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Book Review: The Ghost War by Alex Berenson 02/20/2010

Posted by PinoyMan in Book Reviews, Uncategorized.
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Alex Berenson’s The Ghost War is the first spy thriller book that I’ve completed reading.  I’ve tried to read several times before, mostly Clancy stuff like Rainbow Six and Without Remorse, but I almost always ends up abandoning them.  But this time it’s different.  The story just grabbed me and never let go till the epilogue.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post here, I’ve never known Alex Berenson before discovering The Ghost War.  But now that I’ve read it, I’ll be on the lookout for the next Berenson novel.  Actually, I’ve yet to read the first one, The Faithful Spy.  There were several references to the first novel but they were not a hindrance to the novel’s full enjoyment even if you haven’t read the first book.  It would be interesting for me to read The Faithful Spy since I will be now be able to connect the referenced events to the actual events.  It will be just like reading a prequel 🙂

What I like about Alex Berenson is that he defines or describes those military or political terms which may not be so familiar to the casual reader.  Alex described that painting means being detected in radar, etc.

In “The Ghost War,” the New York Times reporter Alex Berenson has fashioned a smart, economically written spy novel that imagines a future clash with the Chinese. As such, it’s a novel for policy wonks, with a very sophisticated vision of how a conflict with China could come about, akin to the kind of war-gaming scenarios that occupy Washington strategists. — Robert D. Kaplan, The New York Times

Critics have pointed out that Alex plotted a plausible scenario and I couldn’t agree more.  The issues are fresh and the characters are believable.  Even minor characters like the poor Chinese boy who would eventually start a nationwide riot and the Captain of the Decatur are memorable.  These along with hard-hitting action, in the vein of the Bourne movies, combined to bring about a book that is definitely unputdownable.

If they ever do make a John Wells movie in the future, I would suggest Gerard Butler for the role of John Wells.  He has the charisma and the built for the role.  And I think his gruff voice will be just right!

One last thing, I saw the e-mail of Alex Berenson in the last pages of the book and I e-mailed him a complimentary message regarding The Ghost War.  And lo and behold, he replied!  That made my day.  Here’s a screenshot of his reply:

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