November 6, 2010

Book Review: Relentless Pursuit

Title:  Relentless Pursuit: The DSS and the Manhunt for the Al-Queda Terrorists
Author: Samuel M. Katz
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Pages: 297
Genre: Intelligence Non-Fiction
Related Books: Jawbreaker by Gary Berntsen

On February 26, 1993, an Econoline Van filled with 1,500 pounds of homemade fertilizer based explosive urea nitrate was parked in the basement of the World Trade Center Tower One.  Strategically positioned next to a support beam, the blasts intention was to topple Tower One into Tower Two, killing tens of thousands.  Underestimating the structural strength of the building, the explosion carved a crater 150 feet in diameter and 50 feet deep killing six, but terrorizing millions.

Relentless Pursuit chronicles the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) manhunt for al-Queda terrorists.  From the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 to the notorious and fateful day in September 2001, the book follows various Special Agents offering worldwide security and investigations in areas touched by the menace and murder of al-Queda.  From New York City to the Philippines to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Sudan, Afghanistan, Islamabad, Beirut, Tanzania and back to New York City, bombings, assassinations and the subsequent investigations are detailed in this book.

There are a lot of individuals presented , good and bad, some reappear throughout the book, others are mentioned once or twice.  Each bombing could provide enough information to warrant its own book.  The setting changes quickly.  The book becomes heavy with the large amounts of information.  Also, the book could use another round of editing.  However, this book wasn't released for its literary prowess, but instead to provide information.  It is an excellent source of knowledge into the minds and actions of an organization that does not easily forget; holding revenge and hatred in very high esteem.  Al-Queda still uses the Crusades as a rallying cry.  In the United States, our memory span is very short.  Who remembers the details of the WTC bomb from 1993?  These are not things that we should forget.