With the current deluge of books being written by current and former government officials, Never Again is a refreshing look by John Ashcroft at his own term in service and the subsequent trials and tribulations of the attacks on 9/11, both prior to and following the events.
The book opens with Ashcroft discussing the 2000 Missouri Senate race and his loss to his deceased opponent, Mel Carnahan. This topic is covered briefly but thoroughly before he goes into his nomination for Attorney General, where he discusses the committee hearings and the battle to get Senate confirmation. After that section, Ashcroft moves on to troubles at the FBI: The Indianapolis Baptist temple case, dealing with FBI-agent-turned-spy Robert Hanssen, who sold classified information to the Russians, and the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. This is an interesting, even entertaining revisiting of recent history, especially if you arenít familiar with or have forgotten about these incidents.
This takes listeners all the way up to the events of September 11th, 2001. Ashcroft talks about where he was and how he felt that day - the moment he got the news and the troubles he had being in an aircraft when the FAA shut down all U.S. airspace, especially that over Washington, D.C. Ashcroft delves into more on the immediate reaction and the particulars on the days immediately after America was attacked.
In the rest of the audiobook abridgement, Ashcroft deals with the post-9/11 world, giving tremendous insight into such subjects as the Patriot Act (which is more than just a name; itís an acronym as well), foiled terror plans, and the domestic response to terror alongside other personal strife he went through.
In most cases, having an author read his work is a recipe for disaster. Not so here. Ashcroft not only handles himself well (the audio production is excellent) in his reading, but he also lays the material out in an informative and entertaining way. He also shows tremendous restraint in not assessing blame. Instead, Never Again explains more than it rants or raves, making for a fascinating listen.