Directorate S by Steve Coll

Directorate S

Resuming the narrative of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars, bestselling author Steve Coll tells for the first time the epic and enthralling story of America's intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11 Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, ...

Details Directorate S

TitleDirectorate S
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, Politics, Cultural, Pakistan

Reviews Directorate S

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    Directorate S is the gripping sequel to Steve Coll's Pulitzer winning Ghost Wars about the longest war in American history - the war in Afghanistan. The first book stopped on 10 September 2001 whereas this book picks up right as the World Trade Center towers are struck and chaos erupts. As in Ghost Wars, the research is astounding and the narrative both interesting and captivating. The author seeks to explain why America got into this quagmire an...
  • Murtaza
    Reading Ghost Wars many years ago provided a great background education on the history of the U.S. War on Terror. This book is billed as a continuation of that history, focused primarily on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan that began in 2001. Directorate S aims to be a definitive narrative of that period and as such covers a lot of ground, running to over 700 pages that cover everything from top-level political negotiations to accounts o...
  • Steven Z.
    In 2004 Steve Coll earned his second Pulitzer Prize for GHOST WARS: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE CIA, AFGHANISTAN AND BIN LADEN, FROM THE SOVIET INVASION TO SEPTEMBER 10, 2001. The book provided a reliable analytical approach as it explained what led to al-Qaeda’s rise amidst Afghanistan’s civil war which culminated with the attack on September 11th. Coll’s new book DIRECTORATE S: THE CIA AND AMERICA’S SECRET WARS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN...
  • Stephen Yoder
    Wow. The scope of this book is simply impressive. It covers 15 years, several nations, a wide scope of characters, many government agencies, leaders that come & go, and so many covert actions from all sides. I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I don't anticipate ever visiting Afghanistan or Pakistan so this is the closest I'll get to learning about the endless intrigue inside & between these two nations. Coll calls out all of follies surrounding the ...
  • Uptownbookwormnyc
    Ugh, I'm finally finished with this book. 2 stars feels too harsh for such an epic effort but I also don't think it really deserves 3 full stars. At nearly 700 pages spanning 15 years, I feel the book lost the forest for the trees to some degree. Jam-packed with names & personages, add in the alphabet soup of government offices (NSF, NSC, ISI, ISAF...) & military terms (APOBS & MICLICs, etc.), journalistically sound I found it a little lacking in...
  • Jerome
    A vivid, well-researched and painful history of US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2001 to 2016, picking up where Coll left off in Ghost Wars.Much of the story is built around CIA’s relationship with ISI, but Coll clearly describes the policy decisions made and implemented by the US government, the military, and the intelligence community; how these decisions affected US relations with Pakistan and the course of America's longest w...
  • Karen
    Long and detailed, but a fascinating read.
  • Lynn
    This is a review of the audiobook. It is well read and clearly by Malcolm Hillgartner, who has read many audiobooks. Directorate S is a secret division of Pakistan's ISI, Pakistan's Intelligence Agency. It was this agency that helped the Taliban and probably hid Osama Bin Laden's location in Pakistan. Steve Coll's book picks up where his Ghost Wars left off. Ahmad Shah Massoud has been assassinated just before 9/11. He had been warning the CIA of...
  • Marcus
    A good book, but not nearly as compelling as Ghost Wars. It can feel episodic or even scattered due to scope of what it's trying to cover, but its disparate chapters are frequently engaging and powerful. Some of it does get a bit dry.Some versions of the book's cover & subtitle promise that the book tells the history from 2001-2016. Disappointingly, the book really covers until 2014 and gives a condensed description in the epilogue of what happen...
  • John
    Praise must be given to the author for a thoroughly researched and well-written book, in which the development of the book may have incurred some personal danger in the lands he went to and wrote.I have not read his previous book on this subject, entitled Ghost Wars, so my one suggestion might be to read that one first. That book was pre 9-11 and Directorate S is post 9-11. It is a book that documents the efforts and challenges faced by the Unite...
  • Jared
    Afghan poetry says that: “Whenever there is trouble in Afghanistan, there is trouble in all of Asia.”PURPOSE OF BOOK- Directorate S seeks to provide a thorough, reliable history of how the C.I.A., I.S.I., and Afghan intelligence agencies influenced the rise of a new war in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, and how that war fostered a revival of Al Qaeda, allied terrorist networks, and, eventually, branches of the Islamic State. The b...
  • Ron Smith
    In the second half of Steve Coll's excellent reportage on America's Afghanistan entanglement, he begins to interweave journal entries from a second lieutenant. After the young American arrives in country, his entries quickly turn from nervous anticipation to disillusionment as he experiences the loss of fellow soldiers and deals with constant fear and carnage. A reader can see the PTSD forming in the spaces between the officer's words. Echos of V...
  • Stephen Morrissey
    All of the muck, muddled decision-making, and delusions that have culminated in the Afghanistan War, and the larger problems of the AfPak region, are seamlessly folded within Steve Coll's "Directorate S." In the tradition of the war reporting of Halberstam and Sheehan during the Vietnam era, Coll illuminates the American, Afghan, and Pakistani sides of the conflict, shedding light on why the initial invasion so rapidly crumbled as President Bush ...
  • Adil Ehsan
    Very well written and really shed a light on the difficult tri-patriate of Afghan-US-Pak relations, though its still 60% US perspective/history, 30% Afgan and only 10% Pakistan despite the title whcih implies a stronger Pakistan focus. I also found the history suprisingly well balanced between all three viewpoints though there are some issues.However one key point I ahve to point out is how badly reviewed this book is. Not in terms of quality (Mo...
  • Martin
    Journalist Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 was sublime journalism, the winner of a 2005 Pulitzer Prize. It documented the rise of Islamist radicalism and U.S. intelligence agencies' involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1979 -- the momentous year of the Soviet invasion and Iranian revolution -- to Sept. 10, 2001. It is among a handful of books...
  • William J.
    Lieutenant General Doug Lute appointed by President Obama to coordinate the war efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq put together a PowerPoint presentation about Afghanistan, "...titled "Ten Wars," referring to what his final count had determined were ten distinctly commanded military forces in Afghanistan" (Coll, p. 336). How can there be a well coordinated end state oriented effort when every agency runs its own war? Steve Coll titles this book...
  • Miles Kwiatek
    Directorate S is a book, yes, but if I were to try and find a more accurate word to describe it, I'd probably have to settle on "tome". It's extremely long, very detailed (with a five-page dramatis personae), and monolithic in its scope. Of course, any book describing the better part of two decades in one of the world's most complicated regions would be. Fortunately, Steve Coll is a master of exploring vast subjects through various lenses, and Di...
  • Khalid Khan
    I was really interested in this book when I looked at the title - Directorate S. This book would reveal how Directorate S in Pakistan's ISI managed to undermine the whole Afghan war with a fraction of resources available to the large ISAF Army sent to rebuild and make Afghanistan terror proof. Sadly, there was nothing except the names of the generals who ran ISI and and Army and notes of their meetings with their American counterparts. After I pu...
  • Devin Croft
    Coll has already won two Pulitzers for his previous work, including "Ghost Wars" which can be considered a prequel to this book. Directorate S refers to the division Pakistan's ISI that is responsible for supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The book does a good job of laying out the rationale for Pakistan's support of the Taliban and the methods used by "S" to carry out it's mission. In some ways not unlike the CIA's use of locals and contract...
  • G Marks
    This is one behemoth of a book! I love political history and this book is filled with it. It is the inside story of the U.S. involvement in the Afghan-Pakistan war, covering the years since the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center/Pentagon, up to 2017. I had heard a terrific recent interview on NPR with the author, Steve Coll (winner of the Pulitzer for his equally-long book 'The Ghost Wars'), and knew I had to read this book. Coll's meticulous ...
  • Syed
    A must read for those, who wants to understand, the dynamics played in Afghan war. It's not surprising to learn, how inefficient and bureaucratic laden, American war machine is. Through out the book it was evident that, though America doesn't have any tangible proof against Pakistan, but yet all of the war machine, went ahead of accusing Pakistan, of it's failure.The only country, which paid the highest cost of this war was Pakistan. The whole in...
  • Suzanne Auckerman
    It took a while to read this book. There are many people to track, US, GB, Afghanistan, Pakistan mainly. Also, I had to go back and check the map of Afghanistan for some areas. While I never got to the provinces of Helmand, Herat, and Kandahar (tried and we could not get anyone to take us, not by plane and certainly not by car--clear indication of trouble), we did into the Panjshir Valley. We met Karzai and heard his speech on women's right on In...
  • Mubeen Irfan
    This is a sequel to Ghost Wars but can be read even without reading Ghost Wars. Still, I strongly recommend to anyone who hasn't read Ghost Wars to go back and read it before starting this one. This book will then make a hundred times more sense.It starts with the death of Ahmed Shah Masood and 9/11 immediately happening post his assassination bringing the US back to Afghanistan. What follows is a detailed account of tri party mess created in thi...
  • Matthew Griffiths
    Just as Ghost Wars was a superb account of the events that lead to 9/11 this is an excellent account of how the conflict in Afghanistan has evolved and grown in the 15 years that are covered in this volume. For anyone who wants a detailed narrative of the flow of this conflict, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The involvement that Pakistan has in this phase of the conflict is even more troubling than that discussed in Ghost Wars and th...
  • Steve
    Alternately frustrating, infuriating, and heartbreaking, this book is an excellent comprehensive guide to what the US has been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11. Two 2-term presidents without a clear vision of what we were trying to accomplish, competition from different agencies within the same government, uncooperative governments willing to receive billions in aid from the US while at the same time working directly against our state...
  • Peter Podbielski
    Steve Coll's most disturbing book. The narrative is Afghanistan, however, the underlying theme is a story of limits of American power and mismatched means and ends. The U.S., "rich, technologically advanced, and often ably staffed, [with a] foreign policy, intelligence, and military machine built for competition with other states" to win conventional wars against opposing armies, to negotiate treaties with professional diplomats, to patrol sea la...
  • Andrew Tollemache
    Once again a solid work by Steve Coll that takes place right where his "Ghost Wars" left off on the eve of 9/11. The book focuses on the tangled web of conflicting interests and plots among the US military/CIA, the Afghan govt (and all its ethnic factions) and the Pakistani state, which also had competing stakeholders. At one point things got so muddled that Afghanistan was trying to fight the Taliban using Pakistan as a sanctuary while the Paki...
  • Abdul
    I was massively disappointed by the book, owing to the fact that it doesn't provide any new information about the agency it is named after. It does a good job of summarizing the second Afghan war(2001-till date) and what the Afghan and American sides were thinking. There are far better books on ISI available in the market (the one by Owen L Sirrs is superior to the one by Hein G Kessling). As far as the hunt for Bin Laden is concerned, the book '...