Manhunt by Peter L. Bergen


10 Critic Reviews

A compelling story, told with authority, of the final takedown of likely the most wanted criminal in history.


The gripping account of the decade-long hunt for the world's most wanted man.

It was only a week before 9/11 that Peter Bergen turned in the manuscript of Holy War, Inc., the story of Osama bin Laden--whom Bergen had once interviewed in a mud hut in Afghanistan--and his declaration of war on America. The book became a New York Times bestseller and the essential portrait of the most formidable terrorist enterprise of our time. Now, in Manhunt, Bergen picks up the thread with this taut yet panoramic account of the pursuit and killing of bin Laden.

Here are riveting new details of bin Laden’s flight after the crushing defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, where American forces came startlingly close to capturing him, and of the fugitive leader’s attempts to find a secure hiding place. As the only journalist to gain access to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen paints a vivid picture of bin Laden’s grim, Spartan life in hiding and his struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically picked off his key lieutenants.

Half a world away, CIA analysts haunted by the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 and the WMD fiasco pored over the tiniest of clues before homing in on the man they called "the Kuwaiti"--who led them to a peculiar building with twelve-foot-high walls and security cameras less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy. This was the courier who would unwittingly steer them to bin Laden, now a prisoner of his own making but still plotting to devastate the United States.

Bergen takes us inside the Situation Room, where President Obama considers the COAs (courses of action) presented by his war council and receives conflicting advice from his top advisors before deciding to risk the raid that would change history--and then inside the Joint Special Operations Command, whose "secret warriors," the SEALs, would execute Operation Neptune Spear. From the moment two Black Hawks take off from Afghanistan until bin Laden utters his last words, Manhunt reads like a thriller.

Based on exhaustive research and unprecedented access to White House officials, CIA analysts, Pakistani intelligence, and the military, this is the definitive account of ten years in pursuit of bin Laden and of the twilight of al-Qaeda.

About Peter L. Bergen

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PETER BERGEN is the author of three previous books about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, two of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is CNN's national security analyst and a director of the New America Foundation. Bergen has held teaching positions at Harvard and at Johns Hopkins University and is a graduate of Oxford. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, documentary producer Tresha Mabile, and their son.
Published May 1, 2012 by Broadway Books. 386 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Travel. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on May 20 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Manhunt
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1


Jun 01 2012

A compelling story, told with authority, of the final takedown of likely the most wanted criminal in history.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on May 03 2012

Mr. Bergen...depicts Bin Laden’s life there as a depressing retirement.

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Reviewed by Julian Borger on Jun 15 2012

There is clearly still plenty to write about, but Manhunt already has the feel of a definitive work.

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Reviewed by Jason Burke on May 05 2012

One of the strong points of this excellent account of how Bin Laden was found and killed is much new detail.

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Washington Times

Reviewed by Joshua Sinai on May 04 2012

In “Manhunt,” Mr. Bergen has produced a masterful account of bin Laden’s life and activities, how al Qaeda operated in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the American government’s success in tracking down the world’s most notorious terrorist leader.

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The Washington Post

Reviewed by Dina Temple-Raston on May 04 2012

“Manhunt” virtually crackles with insider details.

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The Daily Beast

Reviewed by Bruce Reidel on Apr 29 2012

...a terrific new book on the decade-long search for high-value target No. 1...the first in-depth study...

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Foreign Affairs

Reviewed by Lawrence Freedman

Bergen captures both paradoxes superbly, drawing on his excellent government sources, his deep knowledge of al Qaeda, and his reporter’s instincts

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Insights from the Sightless

Reviewed by Spencer McLean on May 21 2012

This is noteworthy work from a pleasingly ordered mind. As sleek as it is chilling...

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The Vault


...Bergen presented both sides of the conversation and even on the most controversial issues he remains unbiased.

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Vish 28 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Harsh Gadia 5 Sep 2013

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