Suskind writes a very different style of "post 9/11" or "anti-neo-con" book than the run-of-the-mill current affairs book.
The style is almost like a novel: although it is collated from actual interviews with many participants, it runs through their conversations, and inner thoughts and feelings from the period 2004-5. There is George Bush, a couple of US intelligence officials, a teenage Afghan exchange student in the USA plus his host family and friends, a lawyer representing a Guantanamo detainee, and a successful Pakistani college graduate starting to make a living for himself in America, among other characters. It has an almost Dan-Brownish kind of pace (don't panic, it's much better written than that), following each character from episode to episode in real time, written in the present tense, often leaving them in a cliff-hanging state: it leaves the Pakistani graduate arrested by the secret service, then jumps to Bush's simultaneous press conference, then to what a couple of other characters where doing at that moment, and eventaully comes back to how the run-in with the secret service went.
They are all real characters, and despite the novelistic touch, what they did and said is what actually happened: except that sometimes the inner workings of Bush's mind is clearly speculation. Here it is relatively sympathetic: although gently negative, it is not negative enough to consist of the usual diatribe (not even a well-deserved diatribe), but negative enough that I'm sure it could infuriate a touchy true neo-con. His intelligence sources have plenty of new information about the inner workings of the Bush and Cheney war cabinet, and their relationship with the intelligence community and foreign states, which gives the story some extra interest.
Despite its fairly light touch, it gives a very human and very humane, but devestating, critique of the consequences of Bush's policies: one that brings out the full horror of the worst aspects with perhaps more clarity, and in starker relief, than most other accounts. The events unfold mainly in the present tense, which gives a rather breathless pace to the story. It really is a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. Suskind offers no direct policy proposals, and no direct critique, although he reports other people's proposals and critiques at some length, and his views are very clear.
It's better written and a more enjoyable read than the usual neo-con policy dissection. In some ways, more insightful too.