The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals

Finalist, National Book Awards 2008 for Nonfiction

The Dark Side book cover, by Jane Mayer
ISBN 9780307456298
Doubleday |

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In the days following September 11, the most powerful people in the country were panic-stricken. The decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, used the crisis to further a long-held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history.

The Dark Side is a riveting narrative account of how the U.S. made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists–decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author Jane Mayer relates specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of Washington, looking at the intelligence gained–or not–and the price paid. In all cases, whatever the short-term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, our country’s place in the world, and its sense of itself. The Dark Side chronicles one of the mostdisturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W. Bush presidency.

Judges Citation

A few days after September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney commented that, in the life-and-death fight against terrorism, the administration would need to proceed on what he called the "dark side." Jane Mayer brilliantly and meticulously documents what this meant—how the government and its lawyers gutted vital principles of human rights and condoned torture. Her book forcefully raises one of the most urgent issues of our time: state misconduct in the name of national security.