It was only a week before 9/11 that Peter Bergen delivered the manuscript of Holy War, Inc., the story of Osama bin Laden - whom Bergen had once interviewed in a mud hut in Afghanistan - and his declaration of war on America. The book became a New York Times bestseller and the essential portrait of the most formidable terrorist enterprise of our time. Now, in Manhunt, Bergen picks up the thread with this taut yet panoramic account of the pursuit and killing of bin Laden.
Here are riveting new details of bin Laden's flight to Tora Bora after the crushing defeat of the Taliban, where American forces came startlingly close to capturing him; his grim, Spartan life in hiding; and his struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically picked off his most prominent lieutenants.
On the other side of the world, CIA analysts haunted by the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 and the WMD fiasco pored over the tiniest of clues before homing in on the man they called 'the Kuwaiti', who took them to a peculiar building with twelve-foot-high walls and security cameras less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy. This was the courier who would unwittingly lead them to bin Laden, now a prisoner of his own making but still plotting to devastate the United States.
Bergen takes us inside the Situation Room, where President Obama considers the various courses of action presented by his war council and receives conflicting advice from his top advisors before deciding to go ahead with the raid that would change history, and then inside the Joint Special Operations Command, whose 'secret warriors', the SEALS, would execute Operation Neptune Spear. From the moment that two Black Hawks take off from Afghanistan, up until bin Laden utters his last words, Manhunt reads like a thriller.
Based on exhaustive research and unprecedented access to White House officials, CIA analysts, Pakistani intelligence, and the military, this is the definitive account of ten years spent in pursuit of bin Laden and of the twilight of al-Qaeda.
"A very good, well-sourced account, as good on the White House, the military and the CIA as on what happened in Abbottabad, and as good as we're likely to get, short of an official version" -- Alan Judd Spectator "Tells the story of the search with considerable authority and conviction" -- Max Hastings Sunday Times 20120505 "The book makes for a rattling and thoroughly researched read on the last days of the world's most notorious terrorist" Daily Telegraph "Meticulously reported, pacy and authoritative" -- Jason Burke Observer 20120505 "The battle of wits between the man and the superpower is grippingly narrated by Peter Bergen" -- Julian Borger Guardian