Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Richard Clarke's dramatic statement to the grieving families during the 9/11 Commission hearings touched a raw nerve across America. Not only had our government failed to prevent the 2001 terrorist attacks, but it has proven itself, time and again, incapable of handling the majority of our most crucial national security issues, from Iraq to Katrina and beyond. This is not...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Ecco
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Your Government Failed You, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Your Government Failed You

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinA People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnThe Conscience of a Liberal by Paul KrugmanNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Best Progressive Reads
100th out of 427 books — 211 voters
A People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisAmerica (The Book) by Jon Stewart1776 by David McCulloughAssassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
The Daily Show Reading Club
132nd out of 313 books — 168 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 397)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Richard Clarke worked for decades in the United States government's national security world. He reached the upper levels of government serving as an Assistant Secretary State and as the chief counter-terrorism official. He left government in 2003 over his disagreements overIraq policy. Shortly thereafter he wrote Against All Enemies, a memoir of his service, as well as a sharp critique of the Bush Administration's terror policy. In his latest book, Your Government Failed You, expands his critiqu...more
As much as Clarke likes to toot his own horn, I can easily overlook that when thinking about some of his ideas and that there aren't very many as qualified experience wise as he is, to actually understand the subjects he writes about.

It's complicated and he's been in the drivers seat when it comes to Washington insiders and Pentagon highups for a long time.

Cheers for having the guts to take on some hard issues facing this country.
Mr. Clark makes many valid points identifying failures by the federal government. In fact, I might say he makes a powerful argument for why the federal government shouldn't be in charge of much of anything. And may they really probably shouldn't be trusted with managing/controlling 25% of the US economy, healthcare. But that's another debate.

Mr. Clark traces back to the roots of several calamities made worse by our "leaders" in the executive and legislative branches of our Federal government. Ir...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Must reading for those wanting insights into what lead up to 9-11, how 9-11 has been used for harm as well as somewhat for good purposes, how complicated the business/industrial/government complexes are in the 21st Century. Clarke's writing is clear, moves quickly with great detail, and is well measured. He states that not only has our country failed us but that he also failed us in not getting the influence and power to keep the Bush administration from basing foreign and war policies on lies a...more
This book takes an uncompromising look at the inability of the government to prevent security and intelligence failures, like those that occurred before 9/11.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the US Army had no counter-insurgency strategy. Part of the reason was to not resurrect unpleasant memories from Vietnam, and part of the reason was the absolute belief among top officials of the Bush Administration that it would not be needed, that the US troops would be greeted as liberators. It wasn’t until...more
The last thing I expected to find in this book was repeated exonerations of Cheney. Yet there they are. In this and many other ways, this was not the book I expected to read (and dislike.) Perhaps my confusion was due to the title. If the publisher had fired "Your Government Failed You", eliminated the position of Subtitle, and promoted "Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters" to the office of Title, the result would have been briefer, more clear, and almost as snappy. Of course, one...more
Ego aside, he clearly knows what he's talking about. While I'm not so sure more oversight committees could have prevented malfeasance by Cheney and his ilk, this is still chocked full of great analysis and recommendations. His passion and belief that government has a constructive and honorable role is refreshing in this day of bashing government to climb in the polls. Almost made me want to sign up.

While the book is probably too broad in its focus -- it lost me at times -- his sections on cyber...more
Larry Schofer
Clarke is the counter-terrorism expert who resigned in protests from the Bush administration. In his earlier book he talked about how Rice and others simple ignored the proglems. In this book he talks about failures of the intelligence community. I was particularly interested in how he shows the lessons drawn by the military from the war in Vietnam - intended to show that in a future war we would have to reinstitute the draft or else call up the national guard. They thought we would never call t...more
Clarke discusses America's national security situation, pre-9/11 and post. He addresses the problem areas (just about everything) and what possible solutions are. This isn't a difficult read (although the acronyms got to be a bit much) and it's enlightening. Basically, our governmnent, bloated with political appointees and overpaid, underqualified civilian contractors, won't take security seriously until there's a few more 9/11s. Then the military, Congress, the President will stop fooling aroun...more
Beth A
Yes, I'm a Richard Clarke fan even though he can sound preachy at times. I found Against All Enemies was quite preachy, but in this work Clarke is much less so. He offers so many really sound, well thought out strategies (policy, social, economic, infrastructure) to fix our national security and revamp our image in the Arab world. I hope someone in the new administration reviews this work.
"I first became aware of the author when he was the top cybersecurity official in Washington DC. A career public servant in the intel community, his honest post 9-11 indictments of the intelligence community made it easy to trust him. Unfortunately, when reading about the bumbles and foibles of politicians and insular intelligence officials, you won't think any more positively about the future."
Jul 04, 2008 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: military buffs and policy wonks
Shelves: audiobook, politics
Not sure I'd recommend the audio version this book - author reads well, but much of the material is fairly dry, along the lines of a public policy textbook (although the points/suggestions themselves are spot on!); the print version would work better for those tempted to skim, as I was during the first half, dealing with post-Vietnam military policy.
I liked getting a viewpoint from somebody who was in the trenches. I found the book a little dry and academic, but it was a fascinating look into how the current military and foreign policy positions our government practices were developed in the wake of the Vietnam War, and how they affected the Iraq and Afghanistan deployments.
Alex R
Richard Clarke is a big time bureaucrat who has a few good ideas about improving U.S. national security. He spends too much time disagreeing with the frivolous detail of Bush 43s national security implementation (e.g. jumbo trons at the NCTC) and too little on substance.
Much more of a textbook or extended white paper than Against All Enemies. I would recommend Against All Enemies instead of this unless you are very interested in national security/current affairs.
Mar 01, 2010 ACRL added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Peter Hernon. Learn more about Peter on the ACRL Insider blog.
Chris Morrow
I like Clarke's books, I think it's interesting to see an insider's perspective on the situation. Given how things went, it's illuminating to say the least.
Feb 21, 2010 columbialion rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every American
Recommended to columbialion by: Self
Highly credible push back from former National Security Chief Clarke on the root causes of the massive American intelligence failure precipitating 911.
You can't trust your government. If you think you are middle class, you are probably poor or you will soon be poor. Your country is going to hell.
Clarke continues to be one of the best commentators and analysts on the actions of the U.S. government related to security.
Alex H
Dec 02, 2008 Alex H rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in understanding how Government works and how federal policies impact everything
I really enjoyed this book.
source is currently reading it
Sep 13, 2014
Scott Powell
Scott Powell marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2014
Marianna is currently reading it
Sep 11, 2014
Greg added it
Sep 04, 2014
Carl-johan Enström
Carl-johan Enström marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2014
Dawn Edwards
Dawn Edwards marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2014
Claire marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
Yamana marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
  • What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception
  • Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
  • House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties
  • The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-08
  • At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA
  • The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism
  • Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy
  • The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
  • Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency
  • The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina
  • Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else
  • American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
  • Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class
  • Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude
  • Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
  • The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent
Richard Alan Clarke was a U.S. government employee for 30 years, 1973–2003. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordina...more
More about Richard A. Clarke...
Against All Enemies Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security & What to Do About It The Scorpion's Gate Breakpoint Sting of the Drone

Share This Book