• Charlie Wilson's War

  • The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
  • By: George Crile
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 20 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 23-06-04
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (75 ratings)

Editor reviews

Why we think it's Essential: With shades of both Tom Clancy and Dr. Strangelove, Charlie Wilson's War is the incredible true story of a gregarious Texas Congressman, a shadowy CIA operative, and their campaign to fund the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. Christopher Lane's smooth narration compliments George Crile's well-researched chronicle...right through to a riveting coda that reminds us of the operation's very real ramifications. — Ed Walloga
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Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story behind the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. George Crile tells how Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the agency's history. In the early 1980s, after a Houston socialite turned Wilson's attention to the ragged Afghan freedom fighters who continued to fight the Soviet invaders despite overwhelming odds, the congressman became passionate about their cause and procured hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahideen.
Moving from the back rooms of the Capitol, to secret chambers at Langley, to arms-dealers conventions, to the Khyber Pass, this book is a detailed and brilliantly reported account of the inside workings of the CIA.
©2003 George Crile (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic reviews

2004 Audie Award Winner, Unabridged Nonfiction
"Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, offers an absorbing, thoroughly detailed look at the largest and most successful CIA operation in U.S. history: the arming of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan." ( Booklist)
"An engaging, well-written, newsworthy study of practical politics and its sometimes unlikely players." ( Kirkus Reviews)
“Narrator Christopher Lane affects an even tone and pace, allowing the events of the story to carry the listener to the extraordinary highs and sickening lows of the flawed but heroic Wilson. Thankfully, Lane takes it easy on the accents and shines brightest when allowing a tinge of cynicism in his delivery." ( AudioFile)
“Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down.” ( Publishers Weekly)
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Regular price: £30.49

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tom on 24-07-11

An interesting book, very well narrated

This is a very entertainingly written book about an obscure corner of modern history, namely how the CIA came to back the Afghan mujahadeen in their fight against the Russian Invasion of 1979 (?). It probably would not pass muster as serious history, but it is surprisingly absorbing and thought provoking - particularly with regard to the consequences vis a vis 9/11 and the War on Terror etc. It also shines a light on the working of government in the USA, which I for one found very interesting. Narration and sound quality are excellent.

If you like modern history and are looking for something off the beaten track, you could do a lot worse than try this book.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jackie on 14-05-08

Charlie Wilson's War

This is an incredible story ... they say truth is stranger than fiction! Narrated faultlessly by Christopher Lane, I was amazed at the chain of events Charlie Wilson initiated and could not help but be impressed by this rogue's relentless zeal in fulfilling his passionate quest. Apart from a slight flattening of pace towards the end, the book was gripping. I now have a true understanding of the American 'funding' process in Congress and the Senate, the reasons for America's escalating involvement in the war against the Russians in Afghanistan, and how this inadvertently shaped today's world of escalating terrorism.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By William Lorenzen on 10-08-04

The Afghan War:Last Nail in the Soviet Coffin

Charlie Wilson's War is an enormously entertaining and informative history of the secret war that put the final nail in the Soviet coffin, leaving behind a vacuum into which stepped the Taliban and Al Queda. This is a truly great narrative of how we arrived in this post Cold War world with it's new terrorist wars.

(Another great book that addresses some of the same questions is, "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer)

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34 of 34 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dale on 24-08-04

The REAL Story of the Middle East and the CIA

This book is a complex story which will grab your attention and keep it. After reading or listening to it you will have a much better insight into why we are where we are today in the Middle East. You will also learn that Ronald Reagan DIDN'T defeat the Russians (much to my disappointment, since I am a Reagan supporter)despite what anyone says.

You will learn how our government REALLY works, particularly Congress. Trading favors regardless of political party or whether your representativr is a conservative or a liberal.
You will learn more about why the CIA wasn't there when 9/11 occurred than you ever will from the sanitized 9/11 Commission Report.

You will learn that Reagan bet on the wrong horse (Nicaragua amd the Contras) to beat the Russians while the long shot (the Afghans and Pakistan) won the race and toppled the Russians with the help of a Texas Democrat who was everything that Muslims hate about America, a drunken womanizer. His fight to unite Pakistanis, Afghans, Israelis, Saudis, Egyptians, Swiss and more into one of the most rag-tag coalitions in history all in the single goal of defeating and destroying the Red Giant. And succeeding better than anyone could have imagined.

When you read or listen to this book you will not believe your eyes or ears. You will not regret the time you spend with this vook but if you don't read it, you will miss one of the most straightforward honestly written books ever. Having read thousands of books in my life, this is something I have never said about any other book I have ever read. IT will really open ypur eyes, no matter what your political beliefs may be.

I know that I will be recommending it to all of my friends and relatives, which is something else I never do.

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51 of 52 people found this review helpful

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