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Against All Enemies

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,979 Ratings  ·  205 Reviews
"The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda....A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat."

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Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 26th 2004 by Free Press (first published March 22nd 2004)
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Will Byrnes
This is the center of the controversy. Clarke is the most informed insider when it comes to the federal government's response to and planning for terrorism. He should know. As the White House anti-terrorism Czar he was in a central position from the 90s to 2003, and was in the business for 30 years, covering the presidencies of Reagan, Bush the first, Clinton and Bush 43. He says that the incoming Bush administration was so contrarian about Clinton that they ignored the plans and advice proffere ...more
Scott Porch
Jan 16, 2009 Scott Porch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fucking scary. Clark had the curious fortune of heading counterterrorism in both the Clinton White House and the Bush White House. The latter was worse by a gigantic margin. The day after 9/11, Bush was pacing the Situation Room beneath the West Wing asking everyone whether they thought Iraq had anything to do with it. He certainly thought so, as did Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. Or not. It’s hard to tell the difference between the dishonest and the misguided in the Bush Administration. Either ...more
Jul 19, 2007 Jrobertus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a must read for the limited number of intelligent americans. clarke relates his history as a presidential advisor from reagan to w bush. the pace is brisk and breezy, like a thriller, but crammed with fascinating facts about government operations. the payoff is that w appears as a gullible dimwit manipulated by fossilized cold-warriors unable to realize the dangers to a post soviet world posed by terrorists. i could go on at length.
Jun 24, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by Richard A. Clarke

"Against All Enemies" is a fascinating book about the recent history of terrorism during the presidential years of Bush senior, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from the point of view from insider and counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke. This 352-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1.Evacuate the White House, 2. Stumbling into the Islamic World, 3. Unfinished Mission, Unintended Consequences, 4. Terro
Nov 02, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Clarke has worked in the area of national security for the past 30 years. He was head of counterterrorism affairs for Presidents Clinton and Bush II. In this book, he severely criticizes the current Bush Administration for its lack of interest in terrorism and al Qaeda before 9/11, and its disastrous decisions afterwards.

He first explores the Reagan and Bush I reactions to events like Lockerbie, TWA 800, and the Beirut bombing that killed over 200 American soldiers. The word "terrorism"
Mar 04, 2011 Micaela rated it it was ok
There was some really great insight at the opening of the book about what happened on and right after 9/11, and also suggestions at the end of the book about how to handle foreign relations and use of force after 9/11. However, the meat of the book was a bitchfest of I-told-you-so's and all the ways that Clinton was better than Bush Jr. Maybe too much about 9/11 is still classified, but this tell-all felt like either a teaser/prequel, or just a way for Clarke to complain about what wasn't done t ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
Reading this concurrent with Donald Trump saying about Obama, ". . . ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS, he's the founder of ISIS, the founder . . . .", even if he meant it metaphorically regarding Obama's policies & responses - which Trump, by the way, denies meaning - the book makes him look uninformed & foolish. Good book. Informative. Helpful in placing terrorism today in a context that makes the history meaningful. Clarke is open about his perceptions being ...more
Les Aucoin
May 27, 2012 Les Aucoin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In this authoritative account of the U.S.'s rash rush to war in Iraq, the US's former chief counter-terrorism adviser describes in searing detail the fool's errand that Bush and Cheney sent us on in their war of choice, not necessity. Written by one who was there, and wasn't listened to. Read it to help ensure this never happens again.
Mar 25, 2015 Patrick rated it liked it
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Nov 02, 2016 Jerome rated it liked it
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Pooja Anand
A fantastic historical insider view by Richard Clark, this is one of those books that would make you frustrated with every line you read. And this is what happened with me. This is not the first account of events inside the White House on 9/11 and in the desperate days that followed. It was Bob Woodward, in Bush at War, who first described how the neo-conservatives tried to link the attack on the Twin Towers with Iraq and goaded Bush to use it as a pretext for war against Saddam Hussein. However ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Anthony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in counterterrorism efforts before the second Bush
Recommended to Anthony by: internet
Richard Clarke's book was extremely informative and the details of previous administrations efforts against terrorist activity helped me frame, and better understand the situation America finds itself in today. It made me think about topics not only in the context of recent events, but with the knowledge of American involvement and history in the Middle East, which gradually led to increased Arab animosities and eventually to the Sept 11th attacks. This became the catalyst that changed all Ameri ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Marilyn marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I feel that I need to educate myself as much as possible, before I vote this year. This book seems like a great place to I ordered my copy today.
Tommy /|\
Dec 10, 2010 Tommy /|\ rated it really liked it
The critics claim that he had an axe to grind against Shrub's Administration for not appointing him to a position in their Administration. After reading the book, you can definitely say that -- for about 30 pages in the book. The other 273 pages detail a lot of the failings of four Administrations (the current Administration is not included in this book, simply because they weren't running for office in 2004). At several junctures, Clarke points out that America has not been good about keeping e ...more
Nov 15, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My husband has just bought Dude Where’s My Country and Liars and the Lying Lies they Tell. Before I read those I wanted to read what may have really happened, sans humor. (Five years later I still haven't read Al Franken...)

I rarely read non-fiction for fun, but this highly readable book was often shocking and disturbing. Clarke spent thirty years working for the Pentagon and the Executive Branch attempting to protect Americans from just the kind of attack that happened on 9/11. The FBI hid the
Row Dela Rosa Yoon
Dec 28, 2012 Row Dela Rosa Yoon rated it really liked it
Shelves: america
The September 11, 2001 terror attacks were wake-up calls to take heed of the ripened and full-grown terrorism against America. Richard Clarke warns that any counter-attack against the enemy will only create more enemies, some are visible and known and some are not. The unknown enemies have a vast and extensive global network. They are lurking in the fog ready, at any time, to strike.

From Publishers Weekly

From the first thrilling chapter, which takes readers into the White House center of operati
Arun Prasath
A good read for everyone who wants to know about how US stepped in to the war on terror. Richard Clarke presents many insider facts and his versions of the 9/11 tragedy, events at the White House and criticism of the way America responded. The US has a long history of interference in the affairs of various countries both for genuine and political reasons. And, terrorism did not start with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attack as many would think. It goes way long back in to the history. Its shocking to re ...more
Sashank Mohan
Gripping and full of revelations. This amazing piece of work has been on my to-read list for years till I finally got my hands on a copy...

For people who never heard of Dick Clarke, he's been one of America's go-to guys when it came to Counterterrorism since the early 1980s until 9/11, has served under Ronald Reagan, Bush the elder, Bill Clinton as well as George W. Bush.

Clarke, who had one helluva story to tell gives a blow-by-blow account of almost every major conflict and counterterrorism eff
Aaron Crossen
May 18, 2007 Aaron Crossen rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, memoirs
I totally devoured this book. I wish I would have read it three years ago. Essentially, it's a stripped down memoir of former White House counterterrorism expert Dick Clarke's career as a civil servant. I say stripped down, because it focuses almost exclusively on the bureaucratic struggles and politiciking behind the hunt for al Qaeda before 9/11. No time for coffee or breakfast; this guy has four administrations to get through.

But is it ever riveting. While I had read stories in the papers an
Ethan Cramer-Flood
Oct 28, 2008 Ethan Cramer-Flood rated it it was amazing
I'm a little behind the eight-ball with this read. I guess I figured late 2008 was a good time to catch up on the book that dominated the news cycle and punditocracy for most of 2004. I wasn't disappointed though: Clarke's tell-all doesn't feel dated, and for my money it's the most important international affairs book of the post-9/11 era.

You haven't lived until you've read the first 15 pages of this book. In all seriousness, I've never read non-fiction as intense, dramatic, and fascinating as h
John Wiswell
Aug 07, 2007 John Wiswell rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Political readers, people who'd like to know what they're talking about
One of the best-written (even if it was probably ghost written) memoirs to come out of Washington D.C. in quite some time, Richard Clarke takes us inside the anti-terrorism wards of four presidents - from Reagan to the W. Bush. His best gift is to illustrate the attitude of each regime, and where their interests lay. It's written very sharply, drawing some excellent scenes from real life, including the opening - 9/11 in the White House. It is critical of all administrations, but considerably mor ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Donald rated it really liked it
This book fleshed out for me the reasons that make me believe that going to war with Iraq was a mistake. Although Clarke probably has some political axe to grind or some money to make from the indictments he levels at the current Bush administration, his clear reasoning and the fact that he worked for Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes, make me believe what he has to say. And that is, that somehow Bush I and Bush II have some obsession with Iraq that has skewed their perception of the threat it pose ...more
Sep 14, 2016 Gavin rated it really liked it
Late to this book, but Richard A. Clarke has a better understanding of our enemies than both the GW Bush and BH Obama administrations. Hence, why things are about to get really bad in the Middle East and Europe.

I'll be honest, yet again, I have to say the slam dunk was predicted for the wrong team, but an easy block could have changed the world.

Jun 12, 2008 Antigone rated it it was amazing
Did you ever wonder, in retrospect, what was really happening in the old White House while we were all being led down the garden path into a war in Iraq? Oh, there are some great shows out there that will give you the scoop (Frontline recently did a multiple show synopsis that was head-spinning) but really, aren't they all just fronts for the liberal leftist media? For everyone who nodded in response to that last query, grab the most recent version of Against All Enemies. Richard Clarke, my frie ...more
Aug 03, 2011 Andrea rated it liked it
Came across this in my dad's collection while reading Blair's bio, got to Blair's discussion of Iraq and thought I'd slip this in. It definitely makes me think Blair is a liar, because I definitely don't think he's a fool. This is not slick, it is not a man opening up his inner world and thoughts to you though it is by force somewhat autobiographical. It is an account of everything he and the white house have done to prevent terrorist attacks, and that is much more than I realised. Once again, i ...more
Nancy Schober
Oct 22, 2012 Nancy Schober rated it it was amazing
A horrifying glimpse into the train wreck relationship between the CIA and FBI immediately before 911. Hindsight is 20/20 they say. After reading the briefing at the end that said, ‘something horrible is going to happen soon, somewhere’ - I can see why Bush didn’t immediately shake billions of dollars free to buy gas masks/radiation burn kits for the entire population of New York City.

Now that Clinton is out of office his brilliance is really beginning to come to light, the story of him here is
Aug 27, 2016 Kurt rated it really liked it
A fascinating, riveting, and compelling indictment of the Bush administration. Its obsession with invading Iraq and its refusal to seriously address and deal with the al-Qaeda problem are brilliantly described by Richard A. Clarke - a terrorism expert and White House insider. No one has more or better experience or credentials to write a book like this than does Clarke. He speaks with authority and conviction; we ignore him at our own peril.

He writes:
September 11 erased memories of the unique
Dec 09, 2007 Bryan rated it liked it
This book is similar in its presentation to another I read by another National Security Council staffer, David Rothkopf, entitled "Running the World."

I purposely chose to avoid reading this book for quite a time after it came out, as I generally dislike the "timely" political non-fiction. I find that the basic premise is:

I was right. Nobody listened to me. The government operated best when I was at the zenith of power during my career. It was bad before I got to this point and has fallen apart s
Mar 06, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing
As the election approaches, I feel a moral imperative to do more research on the subject. I'm sure this will only solidify my vote, but I see it as a civic obligation to be more informed.
While I wouldn't give the book 5 stars because of the writing style or cleverness of language, the sheer importance of the issue and the enlightenment he brings to the subject warrants the high rating. Simply put, every American should read this book. Or for those with short attention spans, at least the f
Steven Kaminski
Aug 13, 2016 Steven Kaminski rated it it was amazing
Intense Book. Richard Clarke on 9/11 was running the government's counter terrorism response. In other words while President Bush was off reading 'My Pet Goat' and Cheney was being whisked to a bunker...Clarke was the man coordinating with all of the agencies in the United States government to get the response in line from the CIA and the FBI to the FAA and the EPA. He is the one who got the FAA to ground all air traffic. He is the guy who got Bush fighter escorts after Air Force One took off. S ...more
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Does Richard Clarke provide any answers to the current Iraq dilemma? 1 17 Mar 31, 2008 11:27AM  
  • Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
  • Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
  • The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
  • House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties
  • State of Denial
  • Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet
  • Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
  • American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
  • The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
  • Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
  • Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
  • A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the  Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies
  • Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
  • The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq
  • The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception
  • Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America
  • The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Put the White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity
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
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“George Bush was right, however, when he said that “Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.” He made it so. He turned it from a nation that was not threatening us into a breeding ground for anti-American hatred. For a generation or more, we will be the victims of Iraqi revenge. And the Iraqis are not alone. The scenes of the U.S. occupation have inflamed Islamic opinion from Morocco and Western Europe, through the Middle East and South Asia, to Thailand and Indonesia. Radical Islamicists will not easily or soon be dissuaded of their hatred of America. Egypt’s President had said, “Before you invade Iraq there is one Usama bin Laden, after you invade there will be hundreds.” Hosni Mubarak was right. I” 0 likes
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