s's Reviews > The Man Who Warned America: The Life and Death of John O'Neill, the FBI's Embattled Counterterror Warrior

The Man Who Warned America by Murray Weiss
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's review
Jun 29, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, biography, world-affairs
Read in September, 2004

** spoiler alert ** The Man Who Warned America
Murray Weiss
$22.95 CDN (Softcover)

For anyone older than an infant on Sept. 11, 2001, the spectacle and horror of that day's events will remain burned in their memory.

But despite the volumes of information collected about the chain of circumstances that led to 9/11, comparatively few people are aware of John O'Neill, the man who led the FBI's counterterrorism fight before he was pushed out of the Bureau, his warnings about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda largely falling on deaf ears.

Award-winning New York Post investigative journalist Mark Weiss spins a painstakingly researched and compelling tale of the driven, working-class son of Atlantic City cab drivers who employed his sharp intellect and dogged determination to fulfill his boyhood dream of becoming a top FBI agent.

He paints a vivid portrait of a fiercely patriotic, loyal, grand and flawed figure who loved the finer things in life and loved women even more, seeking out the simultaneous attentions and approval of a string of women although he was married with two children.

But his personal foibles never interfered with his work, which came before all else, those who knew him said -- a fact demonstrated by his long hours, relentless pursuit of truth when others were ready to close a case, and his pioneering use of many investigative techniques that are today standard FBI procedure.

Despite all of the charisma, charm and wit that served him so well in his work, he was unable to convince his superiors and senior U.S. administration officials to truly understand the threat posed by bin Laden and al Qaeda, and avert the disaster to come.

In an ironic twist of fate, O'Neill would prove to his naysayers that he was right -- at the cost of his life. He had earlier predicted an attack on the World Trade Center would occur, and died as the second tower collapsed little more than a week after he had left the Bureau to start a new job as head of security at the doomed structure.

Saleem Khan

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