The Way of the Knife
The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth
By Mark Mazzetti
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143125013, 400pp.)
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter’s riveting account of the CIA’s transformation after 9/11 and the new American way of war
The most momentous change in American warfare over the past decade has taken place in the corners of the world where large armies can’t go. The CIA, originally created as a Cold War espionage service, is now more than ever a paramilitary agency ordered by the White House to kill off America’s enemies. In The Way of the Knife, Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti recounts the untold story of America’s shadow war, one that blurred the lines between soldiers and spies and lowered the bar for waging war across the globe. This new approach—carried out by CIA operatives and special operations troops—has been embraced by Washington as a lower-risk and cost effective alternative to the messy wars of occupation, but as Mazzetti demonstrates in this revealing book, the way of the knife has created enemies just as it has killed them.
Mark Mazzetti is a national security correspondent for the New York Times. He has received numerous awards, including the George Polk Award, and he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. He lives in Washington, D.C.
After a Senate investigation in 1975, the CIA moved away from assassinations and returned to its original mandate, spying. But as New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti explains in his new book, the Sept. 11 attacks led the CIA back to the business of manhunting. More at NPR.org
NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.
The New York Times:
“Superb…the best account yet.”
“[An] indispensable CIA history.”
The Hindu (India):
Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War:
"The story of how the CIA got back into the killing business is as chilling and dramatic as a spy novel--except it’s true. Mark Mazzetti has laid out an extraordinary tale, tracking the spies as they track the terrorists. The Way of the Knife is as close as you'll ever get to the real thing."
Jane Mayer, staff writer, The New Yorker; author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals:
"The Way of the Knife provides a stunning, inside account of the CIA's transformation after 9/11 from an intelligence agency into a global clandestine killing machine. Mazzetti, who is one of America's best national security reporters, has written a frightening, must-read book."
Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Generals:
"The United States fought three wars after 9/11: Iraq, Afghanistan and the one in the shadows. This is an authoritative account of that that third war, conducted by the CIA and military Special Operators in Yemen, East Africa and, most of all, Pakistan. If you want to understand the world we live in, you need to read it."
“The definitive history of how the intelligence agency became something much more like a paramilitary wing—de-evolving, in a sense, back to the days when the agency's adventurism influenced foreign policy around the world. It's a fascinating expose of what information the U.S. was not collecting—and how an attempt to fill the gap fell through oversight mechanisms and complicated geopolitics in Pakistan.”
San Francisco Chronicle:
“A highly engaging account that should please the curious and experts alike. Mazzetti manages to give a fresh reading to such oft-told stories as the bureaucratic jousting among White House, CIA and Pentagon officials over killer drones, secret prisons, ‘harsh interrogations’ and going global with military assassins.”
“The new American way of war is here, but the debate about it has only just begun. In The Way of the Knife, Mr Mazzetti has made a valuable contribution to it.”
The New Republic:
“Essential background reading… there are many signs that the novel ‘military-intelligence complex’ that Mazzetti describes is becoming unacceptably controversial at home and abroad.”
"Mazzetti's is an assiduously compiled account that strings together some of the missing parts in the puzzle… The Way of the Knife is a tale full of intrigues."
The New York Times Book Review:
“A fascinating, trenchant, sometimes tragicomic account.”
The Age (Australia):
"An astounding tale that melds the immediacy of fiction with the authority of fact."
The Washington Post:
“[A] deeply reported and crisply written account… While The Way of the Knife recounts the important shifts in the architecture of the U.S. military and intelligence communities, it also reveals the many eccentric characters who emerged during this.”
Los Angeles Times:
“Mazzetti finds new details and tracks the ominous blurring of traditional roles between soldiers and spies, the lush growth of a military-intelligence complex, and what the shift portends for the future....a valuable addition to a canon that is exposing America's use of lethal operations far from declared war zones."
“[A] fine account… Mazzetti describes in compelling detail the agency’s turf battles with the Pentagon, its awkward relations with its Pakistani counterpart, and its reliance on a motley collection of freelancers and private contractors.”
“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti’s The Way of the Knife makes for an incisive guide to what he terms the 'shadow war' being waged in multiple countries around the world, away from prying eyes....[W]ith crisp, precision reporting, Mazzetti lays out a chronology of how one thing led to another after al-Qaeda’s asymmetric attacks in 2001 and the ruinously bloody and inconclusive invasions that followed exposed glaring weaknesses in both the American military and its intelligence services.”
“A well-reported, smoothly written book for anyone who wants to understand contemporary American military might and the widespread hatred for the U.S. that has been the result.”