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The Black Banners: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda Hardcover – 12 Sep 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (12 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846145023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846145025
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

This is an absorbing account of America's fightback after 9/11, full of revealing or amusing details ... So ultimately this book is cheering as well as fascinating, because it reveals the dedication of those who defend us, as well as the weird frailties of those who try to kill us (Sunday Times)

Although many have claimed to tell the inside story of the hunt for al-Qaeda, Ali Soufan has a better claim than most ... this is one of the most valuable and detailed accounts of its subject to appear in the past decade (The Economist)

In a new memoir, a former F.B.I. agent who tracked Al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks paints a devastating picture of rivalry and dysfunction inside the government's counterterrorism agencies. The book describes missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot, and argues that other attacks overseas might have been prevented, and Osama bin Laden found earlier, if interrogations had not been mismanaged (Scott Shane New York Times)

He's the special agent who came in from the cold...the most successful U.S. interrogator of Al-Qaeda operatives...Soufan was involved in a string of crucial investigations and interrogations, from the Millennium Bombing plot in Jordan to the U.S.S. Cole bombing in Yemen and a number of Gitmo interrogations. His greatest success was the interrogation of Abu Jandal, bin Laden's former bodyguard (Bobby Ghosh Time)

After the 1998 embassy bombings,Soufan helped assemble the initial evidence linking them to Bin Laden. Soufan's language skills, his relentlessness, and his roots in the Middle East made him invaluable in helping the FBI understand Al Qaeda, an organization that few Americans were even aware of before the embassy bombings (Lawrence Wright New Yorker)

To those inside the U.S. government Soufan has long been something of a legend. He conducted the most effective and fruitful interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects during the war on terrorism, and save for some inexplicable failures by the CIA, he and his team might well have prevented 9/11. Soufan has since left the FBI and written a gripping account of his experiences, brimming with details about Al Qaeda and its historical development (Harper's Magazine)

Most Americans first heard of FBI agent Ali H. Soufan in the spring of 2009. That's when he testified from behind a black curtain in the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing room ...The testimony was explosive.

Now Soufan has fired another salvo ... detailed descriptions of what unfolded behind the closed doors of the world's interrogation rooms. We learn that terrorists smirk when they think they have the upper hand. They quarrel over interpretations of the Koran. One burst into tears after he was allowed to telephone his family.Soufan describes the tension between two men sizing each other up on either side of a table. In those moments, which make up the bulk of the book, the narrative soars, as Soufanallows readers to experience the high-stakes intellectual dance between foes.
Soufan's story provides a new and important window on America's battle with al-Qaeda.

(Washington Post)

About the Author

Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent, served on the front lines against al-Qaeda and gained an international reputation as a top counterterrorism operative and interrogator. He has been profiled in The New Yorker and featured in books, newspaper articles, and documentaries around the globe.

'He's the special agent who came in from the cold...the most successful U.S. interrogator of Al-Qaeda operatives...Soufan was involved in a string of crucial investigations and interrogations, from the Millennium Bombing plot in Jordan to the U.S.S. Cole bombing in Yemen and a number of Gitmo interrogations. His greatest success was the interrogation of Abu Jandal, bin Laden's former bodyguard'
Bobby Ghosh, Time

'After the 1998 embassy bombings, Soufan helped assemble the initial evidence linking them to Bin Laden. Soufan's language skills, his relentlessness, and his roots in the Middle East made him invaluable in helping the FBI understand Al Qaeda, an organization that few Americans were even aware of before the embassy bombings'
Lawrence Wright, New Yorker



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