An outstanding contribution to the literature of terrorism and counterterrorism.

DISRUPTION

INSIDE THE LARGEST COUNTERTERRORISM INVESTIGATION IN HISTORY

A journalist specializing in national security issues details the investigation and frustration of a major al-Qaida terrorist attack.

The events of 9/11 constituted America’s most significant terrorist attack, and Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower delivered a brilliant account of its background. Americans may be vaguely aware of 7/7, the British equivalent. On July 7, 2005, three suicide bombers blew themselves up on the London Tube, a fourth on a London bus. All were British subjects. In a bizarre and unrelated follow-up, five men attempted a repeat two weeks later. One changed his mind, and four poorly designed bombs fizzled. Peritz delivers vivid accounts of these attacks, but he has bigger fish to fry. The masterminds of the second attack (among the thousands of British nationals traveling back and forth from Pakistan), seeking to learn from their mistakes, planned a larger suicide operation with better bombs to be detonated aboard trans-Atlantic passenger planes. By this time in 2006, British security was paying close attention, with the assistance of the far larger and more pugnacious American CIA, whose doctrine was that there would never be another 9/11. More concerned with civil rights, the British aimed to gather information that would stand up in a courtroom, so they (and the author) meticulously followed and observed the plotters. Unexpectedly, the CIA jumped the gun by arresting the leader in Pakistan, forcing the British to round up everyone in London. As a result, the subsequent trials did not turn out as well as expected, although many defendants received long prison terms. Readers will struggle to remember Peritz’s vast cast of characters as well as the minutiae of their movements, but his massive research and interviews tell a gripping story with a more or less happy ending. The plot was foiled, and Western security agencies have gotten their acts together so that mass (but not individual) terrorist attacks are less likely.

An outstanding contribution to the literature of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64012-380-9

Page Count: 408

Publisher: Potomac Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more