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

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,722 Ratings  ·  323 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
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Trish
Most of us already know the story of bin Laden's capture, so it wasn't any particular interest in the subject matter that led me to this book. I'd just finished Bergen's United States of Jihad: Americans Fighting for Radical Islam--from al-Qaeda to ISIS when this book became available in audio at my library. Bergen is an exceptional journalist--he writes with a comprehensiveness that a reader can appreciate. Most any question you can think of is answered, and many you did not think to ask.

What w
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Lisa B.
Sep 02, 2012 Lisa B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
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
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John DeDakis
Aug 29, 2012 John DeDakis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jonny99
Jul 20, 2012 Jonny99 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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Michael Gerald
May 01, 2013 Michael Gerald rated it it was amazing
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
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Brenton
Jun 06, 2012 Brenton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Connor Salazar
Jan 11, 2016 Connor Salazar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manhunt by Peter L Bergen is a nonfiction novel which covers a very widely known topic, from a different Perspective. The topic is the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. This narrative, starting at the infamous 9/11 attacks and spanning all the way past Abbottabad, is a gripping, dark, and terrifyingly real story. Written by Peter L. Bergen, a CNN news analyst and Al Qaeda expert, Manhunt explores the inner workings of the dreaded terrorist organizations leader. Bergen is able to share a very interesting ...more
Samuel Waldrop
Jan 12, 2016 Samuel Waldrop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manhunt by Peter Bergen is the account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden from many different perspectives. The book starts with the infamous 9/11 attacks that brought America to its knees and held the world’s attention. Instead of staying around the time of the attacks the book moves on how the ten year search for Osama was conducted behind the scenes. Peter Bergen then continues to tell the tale of the brave men and women of the Navy seals and the raid on Osama bin Laden which is awe inspiring. B ...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
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Jimmy
Nov 09, 2013 Jimmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2012 Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Jessica
May 18, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
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
Jan 27, 2013 Shaun Lysen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Joe
Mar 30, 2013 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Louise
Nov 17, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: obama, pakistan
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
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Jeffrey Owens
May 07, 2013 Jeffrey Owens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mary
May 20, 2012 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2012 Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Zack
Jul 14, 2015 Zack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was alright.
Graham Shank
Jan 11, 2016 Graham Shank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manhunt was about the 10 year manhunt for al-Qaeda’s infamous leader, Osama Bin Laden. The book discusses the entire story from the founding of the CIA’s “Bin Laden” unit in the late 90’s to the famous 2012 operation that killed the world’s most wanted man. The book contains details surrounding Bin Laden’s personal life, the organization and daily operation of one of the world’s most infamous terror groups, the trail of intelligence and the founding and structure of JSOC, the elite group of spe ...more
Sarajean
In Manhunt by Peter L. Bergen, he writes about the ten year search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbotabad. Bergen writes about the defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, and how the American forces came close to capturing Osama Bin Laden while he was hiding out in a secure place. As the only journalist allowed to have this certain access inside Bin Ladens compound, he writes about Bin Laden's life vividly and his struggle to gain control of the Taliban. Also, Bergen writes about his trip to the Situa ...more
Steve
Nov 09, 2014 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If it were up to Joe Biden and Robert Gates, Osama bin Laden might very well still be breathing the Pakistani mountain air around Abbottabad. As author Peter Bergen points out in this printed documentary, both the vice president and secretary of defense at the time thought a helicopter raid on bin Laden’s hideout was too risky. According to Bergen, in late April of 2011, Biden told the nation’s commander-in-chief, “Mister President, my suggestion is: Don’t go.” Gates reportedly told that final p ...more
Paula
May 06, 2014 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Steven E
Mar 30, 2014 Steven E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2012 Ben rated it liked it
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.
Glenda
Jan 20, 2016 Glenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Berg met Osama bin Laden in 1997 when he produced his first television interview for CNN, and he was one of the first outside observers allowed in to the Abbottabad compound (February 2012) where bin Laden had been living, two weeks prior to it's demolition. Fifteen years covering news about the man gives you a sense of perspective and history the author has for the subject.

The story is well known, but this is a very well researched (even many of the details are cited for their source), a
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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
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Alvin
Feb 23, 2016 Alvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly well researched book on what happened to OBL from 9/11 until his demise written in a clear and engaging narrative - really top notch journalism. It was particularly fruitful to cross reference this account with "No Easy Day" which gives the perspective of the SEALs on the ground.

As I expected, there were mammoth political considerations that went into the planning and decision to greenlight the mission. A bold call that could have turned into a repeat of the botched Eagle One rescu
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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
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“For an organization devoted to revolutionary holy war, the pre-9/11 al-Qaeda sometimes had the feel of an insurance company, albeit a heavily armed one.” 0 likes
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. —ATTRIBUTED TO WINSTON CHURCHILL” 0 likes
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