New York: Grove Press / Grove Atlantic, 2003. Paperback. NEW. B/W photography. Index. 13.7 x 21 cm. 560 pp. Item #14651
In the early 1980s, a Houston socialite turned the attention of maverick Texas congressman Charlie Wilson to the ragged band of Afghan “freedom fighters” who continued, despite overwhelming odds, to fight the Soviet invaders. The congressman became passionate about their cause. At a time when Ronald Reagan faced a total cutoff of funding for the Contra war, Wilson, who sat on the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee, managed to procure hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahideen. The arms were secretly obtained and distributed with the help of an out-of-favor CIA operative, Gust Avrakotos, who handpicked a staff of CIA outcasts to run his operation and, with their help, continually stretched the Agency’s rules to the breaking point.
Moving from the back rooms of the Capitol to secret chambers at Langley, from arms dealers’ conventions to the Khyber Pass, Charlie Wilson’s War presents an astonishing chapter of our recent past, and the key to understanding what helped trigger the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and ultimately led to the emergence of a brand-new foe in the form of radical Islam.