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Against All Enemies  By  cover art

Against All Enemies

By: Richard A. Clarke
Narrated by: Richard A. Clarke
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Publisher's Summary

The real war on terror has happened largely behind closed doors, run by the White House, drawing on secret intelligence and operations around the world. There is no man who knows more about it than Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar for both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the man who has led our efforts against al Qaeda and all other terrorist enemies for years, serving under seven presidents and in the White House for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, until he resigned in March 2003. He has had a front-row seat at every major battle in this war, from the first World Trade Center bombing, to 9/11, to Afghanistan, to Iraq.

Clarke knows the secret stories of Bill Clinton's great victories (shutting down anti-U.S. terrorism sponsored by Iran and Iraq) and his great frustrations (failing to kill Osama Bin Laden despite many attempts). When President Bush took office, Clarke was ready to present him with a master plan to roll back and destroy al Qaeda, yet the president did not grant a briefing for months. His aides had little interest in Osama Bin Laden, preferring to talk about Saddam Hussein at every turn. Clarke knows why we failed to shut down terrorist financing within our borders prior to 2001.

After ignoring existing plans to attack al Qaeda when he first took office, George Bush made disastrous decisions when he finally did pay attention. Thanks to the determined, even conspiratorial views of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Bush, we went after the wrong enemy.

The charges Clarke levels against the current administration must be taken seriously by every American, Democrat or Republican. Our security depends upon it.

Listen to Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9-11 Commission.
©2004 RAC Enterprises, Inc. (P)2004 Simon & Schuster, Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2005

"The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but Against All Enemies offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs: it's a thumping good read." (The New York Times Book Review)
"The level of detail Clarke includes is impressive....Clarke delivers it like a pro. With his deep tenor and weighty pauses, Clarke never lets listeners forget the gravity of the situation....Compelling." (Publishers Weekly)
"Clarke tells an insider's story of our government's awakening to a threat we had never faced before. Because the written words are his own, every pause and emphasized phrase serve to hone his intended meaning as no contracted narrator could do. Although this is an abridgement, none of the meat or spice in this hot dish seems left out." (AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Against All Enemies

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Personal Account of War on Terrorism

Richard Clarke offers up his own, personal, experience of our government recognizing and dealing with the war on terrorism; in particular, our war with Usama Bin Laded and his Al Qaeda network. He tracks the history of this group and our growing awareness of what are their goals. Because of our relationship with Saudi Arabia and continued military presence in the Middle East, Bin Laden has considered us a threat to his world and has declared war on us. In the early stages of this war, Clarke demonstrates, many of our terrorists attacks were not correctly attributed to him. But as the truth began to become more apparent, our desire to attack and extinguish this threat escalated. Yes, the Bush Administration is taken to task for not heading the advice of the Clinton administration. This is not an unqualified accusation, Clarke was in the trenches from the beginning of this war and watched its importance get set aside for other priorities. It is not an outright attack on the Bush administration, as some seem to claim, rather a thorough analysis of each administration?s priority with terrorism. To dismiss this book as partisan rhetoric, would be extremely ignorant of what Clarke is trying to accomplish and put forth. This is an important work on understanding how best to fight this terrorist war.

Clarke does an excellent job of narrating his book and offers chilling first-hand accounts of the tragedy of 9/11. His analysis of attacks and our responses is even-handed, detailed, and very illuminating. This is an important book not solely because of the ?press? it has gotten, but because of the tremendous insight it offers into the working of our government and the people who work within it. I highly recommend it.

103 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good background information

I expected the book to get a lot of backlash about partisanship based on Clarke's testimony but not from the people who actually read the book. I found it to be helpful in figuring out how we got here, in this mess with al-Quaeda. Richard Clarke's career started in the Reagan Administration and he told about the unintended consequences (that no one could forsee) of the Cold War and Reagan's efforts to bring down the Soviet Union.

Clarke himself acknowledges that it is likely that no one could have prevented 9/11. Those he criticizes most for not preventing 9/11 are the CIA and FBI and their entrenched, territorial view of their jobs.
He says that he knew it would take body bags for them to listen. He faults Congress and the Clinton Adminstration for not adequately funding anti-terrorism efforts. He does fault the Bush Administration for Iraq, which he views as a distraction from the war on terror, but that is not the purpose of the book.

I found the behind-the-scenes view of the inner workings of our government fascinating and an interesting read for that reason alone. Clarke's frustration at trying to "turn the battleship" is evident throughout the book - in all the Adminstrations in which he served.

72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

Best book I've read this year

Readable and informative.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Your Government At Work

This book should not be dismissed as a left leaning political rant. Clarke is critical of the current administration, but that is not the theme. You can not find a more informative look at the inner workings of the White House. The play by play of the entire day of 9/11, the crisis room in full operation, and a visit to the presidential vault in the West Wing, are all real eye openers. The White House in Crisis Mode is very impressive and is essentially universal for all recent administrations. Do not pass on this because you think it is another Bush Bash - its real value is how well our government works regardless of the administration. Clarke has acclaims from the last 5 changes in the Oval Office.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • x
  • 04-07-04

What's really amazing...

...is that people can watch the news, listen to the 9/11 committee hearings, read this book, and still believe that going to war with Iraq had anything to do with fighting terrorism. Open your eyes, citizens! Our government, every government, lies to us every day... But Bush and his cronies tell the biggest whoppers you'll ever hear.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Should be 'No Stars' ...

A very transparent and one-sided recreation of reality. Read it and you'll want ... no demand ... your money back. (Unless you're a Dean-i-ac). The book let's Clinton off the hook for 8 years of 'fighting terrorism' and lays the blame squarely on the Bush. Even if you're a Democrat, you cannot believe this guy's story. Simply amazing that he can offer this 'piece' as any type of fact ... and do it with a straight face.

Hope he enjoys his royalites!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Yeah, ok.

During the years that the author served as the chief officer for counter terrosrism for this country, we suffered enormously while our adversaries grew stronger by the minute. In 1990, the murder of a rabbi in NY started the ball rolling, but it wasn't the first infiltration by radicals in the US. In 1993, the WTC was attacked. In 1994, the FBI stopped a plot to bomb NY landmarks. In 1994, Oplan Bojinka was foiled by the mistakes of Ramzi Youseff, the WTC bomber. In 1995, the #2 in Al Quaeda completed a fund raising tour in the US. In 1996, Khobar Towers was bombed. In 1998, the US embassies in Africa were bombed. In 1999, only the suspicion of an alert Customs agent foiled the bombing of LAX. In 2000, the USS Cole was bombed. Where was the author during all of this? There are a number of much better books on the topic out there. This one strikes me as a self serving attempt to rewrite history and make himself seem more valuable than his achievements merit. It's an interesting read, but don't depend on it being the truth. This is a very colored view of the world, written for blatant self interest and self serving reasons.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Gigantic Sour Grapes

Clarkes agenda is so transparent. He expected Bush to solve all the problems left untouched by the Clinton administration's eight years in office in just eight months. Talk about sour grapes. I guess Clarke's next employer will think twice about not promoting him! Look what it got Bush.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

The Clarke

Here is a story by a guy whose been a bureaucrat his entire life and is now looking to cash in. What makes this book his "accurate" version of the various stories he has told? Perhaps the previous statements he has made that undermine many of his key points in this book are correct. Or, perhaps, the versions he has told to the 9-11 commission that differ from both the book and his pre-book history are correct.
Who knows with this guy? The bottom line is he saw the opportunity to sell himself and retire rich, early. While this book is an interesting insider account, it is more than likely that this is not the truth.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Poor reviews

Obviously, two of the reviewers did not read the book. The plan that was ultimately approved by Bush on September 4, 2001 was hatched under Clinton in December of 2000 and presented to Rice in early 2001 during several briefings that were arranged by members of the Clinton administration to get her up to speed on several national security issues.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mllx
  • 04-28-22

Chapters out of alignment

Great book but chapters being out of alignment spoils the experience, surely this is remediable?

  • Overall
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  • Mister Peridot
  • 07-29-19

Clear, concise, compelling

Clarke served from 1998-2003 as the USA's National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism, also known as the Counterterrorism Czar. Thus it was his job to coordinate the response to events of the 9th September 2001. His account of that day is revealing in many ways. Certain facts stand out. One of them being the difficulty he had communicating with the Vice President who was ultimately in charge, seeing that the President happened to busy reading aloud stories in a children's school. When Clarke did eventually obtain access to the secure underground control bunker, he found that the Vice President was more interested in watching how the news was being reported on TV than in talking to his security coordinator about what they should do about it. On following days, Clarke found himself heavily pressured by the President to link the events of the 11th to Iraq, even though he, the FBI and the CIA were clear that there weren't any links. Clarke comes across as a genuine, patriotic American who did his best to serve his country and who is cautiously angry with the behaviour of the administration he was obliged to serve.