Praise for When Reagan Sent In the Marines
"In this formidable narrative, the prize-winning and super honest reporter, Patrick Sloyan, adds the depth of a scholar's context to produce a gripping reminder of why we should never forget history. He makes readers feel like they were eye witnesses." Ralph Nader
"Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sloyan succinctly chronicles the decades of hostility toward the American government before the suicide truck bombing, with much of that ill will related to U.S. support of Israel...The Beirut attacks proved not to be an isolated incident; they inspired Osama bin Laden to spread the word that terrorism against the U.S. was effective, a message that reached its horrible apotheosis on 9/11. Sloyan portrays the president at the time, Ronald Reagan, as an uninformed chief executive who shared the viewpoints of his hawkish military and civilian aides." Kirkus
Praise for The Politics of Deception
“This riveting book is a compelling read….With dogged persistence, scrupulous archival work and firsthand interviews, [Sloyan] has turned on its ear the sanitized history of the last year of John F. Kennedy's presidency….[a] solid, reliable narrative.” The Washington Times
“This study will appeal to general readers and researchers intrigued by the Kennedy mystique and its relationship to reality by showing the pragmatic president as part of a long-standing tradition of hard-nosed decision makers, a fact that tempered his idealism.” Library Journal
“Dogged by crises, Kennedy often took advantage of a traditional but disreputable presidential tactic, and Sloyan delivers an engrossing, squirm-inducing account.” Publishers Weekly
“The Politics of Deception is filled with the drama and dialogue of a best-selling thriller. That's because the stories are factual and its author, Pulitzer Prize-winner Pat Sloyan, is a captivating wordsmith. As a White House reporter, Pat witnessed these events unfold, and his meticulous research on newly released records bolsters this exciting expose of President John F. Kennedy's three biggest crises. Pat's riveting revelations are certain to make you question much of what you learned in history class.” Don Fulsom, author of Nixon's Darkest Secrets
“Pat Sloyan for five decades has exhibited fierce integrity, honesty, diligence, and factual news judgment like few in his profession. A stickler for journalistic ethics, he has rejected official source journalism whenever truth was the alternative.” Ralph Nader
“In the fraternity of Washington reporters, Sloyan is a brand name for integrity, hard digging to get at buried truths and hard-wired for accuracy.” William Greider, New York Times bestselling author of Who Will Tell The People?
“Patrick Sloyan has a sterling reputation as one of America's best reporters for more than half a century. His grasp of the changing American political scene over the decades is second to none. If Pat says it's so it means he has double and triple checked it before writing it. Patrick Sloyan is just about the last of the old breed of shoe-leather reporters and deserves to be read and treasured.” Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, We Are Soldiers Still, and Triumph Without Victory: A History of the Persian Gulf War
“Pat Sloyan, like me, was for years president of the Fund for Investigative Journalism so I'm familiar with his work. Let me just say that after almost 40 years with the Washington Post and now scholar in residence at American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, I know more reporters than I can count: bad, indifferent, good, and great. Pat is one of the great ones.” George Lardner Jr.
“Pat Sloyan is as good as it gets in my business...it's really appropriate that he has chosen to write about lying at the top he has seen firsthand the results of such lies on the battle field.” Seymour Hersh, Polk Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist
“Any reportage by Pat Sloyan over the last fifty years has had one singular trait, it is bound to be unassailably accurate.” James Srodes, author of On Dupont Circle: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Progressives Who Shaped Our World
“The Politics of Deception should rank as one of the best books written about the relationship between presidents and the press. New insights and new history from a great reporter who has been there and everywhere.” Richard Reeves, New York Times bestselling author of Daring Young Men and President Kennedy: Profile of Power
“Pat Sloyan does not scare easily. His integrity, his courage, his quiet ferocity and his common sense have long inspired his admiring colleagues.” Roger Mudd, Peabody Award- and Emmy Award-winning news anchor
A look back at the massacre of 241 Marines at their barracks in Beirut in 1983 and how the fallout from that tragedy still influences American foreign policy today.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sloyan (The Politics of Deception: JFK's Secret Decisions on Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Cuba, 2015)—who covered international affairs since 1960 and died in February 2019 after finishing this book—succinctly chronicles the decades of hostility toward the American government before the suicide truck bombing, with much of that ill will related to U.S. support of Israel. Some of the author's research occurred in recent years and some during the 1980s during his postings in Washington, D.C., Jerusalem, Beirut, and Cairo. The targeting of the Marine barracks had been foreshadowed six months earlier by a terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which killed 63 individuals, including 17 Americans. Sloyan portrays the president at the time, Ronald Reagan, as an uninformed chief executive who shared the viewpoints of his hawkish military and civilian aides. As the author shows, the administration failed to protect Americans in Lebanon partly because they never properly grasped the dynamics of the Middle East. Part of Sloyan's exposé, which also offers parallels to contemporary history, focuses on how Reagan refused to accept blame for the fatal mistakes, instead using Marine Col. Timothy Geraghty as an undeserving scapegoat. At the end of the book, the author includes an anecdote suggesting that despite Reagan's scapegoating of Geraghty, he remained a loyal Marine who refused to lash out at his commander in chief. Throughout the book, Sloyan points out "misleading statements and downright lies by both the American and Israeli governments." The Beirut attacks proved not to be an isolated incident; they inspired Osama bin Laden to spread the word that terrorism against the U.S. was effective, a message that reached its horrible apotheosis on 9/11.
Readers who believe Reagan deserves a positive ranking as president will find Sloyan's exposé disturbing.
The devastating explosion of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983, resulted in the deaths of 241 American soldiers. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sloyan, who died in early 2019, crafts a smartly written account of America's military involvement in Lebanon in the early 1980s after Israel invaded the country in June 1982. President Ronald Reagan sent American troops to help secure the area, but the barracks in which they were housed were not well secured; the main entrance was protected by barbed wire, not hard barriers. The bombers used trucks to drive into the compound where they set off 21,000 pounds of TNT, leveling the area. Sloyan details the decision-making by American government officials that led to military engagement in Lebanon, along with the divisions among the administration's leading figures as to how to respond to the attack. VERDICT Complementary to Benis Frank's thoroughly researched U.S. Marines in Lebanon, 1982–1984 and John Laffin's The War of Desperation: Lebanon 1982–1984, this smoothly written assessment of a modern American military disaster will be a worthwhile addition to most history collections.—Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames