"Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary story of the Largest Covert Operation in History," by George Crile is an eye-popping account of how a "rule-breaking" Congressman from the Bible Belt of east Texas took revenge on the Soviet Union for American blood spilled in Vietnam. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979 and pulled out on February 15, 1989. All and all, 28,000 Soviet soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Charlie Wilson is the man that made it happen.
Charles "Nesbitt" Wilson is a 1956 graduate of Annapolis who worshipped Winston Churchill and entered politics in 1961 at the age of 27 as Texas State Representative. Wilson won a seat to Congress in 1973 as a Liberal. He regularly voted against Vietnam and eventually became of strong defender of Israel. Wilson's appointment to the House Appropriations Committee and a strategic alliance with irreverent street-wise CIA veteran named Gust Avrakotos ignited the biggest covert action since the Vietnam War. It wasn't easy...Wilson took on the CIA's regional masters and won. He did so by dramatically increasing CIA funding for the Afghan fighters. His primary mission was to find a weapon that could knock the powerful Russian Mi-24 Hind Helicopter gun ship out of the sky.
The author is knowledgeable. He reports the towering importance of revenge in Afghan society. He also details the cruel and disturbing side of the Afghan tribal warriors. To this end, Crile shows how the Afghans were seen as freedom fighters before 9/11 and as terrorists afterward. Moreover, Crile explains how the Afghans grew confident with the defeat of a superpower. Ultimately, this book is a strong account of how the CIA funded the war against Moscow's army and how the defeat at the hands of the Afghans contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union. Highly recommended.