Reviews for Plan of Attack

Library Journal Reviews 2004 June #2
Woodward (Bush at War) recently said that this book has as much new information as any of his 12 previous ones. Indeed, Woodward presents a fact-filled account of Bush's decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003. Already, the book has stirred controversy based on its conclusion that Bush decided to go to war in January 2003 and not two months later, as he claims, and for its recounting of CIA director George Tenet's exclamation that the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq was a "slam dunk." Woodward is at his best when he shows how foreign-policy issues became the battleground of pro-war cabinet members and the moderate Secretary of State Colin Powell, who despite his misgivings about fighting a war without UN support went from reluctant warrior to war supporter. President Bush is portrayed as unwavering in his belief that war against Saddam Hussein was right, although no WMD have been found, American soldiers continue to die, and Iraq remains an unstable nation. At times the reader can be overwhelmed by an abundance of facts and the author's shifting from one topic to another. However, some notable chapters about intelligence in Iraq are as engrossing as the best espionage thrillers. Woodward has written a memorable narrative of modern presidential decision making that all public libraries must own.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
Based on exhaustive research and remarkable access to the White House, including two sessions with President Bush and more than 75 interviews with administration officials, veteran Washington Post assistant managing editor Woodward delivers an engrossing blow-by-blow of the run-up to war in Iraq. In November 2001, just months after September 11, Woodward reports, Bush pulled aside defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and asked him to secretly begin updating war plans for Iraq. Sixteen months later, in March 2003, after an intense war-planning effort, a tense political fight at home and a carefully crafted "if-you-donÆt-we-will" diplomatic strategy with the U.N., the American invasion began. Woodward has penned a forceful, often disturbing narrative that captures the deep personality and policy clashes within the Bush administration. Bush, along with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz, are portrayed as believing in a sweeping mission to export democracy and to have America be viewed as strong and willing to walk the walk. They are counterbalanced by Colin Powell, who emerges here as a reluctant warrior, a pragmatic voiceùeventually mutedùcautioning the president against a rush to war. The most stunning aspect of the story, however, is the glaring intelligence failure of George TenetÆs CIA, from bad WMD information to what Woodward reports as the outright manipulation of questionable intelligence to make the case for war. With this book, Woodward, the author of an astonishing nine number-one bestsellers, has delivered his most important and impressive work in years. Ultimately, this first-class work of contemporary history will be remembered for shedding needed light on the Iraq War, whatever its final outcome. (Apr. 19) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.