3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great reading, but the heavy redactions ruin it.,
This review is from: The Black Banners: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)I found this book to be very interesting. It is written by a former FBI cover agent who infiltrated Al Queida before the 9/11 attacks and he has a remarkable story to tell. Its certainly unique and makes for some pretty compelling reading. Overall, it it very well written and the author describes places, events and people very well; but due to the high number of people involved in his "story" and the "FBI jargon" / acronyms he uses it can be a bit confusing in places if you lose attention (despite my best efforts I found I was referring to the index / who's who list quite a lot!!)
However, as interesting as this book is, it does have a VERY big negative going for it which is a real shame. The negative in question is stated on the cover, is explained in the foreword, and has been commented on by other reviewers.The big negative is the number of redactions (censured words. names etc. At the start of the book its not too bad, but it gets worse the further you read on and as a result in places its makes for some pretty hard reading. The redactions are especially prominent in the final 3rd of the book where nealy whole pages are nothing but black bars where the text has been censured. As a result the flow of the book and the "story" itself becomes hard to understand at best, and at times impossible. The author explains in the foreword that despite him never working for them, the redactions were put in on at the request of then CIA (both the FBI and US state dept give the book the OK in its original format)and while it may be understandable that the CIA may want some redactions, in some cases they have at time gone way over the top and have contributed to ruining a very good book.
I hope that the paperback version, or 2nd edition (if there is one)can correct this problem as this really is a very good book on a very interesting subject. Sadly, the book in its present form its ruined by the amount of redactions in it and that is a shame.