Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “State of Denial” as Want to Read:
State of Denial
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

State of Denial

(Bush at War #3)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,884 ratings  ·  233 reviews
"Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year." This was the secret Pentagon assessment sent to the White House in May 2006. The forecast of a more violent 2007 in Iraq contradicted the repeated optimistic statements of President Bush, including one, two days earlier, when he sa ...more
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published May 7th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 30th 2006)
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 State of Denial, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about State of Denial

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,884 ratings  ·  233 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of State of Denial
Mar 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Well, Woodward certainly got some of the inside skinny, but for my money, Fiasco is a much better book - better writing, clearer timeline, more complete look at all the players involved, esp. military (although I like how obsessed Woodward is with blaming everything on Rumsfeld!). This book feels like a giant apology/"don't blame me!" for Woodward's uncritical support of the administration in the run-up to the war. ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this book remarkably quickly (for me), it really drives at a great pace, and it isn't hard to follow. You have to play close attention to the names of all the people, but enough of them have already been in the news that it isn't all that hard. It's just tough to figure out which general is which sometimes.
Unbelievable, some of the sequences of events which Woodward writes about. He had exhaustive interviews with just about everyone in the Bush administration and with so many generals, a
Jonathan Mckay
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
State of Denial is not a book about the Iraq war. It is a book about the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. Woodward uses his legendary though diminished access to the presidency to paint a picture of the Whitehouse that was disorganized, divided, and ultimately dysfunctional. Rather than pursue a general thesis condemning the administration, Woodward takes a chronological narrative style focusing on characters and interactions which serves to provide an interesting angle.

This focu
Kunal Lal
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, strategy
This book can be read in many ways, as a historical novel, a stylized piece on recent history (1999 - 2006) or even as a management case study. Consider the Bush cabinet, made up of hard working, brilliant men and women with stellar records, exceptional work habits who nonetheless failed miserably when put in action.
An inexperienced Bush lacked the confidence to rein in the oversized personalities of Rumsfeld and Cheney, instead he seemed to trust whatever he was told. Powell turned out to be to
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
I guess I should have given it more than two stars, because it functions well as a simple straightforward (somewhat) objective journalistic account of who said what to whom (at least that they later felt comfortable repeating to Bob Woodward) in the White House's decision to go to and continue war in Iraq. However, the bias does show through, sometimes to the right, like when he refers to the Brookings Institute as a "left-wing think tank," and then not even two pages later, refers to the RAND c ...more
Will Byrnes
Woodward continues his excuse-making for Bush here, portraying him as not being fully informed by his underlings. But he also shows Bush to be uninterested in information that does not support his pre-conceived notions. He shows him yet again to be a very incurious person content to be a cheerleader, doling out pablum with no real content. Rumsfeld is shown in all his glory as an evil, Machiavellian inside player, incredible in his ability to do exactly what he pleases despite the overt directiv ...more
Dennis Littrell
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Exhaustive indictment of Bush's failure in Iraq

There is a sense in reading this long book that the overall import of the Bush administration's efforts in Iraq are lost in the thicket of the words, lost among the turf wars and the personality clashes, among the intense concentrations on each individual action or speech, each personnel change and the myriad events on the ground. But Woodward's title makes it clear what has happened: the Bush administration through flawed (or lack of) foresight, ig
John Miller
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There were four Woodward books focusing on the Iraq War and the Bush Administration, and this is by far the best of the four. (I did read the fourth installment "The War Within" before this one, coincidentally.) The descriptions of Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, and Powell are enlightening and in many cases, disturbing. And the overall mind-set, that the Iraq War was a defensive response to 911, among the civilian AND military leaders during the first six years of the new century is revealing and alarm ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part III of Woodward's 4-part series, Bush At War. The degree to which Bush policies for post war Iraq lacked strategy is astonishing. An incredible example of how bright people, when they don't work together as a team and focus narrowly on their own preconceived notions, can create incredible chaos. ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shocking. Depressing. Illuminating.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There's a circle of Hell reserved for the Bush administration. That is all. ...more
Smiley McGrouchpants Jr.
Aug 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
"Victor Hugo is a madman who thinks he is Victor Hugo," as the saying goes, and that means George W. BUSH thinks he is ... President??

"I didn't need his permission," he says to the author, recounting a conversation with Colin POWELL, and the subtext/implication is: You got that right.. He was born to Bush, born to lead, and the whole implication through the whole book is: It's too late to go back now!

When did this get started?? Well, with Washington crossing the Delaware, and a limited number of
Peter K
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, history
Bob Woodward's rightful reputation as the chronicler of modern American history is further enhanced by this further book examining the presidency of George W Bush after the start of the Iraq invasion and carrying over his re-election to office in 2004.

Readers familiar with Woodward's methods will recognise the manner in which this book unfolds.

With unrivalled access to the main protagonists for both on and off the record input as well as a meticulous eye for detail and evidence gathering this is
Aik Lim
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This final book of his trilogy of Bush at War details the disastrous invasion of Iraq which at time of this review, continues to drag the US in the quagmire that is nation building in Iraq. Painted a dysfunctional Bush Admin where too much politics is played within the national security apparatus and no one to push back on Rumsfeld. 2 key points in light of the Trump Admin -- the Bush II Admin had the best foreign policy and military braintrust to count on and still failed -- what chance the idi ...more
Dennis Murphy
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
State of Denial by Bob Woodward is when the disaster that was the Iraq War becomes apparent. Bush at War was vital for understanding the initial war on terror, and Plan of Attack was like watching a slow-moving train-wreck (or maybe watching the Titanic heading out of port and into the North Atlantic). State of Denial is the payoff, and a terrible one at that. It is less instrumental than the prior two, but it remains important to possessing a view of the Iraq War that is not prone to caricature ...more
Mandi Scott
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it

White House or Animal House?
Written by Mandi Chestler on September 18th, 2007
Book Rating: 4/5
Bob Woodward's 3rd installment in the Bush at War series provides a deeply disturbing picture of George the Second's disfunctional administration. These guys should be leading toga parties, not the "free world." Woodward's somewhat gossipy look at the personalities, behaviors and decisions of the worst president and White House administration in the history of the United States is entertaining, yet distr
Kyth Palma
Jan 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The final book closed the controversy on the Iraq War. Woodward stated the events of who were involved in the decision-making and advices, who had active roles, what went wrong and what happened. The surprise in the book which grasped the interest was the involvement of Henry Kissinger. It was answered in the later part of what were his insights about this war. WMD was never found but in defense, Bush said Saddam was close in creating one. Was the act justified against a tyrrant or was there an ...more
Mike Medeiros
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Woodward gets inside access but like mist of what I have read by him it reads like a book by committee or dictation since so much wirk is usually done by assistants and researchers. And also because so much of his work (including this one) is written about very current events, many still on going, there isn't a finality to the ending.
But if you know that going in and keep it in mind there's usually plenty to hold your interest.
In terms of the groundwork that went into this book it was excellent. Woodward did some serious research and talked to officials from every level it seems. As always he is an excellent reporter. But, he is a very poor analyst. As a reporter he has the luxury of not needing to offer an alternative. This book is filled with side critiques and digs but the combination of them is a little mystifying. For example, he spends much of the book making oblique criticisms of Bush for not being involved eno ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The final chapter in the Bush at War series for Woodward. It ends the way it began, showing how the few who were in charge had no idea what they were doing, and refusing to accept it as fact. If only egos could be tamed.
Seth J. Vogelman
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If true, it is a confirmation of the evilness of Rumsfeld, the criminal naivety of Bremer and the lack of leadership on Bush's part, turning Iraq into the debacle it became. Having watched it unfold while it happened, reading the gritty details is especially painful. ...more
Jarred Goodall
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Not Woodward's best work, but solid, nonetheless...the evidence he provides draws readers to the logic conclusion that many in the public held at that time and today, which remains that we went to war in Iraq under false pretenses, and got thousands of innocents killed. ...more
Graham Powell
Jul 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
Saddam Hussein was a vile monster. The Iraqi population was oppressed. But freedom can mean different things in different contexts and Iraq isn't Washington. Yet out of the chaos in DC came chaos in Baghdad. ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Very good. Very detailed. Learned why I never liked Donald Rumsfeld!!
Mike Lazio
Mar 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
Difficult to follow because of so many people referred to throughout the book. Informative and gives a good historical account of how incompetent Donald Rumsfeld was.
Sep 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched book on Bush’s decision to invade Iraq with most of the book taken up with the poor planning and implementation of a plan for post-invasion.
Doug Mitchell
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Watergate Never Looked So Good
“State of Denial”
Bob Woodward
Simon & Schuster

If you have had the misfortune of reading a few of my book reviews, you will know that I am very fond of fiction. How I wish “State of Denial” was fiction.

Unfortunately, the story is not fiction. It’s all too real. The front page headline that greeted readers of the Independent Record under the banner of “Happy New Year,” read “U.S. death toll in Iraq breaks 3,000.” It doesn’t get any more real than that.

With the publicat
Mark Young
This again was a book being discarded by the library. I probably would have picked it up as interesting anyway, but the author is of course famous for his investigative reporting which uncovered Watergate, when I was in high school. Reading something by him was worth the effort even though there was a suggestion that this was the third book in a series.

To that, it isn't really. Woodward has written two other books addressing something of the same period, what we might call the second Iraq war un
Reader Variety
Another in a big grouping of analyses of Iraq. Woodward either had, or implies that he had, great access to the inner workings of the Bush administration.

Most interesting point is that Woodward claims that after Sept. 11th Wolfowitz put together a "Bletchley Park" group of the best minds on Islam and the Middle East - Bernard Lewis, Fareed Zakaria, James Q. Wilson etc. Their conclusion was that the U.S. was in for a 2 generation battle with radical Islam, and the start was with Iraq as it was do
Steven Peterson
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
In some senses, this book by Bob Woodward was somewhat behind the curve and something of a "Johnny Come Lately." We saw a number of journalists raise questions about America's invasion of Iraq before his book came out, including works such as Fallows' Blind into Baghdad, Diamond's Squandered Victory, Packer's The Assassin's Gate, Ricks' Fiasco, Galbraith's The End of Iraq, Suskind's The One Percent Solution, Risen's State of War, Rich's The Greatest Story Ever Sold, and Shadid's Night Draws Near ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Politics 1 13 Sep 07, 2008 09:58PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • All the President's Men
  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
  • It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office
  • Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980
  • The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower
  • The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era
  • Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class
  • In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America's "Deep State"
  • The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45
  • A Promised Land
  • Deadly Cross (Alex Cross, #28)
  • Fever Pitch: The Rise of the Premier League 1992-2004
  • The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
  • Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets
  • The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians
  • Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign
  • Forever Odd (Odd Thomas, #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti ...more

Other books in the series

Bush at War (4 books)
  • Bush at War
  • Plan of Attack
  • The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-08

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
32 likes · 2 comments