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Plan of Attack

(Bush at War #2)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  4,994 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Plan of Attack is the definitive account of how and why President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launched a preemptive attack to topple Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq. Bob Woodward's latest landmark account of Washington decision making provides an original, authoritative narrative of behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years, examining the causes and consequence ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 11th 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,994 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Timothy R.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My favorite memory of this book has nothing to do with what's written. When I was going through security at the Frankfurt airport a guard took my book off the X-ray conveyor belt and said in English, with a thick German accent, "Plan of Attack. It's not a real plan, is it?"
Erik Graff
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone too lazy to read a serious history of our second Iraq war
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
Shelves: history
I've read at least seven of Bob Woodward's instant history books so far. Like sugar candies, they go down easy. Like sugar candies they aren't satisfying.

Read Woodward with caution. His background raises an eyebrow. He comes out of Naval Intelligence, having been, among other things, General Alexander Haig's briefer. His contacts there, and the very figures he relies on for his insider accounts of events qualify his objectivity and his candor. Were he to be open, frank and honest, he
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
The only reason this book didn't get one star was because the behind-the-scenes accounts were kind of interesting. Of course, people present themselves in the best possible light when interviewed. The endless dialogue could've been summed up to one page:

Bush: What's our war plan for Iraq?
Gen. Franks: Long build up, long war. 18-24 months.
Rumsfeld: Make it shorter.
Franks: OK.
Bush: What do we have on Iraq intel?
Tenet: Nothing.
Bush: Saddam's crazy and may become a threat
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have read 3 of the books this author wrote about Pres Bush and the Iraq War. I was thirsty for any insight for what may have been going on in Bush's mind during this period. As might be expected, there was some overlap between the 2 books. I found Mr. Woodward to be open minded and even respectful as he began these books but could sense his feelings of frustration and unbelief as more and more revelations came out. I too felt frustration and disbelief. Could this (Bush) person who I voted for ...more
Rusty Henrichsen
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
First off, let me warn readers of occasional bad language, particularly of the "F" word.

As I read the book, I was alternately angered and saddened that our leaders could be involved in the tragedy that has been the Iraq war. Bob Woodward is usually attacked as a shill for the left, maybe rightly so, but after reading "The Agenda" about Clinton's first year in the White House, it is difficult for me to see him as other than a reporter of the facts - you know, "We report, you decide."

Bill Shannon
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I try to read all of Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" series, and this one was especially fascianating because it goes right from the aftermath of 9/11 -- America's government having gotten caught with its pants firmly around its ankles -- and the brutal retaliation.

This book specifically outlines the specious and spurious plan theory that Saddam Hussein not only had something to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, but that he was housing Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Let's face it, part of it
Ira Livingston
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Byrnes
How much of what the White House interviewees told Woodward was true? How much was spin? It remains clear from this telling that plans were afoot very early to invade Iraq, and the ploy of saying that "there is no plan on my desk" was pure spin. Colin Powell seems to be a voice of caution.

It has a mixed message on who is actually in charge. On one hand people say that Bush always has the final word, and is referred to as "the Man" by White House folk, but decisions are only final aft
Henry Soderberg
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Read this book for a polictical science class. I found the almost romantic like imagery hilarious. Look for lines like, "Donald Rumsfeld entered the room, his broad shoulders jetting out..."

Though honestly it did give a very good understanding of what really went on in the Bush administration before the Iraq war. It scared me too, since you think of the government as this all powerful being that clear objectives but really you see that America was lead by a frat boy who was easily mi
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was ok

This book was good when I first read it, but later when I read Suskind's "One Percent Doctrine" and saw subsequent interviews with the official involved, I felt betrayed by the sensationalism that Woodward made of the situation. The characters and events are not so cut-and-dry as he makes them. Unfortunately, Woodward traded accurate journalism for cheap entertainment. That said, it still has some value, as long as one can tell the fact from the fluff.
Clinton Sweet
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
To be read with a grain of salt, i was intrigued to read behind the scenes of the decisions that lead to a war that was very real in my lifetime. It helps me understand it more. Whether I agree or not, I now have perspective. As the world again looks a little shaky at this moment, I think it's a good thing to read a few books like this at this time
Nay Lin Soe
May 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
It is a good read. As an outsider, I learned a thing or two about the Iraq Invasion Version 2.0. I'm a little dissatisfied that I just have to take Woodword's words for it, as he hasn't supplied how he obtained much of the information included in the book.
Ty Powers
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. It's disturbing enough to be led to the slaughter, but to be taken there by a self-serving idiot is terrifying.
Emiliano Orencia
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Mirrors and probably authenticates the numerous books regarding the War in Iraq and the missteps of this administration to take America there.
Chris Andonian
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political Junkies
Good stuff that confirmed my suspicions and verified my disappointment/anger towards the current administration.
Jonathan Bradley
Sometimes you read about past disasters to distract from the present ones. They might even prove instructive.

What is most apparent from Bob Woodward’s account of the George W. Bush administration’s path to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is how pre-determined it was, and how comprehensively was their refusal to recognize their own self-enforced inevitability.

The Bush administration liked to speak of a world pre and post-9/11, but, ironically, it seemed their own mindset that wa
Oct 11, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epub
SUMMARY: Plan of Attack is the definitive account of how and why President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launched a preemptive attack to topple Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq. Bob Woodward's latest landmark account of Washington decision making provides an original, authoritative narrative of behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years, examining the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam. Based on interviews with 75 key participants and more than thre ...more
Peter Kobryn
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
As to be expected from any Bob Woodward book this is a dligent and detailed work , written very close in time to the events portrayed and before the 2004 US Presidential Election.

Reading of these historic decisions some 15 years after the event provides the details with an inevitable context broadly unknown at the time - the context of the lives lost and and the lack of weapons of mass destruction uncovered - which both inevitably shadow every page with hindsight.

The acce
April Helms
Well, it's by Bob Woodward, so you know this book is going to be excellent. And it was. Woodward goes into how the second Bush administration took its path to invading Iraq and launching it's famous (infamous?) War on Terror. It's a fairly short read, but dense, packed with interviews. What I really like is that all the players, real life people, come across as that: real life people. People with their strengths, their faults, their clarity and their blind spots. The author never descends to par ...more
Dennis Murphy
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-america, on-war
Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward is a very good book on the executive planning that led to the Iraq War. Though not as good as Bush at War, and occasionally susceptible to tedium, it is exceptionally valuable. The account is bounded, which means most of the information comes from before the full extent of the failures are known, though the last segment shows the beginning of that revelation. It's like watching a train wreck, knowing it will end badly, but where no one there does. Powell had his su ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Plan of attack? There was no plan of attack. The plan was always to get Saddam, but there was no solid plan for the aftermath.

Bush believed those around him who included, but was not limited to, Rice (who sat on the sidelines unless asked to agree with whatever was needed for a self-affirmed bias), Powel (who wanted to seem peaceful, but never stood up for his morals and inevitably the lives of those in Iraq), Rumsfeld (the cheerleader for war), and finally Cheney who we all now know (or some k
Courtney Skelton
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very Insightful! Well written. It shows a unique inside perfective of what decisions fall upon the president and those around him. I was impressed by the fortitude and foresight of those the book covers (everyone on the book cover), as well as by the openly honest parts where those involved made what looked like well calculated decisions, and at best ended up being complete inaccurate information and hyperbole. Having said that, The George W. Bush administration deserves a great deal of respect ...more
Mike Medeiros
The title of this book is pretty accurate though that's not a glowing compliment. At least 90% of it is meetings and memos about the decision to strike Iraq (even though it had been on the agenda for some since the day of 9/11)and then the intricacies and logistics of making it happen in March 0f 2003.
Mateen Asif
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Book gives you a detailed account of strategic, political & tactical decisions making to commence war on IRAQ. It will allow you to understand how nation works in their interest, building strategic relationship with countries to achieve mutual goals. Overall it was a good read.
Jonathan Z.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skimmed-books
Concise and to the point - the book shows the personalities of the leaders without turning into an ad naseum biography. It also captures the birth of Lines of Operations and other Joint Planning Processes in a real world context (I feel like such a dork for writing that...).
T.C. Misfeldt
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Bob Woodward's extensive coverage of the Bush administration's decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein and invade Iraq could have been shortened to the length of the epilogue, in my opinion. Having written it close on the heels of the war, it's understandable to be thorough however.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Up front warning... f word used throughout which made it difficult to read.
This wasn't my favorite Bob Woodward book: certainly not worth the price of a brand new book.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a pretty good listen. They sure were cocky and wrong.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war-college
The book is a well written and useful Levels of Analysis study on the Bush administration’s decision for the Iraq invasion. Though frustrating at times it was difficult to put down.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
First time I've read a Bob Woodward book. Surprising readable. May try another sometime.
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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 collectively ...more

Other books in the series

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