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Download The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals Audiobook, by Jane Mayer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.54 out of 54.54 out of 54.54 out of 54.54 out of 54.54 out of 5 4.54 (26 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: July 2008 ISBN: 9780739375938
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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.
    Bloomberg
  • “(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 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 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 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 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. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hilary | 8/27/2013

    " My only comment is a review of the audiobook (I listened to rather than read this): when searing political books are written by women I think they should be narrated by women. The man who narrated this had a bizarrely square American delivery, a voice one might imagine belonging to some uncorrupted war-hero twin of Don Draper who was permanently running for governor, which was incongruous with what the book was about, really, as well as just the style of its sentences. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 8/21/2013

    " The Dark Side is very well written and provides insights into the focused erosion of American Ideals by the Bush Administration. It is scary to think about how quickly long term values can be attacked from the inside by those who are elected to protect the very same values they are damaging. The media needs to step up and do a better job of holding elected officials accountable in upholding their sworn duty to protect the constitution. This is a truly disgusting account of how the actions of our elected leaders change our fundamental values by their actions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam Bender | 8/3/2013

    " Eye-opening investigation into America's extraordinary rendition and interrogation policies during Afghanistan and Iraq. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mame | 8/2/2013

    " A catapult into understanding the cast of characters and key goings on inside the current administration. A fast and lively read, packed with information. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Comaskeyk001 | 7/7/2013

    " I think a little more historical balance would have been nice...but an important documentation of our bad behavior. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 5/13/2013

    " Good reporting on what we've done since 9/11. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erik | 3/17/2013

    " About the most damning indictment of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and their legal, moral and political consequences you'll ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vince Carter | 10/23/2012

    " Amazingly detailed account of how the recent administration trashed the Constitution after 9/11--as bad as you suspected, maybe worse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Tortorelli | 6/19/2012

    " Like a western, but both the good cowboys (white hats) and bad cowboys (black hats) are lawyers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 3/21/2012

    " Americans must read this book to gain perspective on how the Bush administration circumvented protocol and legalized torture in executing the war on terror. Mayer provides ample evidence that torture - humanity notwithstanding - does not lead to better military intelligence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/21/2012

    " If you're a conspiracy theorist, and want your facts to be a bit more believable. Mayer makes some hard edge arguments against the dark, opaque, and secretive acts of policy the Bush administration has dealt during the "war on terror". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 9/10/2011

    " Good book. Pertinent to on-going discussions at the national level. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 6/26/2011

    " Devastating analysis of the Bush administration's use of torture and rendition following 9/11. The reader is left with a chilling understanding of how fragile our democracy is, and how adeptly its weaknesses were exploited. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Monte | 6/3/2011

    " Very depressing clearly war crimes were committed "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 4/19/2011

    " Eye-opening investigation into America's extraordinary rendition and interrogation policies during Afghanistan and Iraq. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 seema | 4/3/2011

    " so far: informative, detailed, captivating, brilliant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay Z | 3/20/2011

    " if you're going to read one book on the war on terror, it should be this one. this is the most meticulously researched, well-written, horrifying expose of the US legal regime i've ever read. hands down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 11/20/2010

    " it is super upsetting but incredibly well written and useful. it hits close to home -- working on habeas corpus cases for people imprisoned at GTMO. People who had the shittiest luck and ended up kidnapped by the U.S. and tortured... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phillip | 11/12/2010

    " Jane Mayer has written one of the most compelling and frightnening history books of the decade. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 11/5/2010

    " Interesting and sad, but not surprising or enthralling. I felt like I should have been more shocked by what our country was doing to human beings, but I was not. That, in itself, is a pretty sad thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 8/26/2010

    " A very well-written account of the inner circle of the Bush Administration's dogged pursuit of the war on terror, and the deliberate dismantling of the rule of law. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart | 8/20/2010

    " This book is scarier than anything Stephen King ever wrote. Jane Meyer is a genius. "

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About the Author
Author Jane MayerJane Mayer is the coauthor of two bestselling narrative nonfiction books, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984—1988 and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas. Mayer was also awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in connection with The Dark Side. She is currently a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband and daughter.
About the Narrator

Richard McGonagle is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and an experienced film, television, and voice-over actor. He has appeared in such films as Rules of Engagement and such television shows as The Practice and JAG.