riveting and shocking new book, and not the least of the themes to emerge from it is that we’ve witnessed something new in American history: the imperial vice presidency. New York Observer
  • Essential reading for those who think they can stand the truth. Bob Herbert, New York Times
  • Like a good suspense novel….potent and disturbing stuff. San Diego Tribune

  • “The gravity of her riveting exposé, which unfolds like a spy novel, is enhanced by actor/narrator Richard McGonagle’s bass-level reading.”

    Library Journal

  • “Mayer’s comprehensive and detailed approach certainly ranks her work higher among the scores of books on the Bush administration. Richard McGonagle has a powerfully resonant and gruff voice that is at times deliberate and works effectively with the tone of this book.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A powerful, brilliantly researched, and deeply unsettling book.”

    New York Times

  • A powerful, brilliantly researched and deeply unsettling book….extraordinary and invaluable Alan Brinkley, New York Times Book Review
  • If you intend to vote in November and read only one book between now and then, this should be it. Los Angeles Times
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2008 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2008 ALA Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2008 Salon Magazine Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction
  • A 2008 Slate Magazine Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2008 Economist Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2008 Washington Post Best Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2009 Ambassador Book Award for Current Affairs
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction, 2008
  • Winner of the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
  • A 2009 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism Finalist
  • A 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for General Nonfiction
  • A 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest
  • A 2008 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brooks | 2/11/2014

    " Excellent insights into the Bush white house. With the change in Presidency, I think things will change. But without a major scandal and jail time for the principles, what is to prevent the next president from doing the same thing? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michael | 1/29/2014

    " A relentless indictment of the Bush Administration's detention and torture policies in the War on Terror. And, surprisingly, an inspiring story of the soldiers, lawyer and experts who pushed back against it. I wish everyone defending torture would read this book to know what they're talking about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Scott | 12/31/2013

    " Great journalistic take on the Bush (I mean Cheney) Presidency and how it really just boiled down to a power grab by the Executive Branch. No conspiracies just power-hungry, ideologues. Amazingly a page-turner. Very well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Coloringbook | 8/28/2013

    " This supports my other read "The Commission" Where The Commission was really mostly research and interviews, with very little author comment, Jane Mayer's opinion is more evident. I still felt I could draw my own conclusions. You really get to know the nutballs who were running things, and if you are interested in why people do the things they do, I think this book answers those questions. It also was a fast read, and again, I felt really smart afterwords. :) "

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