Counterstrike by Eric Schmitt
The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews



Inside the Pentagon's secretive and revolutionary new strategy to fight terrorism--and its game-changing effects in the Middle East and at home

In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the United States waged a "war on terror" that sought to defeat Al Qaeda through brute force. But it soon became clear that this strategy was not working, and by 2005 the Pentagon began looking for a new way.

In Counterstrike, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of The New York Times tell the story of how a group of analysts within the military, at spy agencies, and in law enforcement has fashioned an innovative and effective new strategy to fight terrorism, unbeknownst to most Americans and in sharp contrast to the cowboy slogans that characterized the U.S. government's public posture. Adapting themes from classic Cold War deterrence theory, these strategists have expanded the field of battle in order to disrupt jihadist networks in ever more creative ways.

Schmitt and Shanker take readers deep into this theater of war, as ground troops, intelligence operatives, and top executive branch officials have worked together to redefine and restrict the geography available for Al Qaeda to operate in. They also show how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

Filled with startling revelations about how our national security is being managed, Counterstrike will change the way Americans think about the ongoing struggle with violent radical extremism.


About Eric Schmitt

See more books from this Author
Eric Schmitt is a terrorism correspondent for The New York Times and has embedded with troops in Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan. Schmitt has twice been a member of Times reporting teams that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Thom Shanker, a Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, routinely spends time embedded with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shanker was formerly a foreign editor and correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, based in Moscow, Berlin, and Sarajevo.
Published August 16, 2011 by Times Books. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, War, Computers & Technology, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Counterstrike

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

America remains at risk, mostly from disaffected individuals, but the authors emphasize that the greatest barrier is persuading people that terrorism, like crime, can never be eliminated.

| Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

To discredit Al Qaeda with the Muslim public, officials sought “to create a constant drumbeat of anti-Al Qaeda information that was factual, directly quoted and heavily sourced,” as one White House official described it.

Sep 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Schmitt and Shanker, national security correspondents for the New York Times, draw upon a decade of reporting and hundreds of interviews for this behind-the-scenes account of the "evolution of strategic thinking" since the September 11 attacks.

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

The Washington Times

See more reviews from this publication

One of their most sensationalist revelations is that for the past year, American counterterrorism officials have been concerned that al Qaeda’s most dangerous regional arm, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been trying in its Yemeni safe havens to produce the lethal poison ricin by pa...

Aug 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

This is the book's most compelling narrative about the sharing of the intelligence and how it shifted cultural mindsets that emphasized protecting information to one of information sharing.

Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

eInternational Relations

This “new deterrence” strategy both drew from and expanded upon the successful deterrence strategy the United States adopted vis-à-vis the Soviet Union.[i] Much like “nuclear deterrence,” Washington’s deterrence strategy towards al-Qaeda has been mostly improvised and adopted in an ad hoc fashion.

Sep 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Counterstrike: The Untold Sto...

Reader Rating for Counterstrike

An aggregated and normalized score based on 110 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review