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Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War


Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War Cover

ISBN13: 9780307346810
ISBN10: 0307346811
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What was really behind the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? As George W. Bush steered the nation to war, who spoke the truth and who tried to hide it? Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the Bush White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Congress to answer all the vital questions about how the Bush administration came to invade Iraq.

Filled with new revelations, Hubris is a gripping narrative of intrigue that connects the dots between George W. Bush’s expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the startling influence of an obscure academic on top government officials, the real reason Valerie Plame was outed, and a top reporter’s ties to wily Iraqi exiles trying to start a war. Written by veteran reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, this is the inside story of how President Bush took the nation to war using faulty and fraudulent intelligence. It is a news-making account of conspiracy, backstabbing, bureaucratic ineptitude, journalistic malfeasance, and, especially, arrogance.


"In October 2002, a file of documents from the U.S. embassy in Rome arrived on the desk of one of the State Department's senior nuclear proliferation analysts. The papers had been handed over by an Italian journalist, who had been given them by an informer who had, in turn, obtained them from a mysterious source in the embassy of Niger. The documents purported to show that Niger had signed a July 2000... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)


This fast-paced, behind-the-scenes narrative tells the inside story of the CIA leak scandal and how the Bush administration used bad intelligence to sell--and then justify--a war that has changed America and the world.

About the Author

Michael Isikoff is an award-winning investigative correspondent for Newsweek, a frequent guest on MSNBC and other cable news networks, and the author of the bestselling Uncovering Clinton.

David Corn is the Washington editor of The Nation and a Fox News Channel contributor. He’s the author of the bestselling The Lies of George W. Bush, the novel Deep Background, and the biography Blond Ghost.

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Michael Powe, October 12, 2006 (view all comments by Michael Powe)
Isikoff and Corn have produced a topical book that wins in all three significant categories: writing, documentation and logical structure.

First, this book is so well-written, it reads like a thriller. In my experience, topical nonfiction that doesn't read like a textbook is rare. I hated to get to the last page of this book. It's that good.

Second, the book relies almost completely on documented and identified sources. The "anonymous White House official" is practically nonexistent in this work. And, they've scrupulously multisourced every major point of the book.

Third, they don't lose sight of their thesis. "Rambling" is the besetting sin of topical nonfiction, which frequently succumbs to a surfeit of anecdotes, as though the authors felt compelled to get every item in their notes into the book.

The two authors have put all that together to demonstrate how the top members of the Bush administration came into office already having determined to start a war with Iraq and how they developed the internal mechanisms to promote that objective.

It truly was, from the Administration's perspective, a marketing campaign. And, one of the key theses of this book is how that campaign eventually became a bubble around the campaigners, which blocked their views of the realities of the war and which warped their views of their own actions and shaped their decisions. At the same time, the authors demonstrate that this bubble was of the campaigners own creation -- that they were never capable of getting free of their own prejudices long enough to cast a critical eye on their mission and their own behavior.

Of course, I never was a supporter of nor a believer in George W. Bush and his war. Nonetheless, my takeaway from this book was shock -- shock at the depth of the mendacity and self-delusion of the top Administration officials. It is difficult to imagine, until you see it documented and formally structured, the depth of moral and intellectual failure of the nation's leadership.

I was amazed to read, for example, that Bush was utterly indifferent to the failure to find WMD in Iraq. Multiple sources declared after briefing the president on this matter, that it didn't seem to bother him at all. He never expressed the slightest concern. WMD was a marketing stratagem, to sell the war to the public. The war itself was the mission.

Lastly, the book's pre-publication claim to fame was its detailed accounting of the exposure of CIA covert operative Valerie Wilson, nee Plame. Most of the last piece of the book is an intense, detailed and dismaying accounting of how this "outing" was planned, carried out, and investigated. This episode becomes a metaphor for the venality and intellectual corruption of the administration in pursuit of its objective -- the war against Iraq. The authors also use it as a demonstration of how difficult it is to bring these slippery characters to book. They gamed the system and won.

Hubris is a definitive account of the "Washington Merry-go-Round" and the political gamesters who ride it. A book well worth reading, and one that will stay with you afterwards. "Ripped from today's headlines"? Perhaps. But not a throwaway.
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Product Details

Random House
Conspiracy & Scandal Investigations
Michael Isikoff and David Corn
Corn, David
Isikoff, Michael
Political corruption
Press and politics
Government - U.S. Government
Military - Iraq War
Military - Iraq War (2003-)
Publication Date:
September 2006
9.32x6.40x1.58 in. 1.66 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » Contemporary

Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
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Product details 463 pages Crown Publishers - English 9780307346810 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This fast-paced, behind-the-scenes narrative tells the inside story of the CIA leak scandal and how the Bush administration used bad intelligence to sell--and then justify--a war that has changed America and the world.

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