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Download The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 Audiobook, by Bob Woodward Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (900 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bob Woodward Narrator: Boyd Gaines Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9780743570510
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As violence in Iraq reaches unnerving levels in 2006, a second front in the war rages at the highest levels of the Bush administration. In his fourth book on President George W. Bush, Bob Woodward takes readers deep inside the tensions, secret debates, unofficial backchannels, distrust and determination within the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq. With unparalleled intimacy and detail, this gripping account of a president at war describes a period of distress and uncertainty within the U.S. government from 2006 through mid-2008.

The White House launches a secret strategy review that excludes the military. General George Casey, the commander in Iraq, believes that President Bush does not understand the war and eventually concludes he has lost the president's confidence. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also conduct a secret strategy review that goes nowhere. On the verge of revolt, they worry that the military will be blamed for a failure in Iraq.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly opposes a surge of additional U.S. forces and confronts the president, who replies that her suggestions would lead to failure. The president keeps his decision to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from Vice President Dick Cheney until two days before he announces it. A retired Army general uses his high-level contacts to shape decisions about the war, as Bush and Cheney use him to deliver sensitive messages outside the chain of command.

For months, the administration's strategy reviews continue in secret, with no deadline and no hurry, in part because public disclosure would harm Republicans in the November 2006 elections. National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley tells Rice, "We've got to do it under the radar screen because the electoral season is so hot."

The War Within provides an exhaustive account of the struggles of General David Petraeus, who takes over in Iraq during one of the bleakest and most violent periods of the war. It reveals how breakthroughs in military operations and surveillance account for much of the progress as violence in Iraq plummets in the middle of 2007.

Woodward interviewed key players, obtained dozens of never-before-published documents, and had nearly three hours of exclusive interviews with President Bush. The result is a stunning, firsthand history of the years from mid-2006, when the White House realizes the Iraq strategy is not working, through the decision to surge another 30,000 U.S. troops in 2007, and into mid-2008, when the war becomes a fault line in the presidential election.

The War Within addresses head-on questions of leadership, not just in war but in how we are governed and the dangers of unwarranted secrecy. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The fullest story yet of the Bush presidency and of the war that is likely to be its most important legacy.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “It is impossible not to be impressed by Woodward’s reporting...His unadorned factual accounts have supplied many other authors and reporters with an invaluable record of what happened and what was said at pivotal junctures during this presidency.”

    New York Times

  • The War Within makes its case quietly and persuasively.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Brilliantly reported.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A better first draft of history might be difficult to find.”  

    Time

  • “Solidly researched and benefiting from insider access, this title will be an essential resource for historians for decades to come, whether or not they agree with Woodward’s conclusions.”

    Library Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blaine Morrow | 2/16/2014

    " The last of Woodward's "W" books is slightly more critical of the President but mainly sticks to the inner circle and who was doing what to carry out the war plans of the last administration. With the benefit of 4 years of hindsight, it's easy to see who was wrong, but it's not so easy to see how they could have changed course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan Steinhauser | 2/16/2014

    " An excellent account of the story of the Iraq surge. This is a very detailed account of how national security policy process works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 2/16/2014

    " Interesting, but as I was reading it, I kept thinking about the previous book of Woodward's (State of Denial) that I read and how I don't remember much of it. I'm afraid I'll have the same experience with this one, I'm just not convinced I'll retain a lot of it. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of the subject material or how the book was written and if it didn't grab me. Then again, it's probably not that important to retain the details - the overarching message will stay with me - that a lot of people knew the war wasn't working and either didn't try or weren't able to communicate that effectively to the president. Bush, and his role in this, remain a mystery to me. I don't understand his motivation for the passivity he exhibited. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 2/8/2014

    " Bob Woodward does it again -- investigative journalism with a look back and forward. Woodward gets it that making decisions in the moment is difficult for anyone, but especially world leaders, and asks hard questions about the impact of those decisions (and sometimes those decisions are the lack thereof). Great information on the decision-making process and explanations of the policy making that this nearly-gone administration has undergone, and why it took them so long to get there with the Iraq War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Celeste | 1/31/2014

    " Very insightful so far! To look into the administration and learn how it all got started was very helpful to understand where it all went wrong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mae | 1/24/2014

    " It's time to start understanding what the fuck is going on in Iraq. And this book is my grand kickoff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 1/23/2014

    " I eagerly read each of the three other Woodward books in the series and was unable to put them down. I can't decide if I'm just exhausted with the subject matter (Bush and his corrupt administration) or if this one simply wasn't as interesting to me. Regardless, I put this on my Skim bookshelf because, truthfully, I didn't read every word. Skim or not, I was again fascinated by Woodward's apparent access to close sources and secret material and the thoroughness of his investigation. I also find his even-handed treatment of the subject matter quite reassuring that he is delivering as close to the truth as he can. There's positive and there's negative about the Bush years in each of these books, and I've found, looking back, that Woodward's take has been corroborated again and again. Who knows - maybe the surge really will lead to long term gain, not just a blip. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Baden | 1/13/2014

    " Awesome! Crazy! I'm really enjoying the book. We should not have gone to Iraq. I agree with the surge. Lots and lots of mistakes in the Iraq War. Wow! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 12/25/2013

    " Fascinating. Both for historical importance and portrait of a dysfunctional management process that can apply to many organizations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana | 12/21/2013

    " All I can honestly say so far is "wow".... it is difficult for me to read this book without my blood boiling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 11/25/2013

    " This book really opens my eyes to how the war has been run and the poor communication within the administration. It is not dry but very interesting and keeps my attention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jai-shen Reader | 11/10/2013

    " Revealing but redundant and not powerful "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 11/10/2013

    " No one gets access to Washington like Woodward. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe Wisniewski | 11/6/2013

    " I will give a full review later. It was refreshing to see an honest job of reporting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 7/8/2013

    " Interesting, but I'm finding that I'm not much of a political non-fiction reader. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 5/13/2013

    " I learned a great deal about the Iraq war and really how complicated the whole mess is. The book dragged in the middle but I found the interviews with Bush interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 2/9/2013

    " Fascinating book if you're insto politics and why Bush did what he did. I still can't believe that Bob Woodward was able to get so much information. Excellent read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenneth Grech | 2/2/2012

    " The Bush administration is unbelievably stupid...although I have a new appreciation of Condi Rice. She was the only member of Bush's inner circle who was asking the hard questions thoughout the latest Iraq fiasco. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carla Loveless | 9/17/2011

    " This book provides some interesting insight into the backdoor policy making, particularly with regard to the war in Iraq. However, unless you're into politics, it's kind of a slow read. It was hard to get in to, for me. I liked his other book about Deep Throat much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sosiaison | 7/30/2011

    " Better then his last one State Of Denial, which was a good book itself, IMO. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoffrey | 2/19/2011

    " This book was like a peek into the inner workings of the Palpatine-Vader administration. At times, though, it was a bit pedantic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 2/5/2011

    " Woodward does his homework and tells a good story. Book details the evolution of the surge concept and how other factors played in. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carla | 2/4/2011

    " This book provides some interesting insight into the backdoor policy making, particularly with regard to the war in Iraq. However, unless you're into politics, it's kind of a slow read. It was hard to get in to, for me. I liked his other book about Deep Throat much better. "

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

    " Very researched and informative about the inner thoughts and policy decisions during this critical time. But perhaps too much information bogs it down a bit. The denial of leaders as to the true situation and what they had unleashed made it a tough read to move through as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Baden | 6/6/2010

    " Awesome! Crazy! I'm really enjoying the book. We should not have gone to Iraq. I agree with the surge. Lots and lots of mistakes in the Iraq War. Wow! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 4/29/2010

    " No one gets access to Washington like Woodward. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/12/2010

    " oY VEY WAS THAT ADMINISTRATION DISFUNCTIONAL RE iRAQ! lEARNED SOME NEW STUFF. lAST OF THE BOOKS ON dUBYA AND ONLY 1 MORE BOOK TO GO & i HOPE i'M DONE READING ABOUT THAT ADMINISTRATION FOR SOME TIME.
    (sorry about the capslock) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana | 10/13/2009

    " All I can honestly say so far is "wow".... it is difficult for me to read this book without my blood boiling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 8/17/2009

    " Excellent insight -- troubling, but I couldn't put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 8/16/2009

    " Another frightening expose from Woodward offering a glimpse of the horribly inadequate oversight that managed the War in Iraq during Bush's tenure. What Woodward lacks in rhetorical flourish he makes up for in the amazing access he is given to documents, key personnel, and other incredible sources. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 7/29/2009

    " I was given this as a gift ... it wasn't polemic at all, just a very intriguing picture of how the Bush administration was assessing the Iraq War and preparing to make changes. Well written, informative, involving. I was surprised, but I liked it. "

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About the Author
Author Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at the Washington Post, where he has worked for almost forty years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal and later for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored a number of nationally bestselling nonfiction books, including Obama’s Wars, The War Within, Bush at War, and others. Before becoming a journalist, Woodward worked as a communications officer in the US Navy.

About the Narrator

Boyd Gaines’ 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’s appeared in A Woman Called Jackie, A Son’s Promise, and in the popular series One Day at a Time. He has won six AudioFile Earphones Awards.