While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to entirely make sense of what happened on 9/11, after reading Kurt Eichenwald’s 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, I at least understand its aftermath like never before. Have you heard of this book yet? It’s written by the same New York Times bestselling author who wrote The Informant (turned into the film starring Matt Damon) and Conspiracy of Fools (also in the process of a film adaptation). In 500 Days, Eichenwald leaves the world of business nonfiction and turns his laser-like attention to detail on the 18 months immediately following world-changing terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, and the decisions made by the leaders–tasked with their citizens’ protection–that continues to shape global politics to this day.
The research for Eichenwald’s book took him over 5 years, during which he conducted over 600 hours of interviews; the result is a meticulously comprehensive nonfiction narrative that reads like John Grisham legal thriller. “Gripping tale” doesn’t quite seem to do 500 Days justice; “MUST READ” comes closer. You’ll feel like a fly-on-the-wall as you read and experience first-hand the hushed conversations and subsequent decisions made by the U.S. government that deliberately deceived the American public, leading to (among other things) the further deaths of countless American citizens in the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq war. Eichenwald organizes into a thrillingly readable thriller what for so long seemed like such a muddled but crucial part of American history; I honestly couldn’t put it down. Secrets are revealed from the terror wars, including never-before-reported details about warrantless wiretapping, the anthrax attacks and investigations, and conflicts between US and UK top government officials. I was simultaneously enthralled by Eichenwald’s seamless storytelling skills, and then horrified when I would suddenly remember the fact that not only is the story he tells real, we’re all still living through its after-effects.
This book is electric. It’s already receiving a lot of buzz, and after turning the final page with no small amount of awe, I can’t wait to join in the conversation. The events this book describes are still so important, and I can already tell that people are going to be talking about 500 Days for quite some time; don’t miss out! Check out an excerpt for yourself here, or you can watch the book trailer below:
And just in case you don’t believe me, check out some of the awesome praise 500 Days has already received:
“With the pacing of a suspense novel, award-winning journalist Eichenwald’s richly researched account . . . [is] a breathtaking inspection of the war on terror that began on 9/11 and reverberates to this day.” – Booklist, Starred Review
“A blow-by-blow, episodic reconstruction of the fallout from 9/11 in the highest spheres of terrorist strategy . . . demonstrating literally how the anti-terrorist hysteria in the United States, and the hatred of America and general global paranoia, forged the ‘trauma that haunts the world to this day.’” – Kirkus Reviews
“Gripping . . . both a page-turning read and an insightful dissection of 9/11’s dark legacy.” – Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review
Feel free to add your own reviews or thoughts in the comment section below!