Michael Burleigh

Was It Worth It All?

The 9/11 Wars


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 709pp £30 order from our bookshop

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has brought a slew of books that either chronicle the genesis of that atrocity or, as in this case, recount its protracted aftermath. Jason Burke is well placed to undertake such a task, having previously written a book on al-Qaeda and reported from many of the places he discusses. In essence, his new book is an attempt to name and periodise the post-9/11 wars, though they are far from over. Seventeen people are currently killed as a result of terrorism each day in Iraq, where the US is no longer engaged in combat operations and the British have fled the scene. There are still huge Western forces in Afghanistan, with a further covert presence in Pakistan. New theatres for CIA drone strikes have opened in Somalia and Yemen. And NATO is trying to lever democratic rebels (and apparently jihadis) into power in Libya. Burke estimates that the 9/11 wars have, so far, been responsible for a quarter of a million violent deaths and a further 750,000 injured.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,