Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Reviews Are In

From The Economist, 12 February 2009

“Securing the City” is a gritty, down-to-earth work; a very American book about a very American city. Mr Dickey accompanies cops on the beat, rides in their helicopters and describes in detail their gizmos and their crime labs. He delights in a tough-guy language that owes as much to Mickey Spillane as to Raymond Chandler. So the general reader can enjoy a book that has the pace and drama of a thriller, and for the specialist interested in questions such as how to defend a city of nearly 8.5m people, or what turns young Muslims into suicide-bombers, there is much to ponder.

As the Middle East editor of Newsweek, Mr Dickey is not only one of America’s most knowledgeable commentators on the area, he was writing about Osama bin Laden for almost a decade before the attacks on the twin towers. He adds fascinating new detail and asks some troubling questions.

From The New York Times, 4 February 2009

In his revealing and nerve-rattling new book, “Securing the City,” a look inside the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism division, Christopher Dickey recounts the details of dozens of terrorist plots against New York City and elsewhere. Some were planned by smart and determined people, others by misfits and crazies and DVD addicts who couldn’t pull off the heist of two AAA batteries at a Radio Shack. The problem, Mr. Dickey writes, is that, given luck and the right assistance, “even the dumb ones could be dangerous as hell.”

“Securing the City” recounts the story of how, within a few years after Sept. 11, the Police Department transformed itself from a large but not untypical urban police force into one that possessed one of the world’s elite intelligence-gathering operations. The department had no choice. Terrorists are obsessed with New York City, focusing on it, Mr. Dickey writes, “like a compass needle quivering toward magnetic north.”....

From The Washington Post, 1 February 2009

Securing the City deftly, colorfully and persuasively highlights how large national bureaucracies can learn from nimble and fleet-footed local start-ups. After all, a speedboat can always run circles around a supertanker.

From The Rocky Mountain News, 30 January 2009

Readers will be scared by the near misses and anxious about the future, but can't help but also be inspired by this well-researched story of just why and how plot after plot against the city has been foiled.

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