Valerie Baber's Reviews > The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi

The Man Who Pushed America to War by Aram Roston
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's review
Aug 07, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Valerie by: John Daily and Aram Roston
Read in April, 2008

I’ll be honest. I’ve never really been interested in world affairs or politics. The only time I would be interested in either one of those, is if I happened to be having an affair with a politician. But that wasn’t the case. A friend of mine told me that I needed to buy the book and spread the word. I promised that I would. And because it seemed to mean something to him, I told myself that I would read it front to back, regardless of how painful it might be.

The fact that after having completed the prologue, I was actually interested in reading the first chapter was a shocker to me. But the talented Aram Roston does such a delightful job at creating a vivid picture of twisted characters and scandals that I wanted to see more. I kept reading and thinking, “Wow. I might actually read a good story, learn something new…and like it!”

The whole subject is new to me, so it’s difficult to give a detailed review in anything other than a lay persona terms…and I do mean lay. In a very abbreviated nutshell, here’s my hazy ADD style skinny on the story:

This Iraqi teen goes through some crazy drama. Traumatized, indeed, but he is also smart. When he gets older, he goes into academia. He can’t stick with it, though, so he does the thing that his family wanted him to do and goes into banking. There, he loses a lot of peoples money, yet still manages to live like a king. He screws a lot of people over and somehow manages to always get away with it every time. Then America becomes interested in him and gives him some money to work with the FBI. Because of his power and experience, politicians take an interest in him and he somehow magically began to woo and influence congress. Then September 11th happened and some crazy business went down, which ultimately leads to the questions, is Ahmad Chalabi responsible for Americas involvement with the current war in Iraq? It’s up to you to decide. And through the compilation of interviews and facts that Roston dug up, you will have sufficient material to form an educated opinion. It’s exciting, really. It’s a story of extravagance, travel, terror, money, the FBI, the CIA, The UN, money, mistresses, business, lies, money, vivid characters, mystery, revenge, money, scandal, death, manipulation…oh… and money.

In addition to the fact that it’s just a good, educational story that can entertain even politically unsavvy readers, this book just makes you feel more desirable by simply carrying it around. It actually worked as both a fantastic conversation piece and an unexpected pick up tool. Wear pumps and be seen reading this book. Smart men everywhere will ogle you in a way that you have never been ogled before. They will actually approach you in a respectable manner and ask you about your thoughts on literature and the state of world affairs. It has been a most unusual and refreshing experience. It’s also good for chasing the dumb and undesirable away. When seen holding this book, you will actually intimidate them.

**Hint: take this book to a car wash near an affluent neighborhood. This has been proven effective. Also consider reading this at your doctor’s office while your waiting to be attended to, especially if the doctor is cute and single.

In summary, this is simply just an awesome book. It’s expanded my interests in things that happen outside of the little sphere I usually hide myself in, and it’s given me a new sort of knowledge and confidence.

If you want to learn more, or say, get an actual review of the book, a good place to do this is at:

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