Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad
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Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,893 ratings  ·  286 reviews
The gripping account of the decade-longhunt for the world's most wanted man.

It was only a week before 9/11 that Peter Bergen turned in 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 t...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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Will Byrnes
Peter Bergen, has been on the bin Laden beat for a long time, most notably since he interviewed the al-Qaeda leader in 1997. He has reported the exploits of Osama for the full arc of his career, from freedom fighter for the Afghanis against the Soviet invader, through the rise to infamy of al Qaeda, from training Somalis in the use of RPG, to training thugs and fanatics to seize commercial airliners to dark purpose. Now he writes about the Osama we have not seen, mostly because he has had to rem...more
Lisa B.
I'm keeping my review simple.

Holy Shit!!!!!!!!

Interpret as you will.

Update - I decided this book deserved more.

My Thoughts

We know the beginning of this story - the horror of 9/11. We know the middle - the ongoing search for bin Laden, the reported sightings (described as - “Where’s Waldo”) and the occasional released propaganda video confirming bin Laden’s continued existence. We know the end - bin Laden is killed. So I have to ask myself - why read this book?

Here’s the answer. The author has wr...more
John DeDakis
My CNN colleague Peter Bergen's book on the hunt for Osama bin Laden is gripping. Bergen is staggeringly brilliant, meticulous, level-headed -- and writes clearly and factually with understated power, yet still manages on-target stabs of droll humor like this characterization of bin Laden's dull successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calling him "a black hole of charisma."

According to Bergen, there was never 100 percent certainty among President Obama's advisors and intelligence analysts that bin Laden w...more
Michael Gerald Dealino
One night, almost 12 years ago, I was relaxing on the sofa in our house with my mom here in the Philippines. We turned on the TV and saw on CNN that one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City was on fire. The reporters on the scene were saying that a plane had just crashed into one of the towers.

Damn, we thought. A freak accident.

Minutes later, the second plane crashed into the South Tower...then another report of a plane hitting the Pentagon...and another...

It was September 11, 2001...more
Brenton
A well-researched and engagingly written history of the long search for Osama Bin Laden. I’m tempted to give it five stars, but I have two complaints. First, at several points the author reveals an anti-Bush and pro-Obama bias. At some points I found myself agreeing with him, and I am more willing after reading the book to give the Obama administration more credit for getting OBL than I had before. President Obama has taken a much more aggressive approach to exterminating terrorists than I reali...more
Jonny99
Say what you like about the book, you have to love the ending. Bergen lays out the details of the ten year effort to improve the world by taking out international scumbag and world's worst suburban neighbor Osama Bin Laden. Bergen's writing style leans more journalist than story-telling but give him credit in two major areas.

First, he pulls off the neat trick most successfully done in Ron Howard's retelling of the "Apollo 13" mission of wringing tension and drama out of a story despite the fact

...more
Mikey B.
It doesn’t get more “Cloak and Dagger” than this and its’ a true story. Bin Laden was surely the most sought after villain and mass murderer in modern history and we are given a dramatic account of it in Peter Bergen’s book.

We are presented with a C.I.A. that made mistakes but was relentless in its’ 11 year pursuit of Bin Laden (well much more than 11 years, but after 9/11 the quest became fundamental). It is also interesting that there were a substantial number of women in the C.I.A. involved i...more
Jimmy
This a thoroughly well researched book by a CNN journalist who was able to interview Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan during the 1990s. Despite the raid to kill Osama being perhaps the biggest news of our decade, much of the back story is still little known by the general public. The author did a good job telling the story of the ten year search for the world’s most wanted man, focusing mainly on the characters of politicians, high ranking military officers and senior level intelligence officials....more
Book
Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen

"Manhunt" is the riveting and insightful ten-year pursuit of America's most wanted man. Best-selling author and acclaimed security analyst Peter L. Bergen provides the most thorough and discerning account of what actually went down and the people behind the manhunt of Bin Laden. This well-researched book reads like a good spy novel and offers keen insight that only a person as well-connected and methodical as Be...more
The-vault
By Peter L. Bergen. Grade: B+

Non-fiction and History are a strange combination that requires intense solitary writing and profound research. 'Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad’ is an example of a book that will take you step-by-step, event-after-event, right from September 11,2001 to May 2,2011 - the day the world's most wanted man was successfully killed. The book is based on the exhaustive research by Peter L. Bergen and the exceptional access to White House o...more
Jessica
Peter Bergen has done it again. Just a little over a year after he published his stellar history of the war between the US and al-Qaeda (The Longest War), he comes back with this. Bergen is already well known as the expert's expert when it comes to bin Laden; his books are surely on many policymakers' shelves (and more than a few CIA agents' shelves, too, I'd imagine). He has consistently been able to get the scoop on almost every other Western journalist when it comes to bin Laden, beginning wi...more
Shaun Lysen
After watching Zero Dark Thirty, I wanted to know more about the back story of getting Bin Laden and this book completely delivers in amazing detail. You feel like you're sitting in the room for those tense deliberations about how to go into Abbottabad. They had 4 potential courses of action.

Some of my favorite bits I learned were
1) Obama's first call after learning they killed Bin Laden was to President Bush
2) The SEAL team had contingency plans for almost every situation, yet the one thing th...more
Joe
A quick read. Bergen's familiarity with his subject shows (with particular contempt for the Taliban's Mullah Omar, "...a dim-witted fanatic with significant delusions of grandeur."

Much of the story has already been told, from bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora (told by the pseudonymous Dalton Fury in Kill bin Laden), and of course, the climactic raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound (in No Easy Day by Matt Bissonnette).

The meat of the book is in the CIA's hunt for bin Laden, featuring a surpr...more
Louise
This book will keep you riveted, cover to cover. It's a powerful story. It's told with a minimum number of acronyms and bureaucratic jargon. Peter Bergen's knowledge of his topic shines through.

The heart of the book is the was long and detailed planning for the final operation. As important as the mission was planning for Pakistan's response to its success or failure. There was advance negotiating for alternative air rights in the event of retaliation by closing US access to Afghanistan. The US...more
Jeffrey Owens
Peter Bergen’s Manhunt is by far the best book that I have read on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Bergen was a CNN reporter who personally met bin Laden for an interview in 1997, wrote a biography of bin Laden, and continued to follow his trail until that trail ended in May 2011. After the bin Laden raid, Bergen traveled to Abbottobad, and was granted permission to personally tour the compound and see where bin Laden was killed.

Manhunt takes the reader through a biographical journey of bin Laden...more
Mary
No doubt this was a compelling read--I'm glad I picked it up on a weekend when I could read it straight through. Presumably because of Bergen's deep immersion in his sources, he offers several details I hadn't read before, such as the heavily female composition of the CIA's original Bin Laden unit ("[Women] seem to have an exceptional knack for detail, for seeing patterns and understanding relationships") and the apparent truth behind Pakastani officials' ignorance that Bin Laden was residing in...more
Jesse
this is really a magazine article streched into a full length book. what most disappointed me about it (besides the rush job to try and capitalize on the event) is that bergen offers not real contemplation on the idea of our soveriegn nation, shooting to kill, in a mission that sounded as if it was assasination all the way. he also breezes right on by the wife and brother of the courier who were shot and killed, not really explining why they shot them. i guess it felt like an outline of the even...more
Paula
It IS an interesting story, but I don't know how much credit the author gets to take for that. The book is a macro political review, not a detailed account of the military and intelligence operations behind the scenes. For me there was little new information presented.

It felt to me the primary purpose of the book was the accolades of Barack Obama and his impeccable decision making skills (what do we do about the White House Correspondence Dinner conflicting with the raid on the compound), repea...more
Steven E
Bergen here plays the role of court historian, offering little beyond what one has already heard in White House press briefings. Sure, there are some impressive "gets" with respect to the people he interviews on record, but these comments are uniformly anodyne. The narrative is untroubled by controversy. In Bergen's world, the War on Terror is unabashedly good. Drone strikes nearly always find their targets, and with minimum civilian casualties; bin Laden's endorsement of Noam Chomsky/Michael Mo...more
Ben
It's a quick read, but a more accurate name of the book would probably be Tora Bora and Abbottabad, as there really isn't much detail about where he was in the intervening years. The narrative around the raid on the compound is of course compelling, but also didn't feel exceptionally more detailed than what already published reports in the Times and elsewhere captured. That said, writing and pacing are good and it's worth picking up if you haven't read much about the raid yet.
Gary Foss
If you've been paying attention to the events of the last decade or so, there's not a lot of big new revelations in this book. Rather, it works pretty well as a summary of events. For someone who has been living in a cave (which a lot fewer people do than apparently most people thought...) this book works as a good overview of America's participation in Afghanistan and the lead up to killing OBL.

There are some pertinent (or, at least, interesting) details in the book. I picked it up because I wa...more
Liam
"The town was founded in 1853 by James Abbott, and English officer who was a bit player in the Great Game that pitted the British and Russians against each other as they struggled for mastery in Central Asia. Somewhat unusually for an administrator of the Raj, Major Abbott was beloved by the inhabitants of Abbottabad." (1)

"Al-Qaeda's leaders were the type of micromanagers familiar to anyone who has toiled in the office of a large organization. ... This bureaucratic structure was demolished by bi...more
Jean
This was an interesting look at how Bin Laden was finally caught and the missteps that made it take so long. It gave me more faith in our intelligence and less in politics.
Vaibhav Anand
Even though I have read three books on Taliban/ Al Qaeda/ Afghanistan already, "Manhunt" stood out as an extremely entertaining thriller which had the pages turning on its own. This is absolutely the best Bin Laden/ Al Qaeda/ Terrorism book that I have read (so far).

Peter Bergen peppers the book with fly-on-the-wall situations such as conversations between and the events of Osama's, George Bush's and Obama's inner circles. He chronicles the exact location, verbiage and even hand gestures of the...more
Sachin Chati
very well formulated and researched work.
One actually feels to be the part of complex and longest manhunt of our times.
hats off to Peter Bergen!!!
Shauna
I thought this was a really interesting account of the hunt for and eventual demise of Osama bin Laden.
Robin Weckerly


Really interesting book. Gave me Osama bin laden dreams for a few days.
Lee Ann
Peter Bergen's Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden is an excellent read. It covers what was nearly 10 years between 9/11 and the Abbottabad raid in May 2011, and provides readers with some interesting insight on what lengths the United States went through. The book itself is an easy read, and moves more like fiction. As someone who is not a news junkie, but stands at the periphery, it was interesting to see this time period laid out. It's quite easy to lose perspective on just what the US...more
David
Very detailed and informative. Though at times highly technical, this book was still accessible to the average reader. Even knowing how the story ended, the details of the discovery of Bin Laden and the preparation and completion of the raid were quite compelling. The only quibble I have is the author's predictions on the outcome of the so-called Arab spring. Violence is flaring in Libya, Syria is a cauldron, and the army in Egypt has effectively outlawed the Muslim brotherhood, despite their po...more
Karen
I just looked to see who might have recommended this book to me and NONE of my goodreads friends have read it! I can't figure out why I had it on my "to read" list but I'm glad I did. It was fascinating! Gruesome, yet fascinating. If you've ever wanted to know more on this subject and how the US Government goes about finding foreign criminals, I highly recommend this book. With it being non-fiction, I visualized taking forever to get through it. I blew through it! It reads like a novel yet I've...more
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  • The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
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  • The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America
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Peter Bergen (born 1962) is an American born, England-raised print and television journalist, author, and CNN's national security analyst. Bergen produced the first television interview with Osama Bin Laden in 1997. The interview, which aired on CNN, marked the first time that bin Laden declared war against the United States to a Western audience. Bergen has written several books including: Holy W...more
More about Peter L. Bergen...
The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11 Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda's Leader Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religion Свещената война: В тайния свят на ислямския тероризъм

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