Review from Booklist: “Here is the fourth installment in Woodward’s examination of the way the Bush administration has pursued the war on terror in general and the war in Iraq in particular. The book picks up in early 2006, as violence in Iraq begins spiraling out of control, and as readers will soon see, the title of this book could easily have been, The Confusion Within. Even as President Bush repeated the mantra that progress was being made, those in the administration knew it was not, and perhaps more surprising, even at that rather late date, there were conflicting ideas among generals and the State and Defense Departments about what the war strategy actually was. Woodward, of course, has had unprecedented access to the players for all four of his books (though the president demurred last time around), and while this obviously is what makes his series a standout, the wealth of information sometimes becomes overwhelming for anyone not a policy wonk. That said, the enormity of invading and remaking a country comes through in all its amorphous and frustrating detail. Along the way, Bush captures many revealing human moments: Bush on his encouragement of Maliki, Petraeus talking about how the General Betray-us ad hurt him; Cheney’s disagreement with the firing of Rumsfeld. After four books, Woodward finally offers, in an epilogue, his own opinion of Bush and the war he’s waged. The president, Woodward writes, is often impulsive, with a delayed reaction to realities and advice that run counter to his gut. He has rarely been, Woodward concludes, the voice of realism on the Iraq War.”
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