Book Review: Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction

This book is the second out of a set of four written by Bob Woodward on the Bush Presidency. It details the days from the end of 9/11 through the invasion of Iraq. The book is a result of over 75 compiled interviews with several members of the Cabinet including the President himself.

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In many places in the book, Woodward analyzes and often criticizes the decisions made by several cabinet members, including the President himself. He questions, and even rejects the veracity of a lot of the evidence brought to the cabinet members and mocks their decisions at times. However, aside from this book being essentially a primary source, Woodward also gains access to evidence from the President that is revealed to the public for the first time in his book, making him an extremely credible source.

The book as a whole focuses mainly on the politics involved in the decision to invade Iraq and is good reading for anyone interested in learning about the topic. However, the coverage of topics such as international influences and socio-economic impacts is superfluous. This leads to a skewed point of view where the United States is seen as almost the only player in the conflict, save Iraq and Great Britain. Bob Woodward gives almost no credit to outside influence until the very last few pages where he talks about Tony Blair and other leaders who have strong opinions regarding the invasion.

Despite the fact that the book is focused on the Bush presidency, some of the most thrilling occurrences take place far from Washington. For instance, some of stories include a report on the C.I.A. covert paramilitary team in northern Iraq with their spies that ultimately provide them with files of the 6,000 men in Saddam Hussein’s personal security organization.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Plan of Attack: The Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq

Book Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

In this book, the author weaves a terrifying tale of a girl who can see the date on which each person will die. A novel concept which is well-executed, this book promises to leave you on the edge of your seat.

This book is written is from a young girl’s perspective. And while it is understandable that the author would want to stay in character, the writing style of this book seems a little amateur, in that it is difficult to grasp a deeper meaning from the book because a lot of the character’s thoughts seem predictable and superfluous.

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Inaction is better than action that leads to bad consequences, isn’t it? 

Numbers. Dates. Days that people will die.

Jem holds all of this information inside. Every person she sees has a number floating above them, but she tells no one and does nothing. The last time she tried, her mother screamed and called her insane.

She finally decides to confide in Spider, a kid who goes to her school. They try following a person whose date is the day they see him, and ultimately lead him to his death. Jem then vows that doing nothing will always be better than trying to change destiny.

This thinking comes in her way when Jem and Spider go to a town where everyone has the same date on their head- today’s date. Jem has no idea what’s going to happen, but she convinces Spider to run with her. They escape right before the whole city blows up.

What Jem hadn’t counted on, however, was being painted as a suspect for the bombing that occurred that day. She must run, or risk being brought in with no explanation except the numbers that only she sees.

What will she do?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Numbers: Book 1