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Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice

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Following Chris Wallace’s “riveting” (The New York Times) and “propulsive” (Time) #1 national bestseller Countdown 1945 comes a deeply reported, revelatory, and thrillingly told account of the final months of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. On August 27, 2010, three CIA officers ask for a private meeting with CIA Director Leon Panetta. During that secret session, they tell Pa Following Chris Wallace’s “riveting” (The New York Times) and “propulsive” (Time) #1 national bestseller Countdown 1945 comes a deeply reported, revelatory, and thrillingly told account of the final months of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. On August 27, 2010, three CIA officers ask for a private meeting with CIA Director Leon Panetta. During that secret session, they tell Panetta that agents have tracked a courier with deep Al Qaeda ties to a three-story house at the end of a dead end street in Abbottabad, Pakistan. But they say it’s more than a house—it’s a heavily protected fortress. No one in the meeting says the name bin Laden. They don’t have to. Everyone understands that finally, after nearly a decade, maybe, just maybe, they’ve found the world’s most wanted man. In Countdown bin Laden, celebrated journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace delivers a thrilling new account of the final eight months of intelligence gathering, national security strategizing, and meticulous military planning that leads to the climactic mission when SEAL Team Six closes in on its target. The book delivers new information collected from Wallace’s in-depth interviews with more than a dozen central figures, including Admiral William McRaven—leader of the operation in Pakistan—as well as CIA Director Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and two members of SEAL Team Six who participate in the raid, including the Special Operator who kills Osama bin Laden. Wallace also brings to life the human elements of this story, talking to families who lost loved ones on 9/11; sharing what relatives of SEAL Team Six went through; and bringing us inside the tense Situation Room during the raid. Published on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, Countdown bin Laden is a historical thriller filled with intrigue, cinematic action, and fresh reporting about the race to apprehend and bring to justice the architect of the most consequential terrorist attack in American history.


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Following Chris Wallace’s “riveting” (The New York Times) and “propulsive” (Time) #1 national bestseller Countdown 1945 comes a deeply reported, revelatory, and thrillingly told account of the final months of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. On August 27, 2010, three CIA officers ask for a private meeting with CIA Director Leon Panetta. During that secret session, they tell Pa Following Chris Wallace’s “riveting” (The New York Times) and “propulsive” (Time) #1 national bestseller Countdown 1945 comes a deeply reported, revelatory, and thrillingly told account of the final months of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. On August 27, 2010, three CIA officers ask for a private meeting with CIA Director Leon Panetta. During that secret session, they tell Panetta that agents have tracked a courier with deep Al Qaeda ties to a three-story house at the end of a dead end street in Abbottabad, Pakistan. But they say it’s more than a house—it’s a heavily protected fortress. No one in the meeting says the name bin Laden. They don’t have to. Everyone understands that finally, after nearly a decade, maybe, just maybe, they’ve found the world’s most wanted man. In Countdown bin Laden, celebrated journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace delivers a thrilling new account of the final eight months of intelligence gathering, national security strategizing, and meticulous military planning that leads to the climactic mission when SEAL Team Six closes in on its target. The book delivers new information collected from Wallace’s in-depth interviews with more than a dozen central figures, including Admiral William McRaven—leader of the operation in Pakistan—as well as CIA Director Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and two members of SEAL Team Six who participate in the raid, including the Special Operator who kills Osama bin Laden. Wallace also brings to life the human elements of this story, talking to families who lost loved ones on 9/11; sharing what relatives of SEAL Team Six went through; and bringing us inside the tense Situation Room during the raid. Published on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, Countdown bin Laden is a historical thriller filled with intrigue, cinematic action, and fresh reporting about the race to apprehend and bring to justice the architect of the most consequential terrorist attack in American history.

30 review for Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mona

    The goods: If you are American and like thriller/action fiction novels there is 99% chance that you will love this book. Since most readers on Goodreads fall into this category, hence high notes. Author is well experienced journalist/writer with smooth writing style and indeed, book reads like a page-turner good fiction novel. Language is simple, technical details limited, emotions well accented where they supposed to be. Even when it comes to the criticism of author' s political affiliation.....I The goods: If you are American and like thriller/action fiction novels there is 99% chance that you will love this book. Since most readers on Goodreads fall into this category, hence high notes. Author is well experienced journalist/writer with smooth writing style and indeed, book reads like a page-turner good fiction novel. Language is simple, technical details limited, emotions well accented where they supposed to be. Even when it comes to the criticism of author' s political affiliation.....I mean, come on. That's given. The not so goods: No bibliography or sources. If you read a lot of non-fiction you will be disappointed, as most of the material feels like author's imagination or compilation of wildly available news. Author very eagerly describes thoughts of involved characters, and I really doubt they were that revealing even if they agree for the interview. At the end, we will never know as no sources/bibliography included. Author relentlessly repeats how each and every person worked incredibly hard, tirelessly, long hours, with multiple personal sacrifices and unlimited devotion on the case.......... for......10 years. No, there were no lazy or ineffective people involved. And no, other people in the US don't work long hours just to provide for their families and keep the economy rolling (aka pay taxes for multi million intelligence operations). There were no intelligence mistakes here. Nothing but full perfection and professionalism. There were no questions asked (forget the answers) what intelligence was doing before 9/11 and the whole 10 years after that. So, if you are looking for some really important answers, you may be disappointed. Also, if the main intelligence players in the country make decisions based on the rule "What would average Joe do in this situation given the facts" ...it's not even concerning to me, it's terrifying. This book came out on the 20th anniversary and its role is purely patriotic and uplifting. I don't want to diminish this value by any means. America loves that and book will sell well. At the end, timing is everything. However, reading the last follow up chapters on main characters' life events, left me very sad. The involved SEALs, people who directly risked their lives, did not do so well. And seams they had no real support in adjusting to life outside. The rest, well, just traded one Board room for another. Nothing special or particularly interesting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mac

    Countdown bin Laden by Chris Wallace, presents a conundrum. How can a book where you already know the outcome be compelling? Here, I’m talking extraordinarily compelling, an engrossing page-turner. In this case, the book’s title suggests the ultimate outcome of the story for anyone conversant in recent American history. So how to explain the perplexing combination of a known outcome and captivating book? Here’s my answer. First. The countdown framework, which sometimes can be a cliché, works ext Countdown bin Laden by Chris Wallace, presents a conundrum. How can a book where you already know the outcome be compelling? Here, I’m talking extraordinarily compelling, an engrossing page-turner. In this case, the book’s title suggests the ultimate outcome of the story for anyone conversant in recent American history. So how to explain the perplexing combination of a known outcome and captivating book? Here’s my answer. First. The countdown framework, which sometimes can be a cliché, works extraordinarily well. The countdown maintains a clear chronology while allowing Wallace to describe multiple characters in multiple situations in numerous places around the world. Using a countdown frame, Wallace creates a sense of drama, a clear progression toward the conclusion. While reading, I always knew where I was and where I was going in both time and place. Second. Though the outcome is known, the tick-tock on how the team achieved its goal is new and fascinating. Wallace has unearthed engrossing details by interviewing and tracking many disparate characters in disparate roles—many top people in the Obama administration, the CIA analysts, the widow grieving ten years after 9/11, the SEAL Team 6 “badasses” who thrive on their challenge despite extreme mortal danger, even Cairo, the dog, who is an essential member of the team, searching for concealed explosives and enemies in hiding. Of course, the outcome is essential to the story, but the detailed processes to achieve that outcome—the analysis, the decision making, the training, the technology, the bravery, the pressures, the confidence, the doubts—are all here. Third. When I started reading, I couldn’t remember if any SEAL Team members died during the raid. Of course, I cared about their safety when they were anonymous. However, as I read, their anonymity dissolved because Wallace introduces some of the team, capturing their ambitions, their dreams, their fears, and their family situations. Having these personal insights, I read with interest, and then with haste, anxious to see if everyone survived the raid. So the countdown structure, the tick-tock deeply researched steps to achieve success, and my fear that some of the SEALS may have died, all make for compelling reading, the page-turner I’m describing. The outcome, though historically significant, takes a backseat to the buildup, the process, the personal stories. Thus, outcome known, compelling story. Are there negatives? Nothing significant. The prose is direct and workmanlike, but there are no soaring passages, no paragraphs to savor. The drama comes, as I say, from the story’s structure, the telling details, and the personal stories, not from Wallace’s way with words. This stylistic trait becomes evident in the multiple concluding segments—aftermath, epilogue, postscript, and acknowledgment—where in places the narrative slows to a crawl. But who needs an impressive way with words when the subject is one of the most important events in recent American history, and the author has handled that subject remarkably well? Not me. I’ll take Countdown bin Laden just as is. Note: For those of you with plagiarism spotting software, I’ve borrowed wording from my earlier review of Wallace’s Countdown 1945. Wallace has started a franchise, and my reviews of the two books have similar wording.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    I enjoyed the telling of the narrative, although it didn't present much information that I haven't seen in other reports. I found the book to be marred by diversions into Chris Wallace's political views/biases, expressed mostly on topics that took the narrative away from pursuit of UBL. The administration and military figures featured in the narrative also could have been more human, instead the portrayals sometimes verged on hagiography (so-and-so was so especially handsome, so amazingly intell I enjoyed the telling of the narrative, although it didn't present much information that I haven't seen in other reports. I found the book to be marred by diversions into Chris Wallace's political views/biases, expressed mostly on topics that took the narrative away from pursuit of UBL. The administration and military figures featured in the narrative also could have been more human, instead the portrayals sometimes verged on hagiography (so-and-so was so especially handsome, so amazingly intelligent, so profoundly wise, so etc.).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Devin Wick

    Much better books on this topic.the writer really gets off topic and throws in a lot of random details that don’t really have much too do with the search for bin laden and is constantly throwing in his political opinions and biases throughout..not what I was hoping for/expecting for this book

  5. 5 out of 5

    Everydayreader1

    "Countdown bin Laden" is one of the best books I've read in 2021. It is nonfiction, of course, but Chris Wallace has penned it in a way that makes you think you're reading a thriller. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. The detail about the people involved in the hunt for bin Laden is amazing. I learned so much from this book. It is just an excellent read. Initially, I didn't know if I wanted to read it. I admit to much skepticism because Chris Wallace works for Fox News, a network I consi "Countdown bin Laden" is one of the best books I've read in 2021. It is nonfiction, of course, but Chris Wallace has penned it in a way that makes you think you're reading a thriller. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. The detail about the people involved in the hunt for bin Laden is amazing. I learned so much from this book. It is just an excellent read. Initially, I didn't know if I wanted to read it. I admit to much skepticism because Chris Wallace works for Fox News, a network I consider to be untruthful, exploitative and a mouthpiece for nothing except Republican party propaganda and conspiracy theories. But, I remember Chris Walleace's excell reporting for other networks, and decided to give the book a try. Surprisingly, I found it totally onpolitical, straight forward, fair, and respectful. I'm so glad I chose to put my misgivings aside. If I hadn't, I would have missed out on reading an excellent and informative book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the hunt for bin Laden, or anyone who just wants to read a thrilling and captivating account of what really happened.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa A.

    Dissapointing This book has a lot of repetition and fluff filler. Tell me something once, maybe twice but in this book things were repeated often. I don’t need to know that the president “dressed down” for the event or that the team ordered sandwiches from Costco or that the general’s wife made oatmeal raisin cookies!! I wanted more facts and details on how the compound was found and the planning that went into the raid. It wasn’t here. Very simplistic read, suitable for junior high students.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Flo

    Bad writing, cliches; I am not even halfway through Chris Wallace but don't know whether I want to continue reading this book. It appears to have been written to be published on the anniversary of 9/11. I'll read a bit more and see whether I like it better. There must be a better book on this subject, written well. Bad writing, cliches; I am not even halfway through Chris Wallace but don't know whether I want to continue reading this book. It appears to have been written to be published on the anniversary of 9/11. I'll read a bit more and see whether I like it better. There must be a better book on this subject, written well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This is a superb, behind the scenes look at what went into the hunt for bin Laden. While impossible to get the whole truth due to most of the information being still classified, Wallace was able to interview almost all the important players from the tippy top of government, intelligence officials, Seals who participated in the planning and execution of the raid, family members of those killed on 9/11, as well as people in Abbottabad. Hindsight being twenty-twenty and all, it's remarkable how man This is a superb, behind the scenes look at what went into the hunt for bin Laden. While impossible to get the whole truth due to most of the information being still classified, Wallace was able to interview almost all the important players from the tippy top of government, intelligence officials, Seals who participated in the planning and execution of the raid, family members of those killed on 9/11, as well as people in Abbottabad. Hindsight being twenty-twenty and all, it's remarkable how many signs we have missed in regards to our elected officials. We, as Americans, are capable of great things but are just as capable of being the stupidest country. I finished this book about 2 weeks ago, before the newest round of Afghanistan trouble. It is painfully apparent everyone throughout this war has been wrong at least a few times and anyone who pretends otherwise is not being honest. Unfortunately that seems to be the norm these days. I would like to thank NetGalley as well as Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an advance copy of Countdown bin Laden!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bobin

    A story of patience, persistence, leadership, risk, dedication and costs. Too often we look at a historical even through a brief glimpse of time and fail to examine what made that possible whether it had a positive or negative impact on us. This is a story about what it took to bring an end and partial justice to one of those events, 9/11. It is a story about a decade of work, research, planning and failures. It is also the story of more than 8 months of intense research, planning, decision maki A story of patience, persistence, leadership, risk, dedication and costs. Too often we look at a historical even through a brief glimpse of time and fail to examine what made that possible whether it had a positive or negative impact on us. This is a story about what it took to bring an end and partial justice to one of those events, 9/11. It is a story about a decade of work, research, planning and failures. It is also the story of more than 8 months of intense research, planning, decision making and execution this time leading to success. It is eye opening to see the cost of the dedication of those that carried out this mission, the cost to them before and after the mission. I peek into the lives of those that made it possible. Leadership is about being prepared, evaluating information, making a decision and taking responsibility for failures while shining the spotlight on those that did there job. In this case the spotlight shines on the team but the members are the ones that pay the cost. If you are interested in history, leadership or inspiration this is a great read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mairy

    This book takes us behind the scenes of one of the most exciting political events occurring the past 10 years. I loved this book so much! I felt like I was alongside those wonderful actors, in the middle of the action, and I had the chance to get to know who were those NAVY Seals who did the impossible. This book was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the chase and catch of Osama Bin Laden.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brittany McDowell

    3.5 stars. Wallace is very biased towards Obama, and while I understand the presidency is not easy, Obama certainly did not rise to the occasions that he could have as our first African American president. To the American warriors who made this mission possible, a lifetime of respect and pride. As far as the writing, this was not Wallace's best. 3.5 stars. Wallace is very biased towards Obama, and while I understand the presidency is not easy, Obama certainly did not rise to the occasions that he could have as our first African American president. To the American warriors who made this mission possible, a lifetime of respect and pride. As far as the writing, this was not Wallace's best.

  12. 5 out of 5

    T.J. Hoffpauir

    This was the 2nd Chris Wallace book I've read recently. The other Countdown book I read was Countdown to 1945 & the atomic bomb creation. I've always been fascinated with the bin ladin story since it happened in May 2011, and this book definitely put a nice timeline and there were many details I havent heard before reading this. I still give it 5 stars but my only problem with it is some parts are just over the top corny. And I get it, that's kinda how I imagine Chris Wallace to be because I'm a This was the 2nd Chris Wallace book I've read recently. The other Countdown book I read was Countdown to 1945 & the atomic bomb creation. I've always been fascinated with the bin ladin story since it happened in May 2011, and this book definitely put a nice timeline and there were many details I havent heard before reading this. I still give it 5 stars but my only problem with it is some parts are just over the top corny. And I get it, that's kinda how I imagine Chris Wallace to be because I'm a big fan of him as a journalist. But there were a couple times where the added drama didn't even need to be there considering how dramatic this story is. Great Job. Highly recommend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    Page turner, written from interviews with the participants.....

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Exciting, blow by blow account if the plan to capture Osama Bin Laden. Becomes very exciting as people have to figure out if it’s Bin laden and take action. They were right!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Good summary of the events leading to the Bin Laden raid!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dale Wyant

    I was reticent to buy this because I want nothing to do with Wallace because of his association with Fox News, but wanted to read about all the strategy and behind the scenes intelligence about the raid. The movie "Zero Dark Thirty" was great, but this book really documented what happened at Langley, the White House and the military quite well. I have even more respect for President Obama and his leadership skills. However, the true heroes were Seal Team 6, their commanders and all the intellige I was reticent to buy this because I want nothing to do with Wallace because of his association with Fox News, but wanted to read about all the strategy and behind the scenes intelligence about the raid. The movie "Zero Dark Thirty" was great, but this book really documented what happened at Langley, the White House and the military quite well. I have even more respect for President Obama and his leadership skills. However, the true heroes were Seal Team 6, their commanders and all the intelligence analysts who spent years hunting Bin Laden down. I was particularly impressed that Wallace wrote about Shakil Afridi and his fate in the afterword is time the U.S. gets him out of jail! If we want any help from locals, we need to treat them as the heroes they are.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Abbott

    I was a huge fan of Chris Wallace's last book, but this one was a bridge too far. I know people want the excruciating details but the details about the death of bin Laden crossed a few bridges for me. I also much prefer that Wallace NOT narrate his own books. The narrator for Countdown 1945 was much better. Wallace's voice is too familiar and gets in the way of the story. That being said, I appreciated the historical aspects of the book, particularly about what was happening in Washington, D.C. I was a huge fan of Chris Wallace's last book, but this one was a bridge too far. I know people want the excruciating details but the details about the death of bin Laden crossed a few bridges for me. I also much prefer that Wallace NOT narrate his own books. The narrator for Countdown 1945 was much better. Wallace's voice is too familiar and gets in the way of the story. That being said, I appreciated the historical aspects of the book, particularly about what was happening in Washington, D.C.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Pettus

    This is an absolutely excellent book. Not only is it extremely informative and thoroughly researched, but it is written in a way that reads like a novel - not a textbook. I started this on September 11, 2021 which was the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It felt like the perfect time to reflect on what had happened and how are country ultimately responded. This book covers the details leading up to Osama bin Laden’s capture/assassination from the views of the President of the United St This is an absolutely excellent book. Not only is it extremely informative and thoroughly researched, but it is written in a way that reads like a novel - not a textbook. I started this on September 11, 2021 which was the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It felt like the perfect time to reflect on what had happened and how are country ultimately responded. This book covers the details leading up to Osama bin Laden’s capture/assassination from the views of the President of the United States to the SEALS who executed the mission. You get to see how the intelligence was gathered and ultimately turned into the historic military action. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this fascinating story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a compelling account of the final 247-day search for the elusive Osama bin Laden and his ultimate elimination. It relates the painstaking work of those involved from August, 2010 to May, 2011. The book is a survey of events, highlighting contributions of people rather than a detailed, deep in the weeds, account of each minute step. Wallace emphasizes the team work and planning involved, designating not one hero, but highlighting instead a number of indiviuals whose dedication and devotio This is a compelling account of the final 247-day search for the elusive Osama bin Laden and his ultimate elimination. It relates the painstaking work of those involved from August, 2010 to May, 2011. The book is a survey of events, highlighting contributions of people rather than a detailed, deep in the weeds, account of each minute step. Wallace emphasizes the team work and planning involved, designating not one hero, but highlighting instead a number of indiviuals whose dedication and devotion to this quest resulted in the ultimate success of the mission. And the importance of luck was not discounted. I have read several focused, longer versions of the bin Laden saga. Each of these was related from the perspective of specific participants as they personally experienced their assigned roles in the mission. This book, however, was more objective, introducing the reader to the various agencies and agents involved, not only the work they did, but as the complete human beings they were. There were some bits of information presented that were new to me, but mostly I appreciated how individuals from different backgrounds and concerns had come together as a team in which the whole entity was far more effective than any single part could have been. Wallace creates a clear, cogent narrative in this book as he did in his previous offering, Countdown 1945. Both books are engaging thrillers, but they are far more than that. I was not disappointed. Countdown bin Laden provided context and continuity to an event I had observed in real time and previously analyzed. Wallace gathered the loose ends and knitted them into a more comprehensible and memorable account. I did not find political bias in this book and could honestly not report what Wallace's personal political stance might be. I know him only as a reporter and author which is all that matters to me. I highly recommend this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carly Arden

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  21. 5 out of 5

    PETER MICHAEL

    A thoroughly gripping book about the long CIA search, potential discovery, and ultimate death of bin Laden by American SEALS. From my perspective, the book puts flesh on the bones of the various characters portrayed in the brilliant Zero Dark Thirty movie. I loved the way that the author counts down the days to the commencement of the near-impossible mission to capture or kill the world's most wanted terrorist. In hindsight, it now seems hard to believe that the SEAL team successfully completed A thoroughly gripping book about the long CIA search, potential discovery, and ultimate death of bin Laden by American SEALS. From my perspective, the book puts flesh on the bones of the various characters portrayed in the brilliant Zero Dark Thirty movie. I loved the way that the author counts down the days to the commencement of the near-impossible mission to capture or kill the world's most wanted terrorist. In hindsight, it now seems hard to believe that the SEAL team successfully completed a complex raid across the Pakistan border, into a highly militarised area without any casualties. The amount of detailed planning and risk mitigation plans that were put in place were truly awe-inspiring. One small niggle - I would have preferred to have read less about some of the minor politicians involved in the periphery of the raid, and more about the military characters (and the dog) who were on the front line of the action. Sadly, this book is being released at an especially poignant time - the Taliban are again violently taking over Afghanistan following the rapid withdrawal of US and other allied troops. Having a son who served with the RAF in Afghanistan, I now wonder if the deaths and injuries of our young servicemen were in vain. In summary a super read, with lots of fascinating background details.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Kelley

    Not being a fan of Chris Wallace or Fox News, I wasn't sure about reading this book. I needn't have worried. This is a compelling account of the days leading up to the death of Bin Laden. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. Even though you know the outcome, the backstory leading up to the death of bin Laden was just fascinating. The stories of all the characters involved from the highest branches of government, the Seal team and even Cairo the dog added to the tension building Not being a fan of Chris Wallace or Fox News, I wasn't sure about reading this book. I needn't have worried. This is a compelling account of the days leading up to the death of Bin Laden. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. Even though you know the outcome, the backstory leading up to the death of bin Laden was just fascinating. The stories of all the characters involved from the highest branches of government, the Seal team and even Cairo the dog added to the tension building in this story. The insight into the painstaking presentations, meetings and the final decision and how President Obama came to make it were enlightening. I appreciated the details of his work ethic, how he critically analyzed all the data presented to him, worked late into the night, and especially appreciated when it was said he knew his limits and when he needed to rely on the expertise of those around him, the military in particular. The extent the agencies go to to obtain information and the way the Seal team trained and did rehearsal runs was very enlightening. A really good and dramatic page-turner.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gary Sassaman

    This was an unexpected sequel that I really enjoyed. I had read—and liked—Wallace’s first Countdown book, 1945, which dealt with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the end of World War II. Normally you couldn’t get me to touch any book by a Fox News “personality,” (and more specifically give them money) but Wallace is probably the most sane of that bunch, which is saying a lot. This Countdown deals with the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which amounts to a countdown of 247 days from th This was an unexpected sequel that I really enjoyed. I had read—and liked—Wallace’s first Countdown book, 1945, which dealt with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the end of World War II. Normally you couldn’t get me to touch any book by a Fox News “personality,” (and more specifically give them money) but Wallace is probably the most sane of that bunch, which is saying a lot. This Countdown deals with the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which amounts to a countdown of 247 days from the first moment CIA director Leon Panetta gets credible evidence that the most-hunted man in the world is hiding in plain sight in a building in Abbotabad, Pakistan. While the CIA is never able to confirm the identity of the man they call “The Pacer,” who walks in the building’s courtyard each day, they go ahead with plans to get as much intelligence on the compound as possible. 246 days later, President Barack Obama makes the decision to send in an elite team—Seal Team 6—to invade the compound and capture or kill The Pacer. It’s a thrilling story that moves along at an exciting pace. While I normally like historical non-fiction of a bit older age, this was a great read, and I look forward to Wallace (who is the son of legendary 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace, so there is some kind of pedigree there) continuing the Countdown series (something he seemed surprised to be doing).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol Ghattas

    Chris Wallace does a good job in guiding readers through the months prior to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. He weaves stories of those affected by the tragic events of 9/11, along with Navy seals, CIA analysts, military brass, and politicians involved in the intelligence gathering, the decision-making process, and the raid itself. It's like watching a puzzle being put together, where no one person comes out the hero, but everyone is part of a team in a historic moment in our Chris Wallace does a good job in guiding readers through the months prior to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. He weaves stories of those affected by the tragic events of 9/11, along with Navy seals, CIA analysts, military brass, and politicians involved in the intelligence gathering, the decision-making process, and the raid itself. It's like watching a puzzle being put together, where no one person comes out the hero, but everyone is part of a team in a historic moment in our country's history. The story, though full of detail, is clear and easy to read. It's easy to see Wallace's political views in his writing, but it's not so overbearing that the story cannot be enjoyed and appreciated. A good read and one that's important for readers who did not live through that fateful day in 2001 or even the day of justice in 2011.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mrsfeen84

    As was the case with Countdown 1945, I loved the format! More like a thriller, at times, than nonfiction. Quite enjoyable in that regard. What I didn't love was the interjection of politics. If you didn't know before, you surely know now who Mr. Wallace has voted for. I sometimes wasn't sure if Mr. Wallace was intent on telling the story of the end of Osama's reign or to paint so many politicians as pious, carrying around their rosary beads, so thoughtful and cerebral. Was it necessary to put Tr As was the case with Countdown 1945, I loved the format! More like a thriller, at times, than nonfiction. Quite enjoyable in that regard. What I didn't love was the interjection of politics. If you didn't know before, you surely know now who Mr. Wallace has voted for. I sometimes wasn't sure if Mr. Wallace was intent on telling the story of the end of Osama's reign or to paint so many politicians as pious, carrying around their rosary beads, so thoughtful and cerebral. Was it necessary to put Trump in at the Correspondents Dinner? We are bombarded with politics relentlessly. Reading is my escape from that negativity. It was disappointing to have needless political commentary interjected into what might otherwise been more enjoyable.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    This book recounts the 10 year search for Osama Bin Laden to capture or kill him. I really enjoyed the background of the many people involved in a very frustrating search. It was interesting to see the many areas of expertise and what brought these individuals into public service. I read a few reviews and some people seemed disappointed that Pres. Obama was portrayed in a favorable light. Really! I hope I don't come to the point that I can't appreciate a job well done whether the president has a This book recounts the 10 year search for Osama Bin Laden to capture or kill him. I really enjoyed the background of the many people involved in a very frustrating search. It was interesting to see the many areas of expertise and what brought these individuals into public service. I read a few reviews and some people seemed disappointed that Pres. Obama was portrayed in a favorable light. Really! I hope I don't come to the point that I can't appreciate a job well done whether the president has a D or an R behind his name. Fast read, I felt it gave a very good overview of the operation and the spies, military and political figures behind it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Romina Villaflor-Wilson

    So vividly written I can envision the looks in the protagonists’ faces as Wallace describes the roller-coaster of emotions in the lead-up to the most successful mitary operation in modern history. Being Catholic, what resonated with me most are the anecdotes of powerful men in government who, in the most stressful of times, are described taking their rosaries out and silently thumbing along to it as the operation was underway ( I could count maybe 3-4 instances in the book), all the way to that So vividly written I can envision the looks in the protagonists’ faces as Wallace describes the roller-coaster of emotions in the lead-up to the most successful mitary operation in modern history. Being Catholic, what resonated with me most are the anecdotes of powerful men in government who, in the most stressful of times, are described taking their rosaries out and silently thumbing along to it as the operation was underway ( I could count maybe 3-4 instances in the book), all the way to that fateful Sunday where Pres. Obama made that historic announcement. This is a book that people will periodically go back to to relive a moment of national pride, and I am so glad I got to read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    LifelessLifeForm

    3 or 3.5 stars! I picked this up due to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and it was SO interesting. I've always been interested in what led up to this bin Laden raid and have watched many documentaries on it. This book had the most detail of them all, and it was really interesting to see it! Sometimes, I got a little bored? Not necessarily bored per se, but I was like "can this part me over already" and I found myself skipping the last part of the book. Overall, a VERY interesting read, but I probab 3 or 3.5 stars! I picked this up due to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and it was SO interesting. I've always been interested in what led up to this bin Laden raid and have watched many documentaries on it. This book had the most detail of them all, and it was really interesting to see it! Sometimes, I got a little bored? Not necessarily bored per se, but I was like "can this part me over already" and I found myself skipping the last part of the book. Overall, a VERY interesting read, but I probably won't re-read it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    ElaineY

    The glimpses into the lives and effects of the people involved in one way or another with 9-11 attacks made this much more than just a non-fiction thriller or SEAL teams PR. It was poignant and sad at times but it also gave me a glimpse into the personality of Obama without having to read a whole biography. The epilogue which was about how those mentioned in the book was faring was, again, a little sad. I'm giving this 5 stars even if there are better accounts of other special ops missions becau The glimpses into the lives and effects of the people involved in one way or another with 9-11 attacks made this much more than just a non-fiction thriller or SEAL teams PR. It was poignant and sad at times but it also gave me a glimpse into the personality of Obama without having to read a whole biography. The epilogue which was about how those mentioned in the book was faring was, again, a little sad. I'm giving this 5 stars even if there are better accounts of other special ops missions because it engaged me emotionally right from the start. I listened to this in one sitting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Loved it! Listened to the audiobook narrated by the author. Very well organized, concise, easy to follow accounting of the myriad of events happening simultaneously and required to pull off the successful capture and execution of Bin Laden. I enjoyed the insight into the personalities of the major players involved. Chris Wallace is a terrific narrator and depicted a proud moment for our country, with branches of government working together and avoiding leaks that could have derailed the mission.

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