Charlie Wilson's War Summary & Study Guide

George Crile III
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Charlie Wilson's War.
This section contains 523 words
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Charlie Wilson's War Summary & Study Guide Description

Charlie Wilson's War Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile III.

George Crile tells the nearly unbelievable tale of Charlie Wilson and his passionate support of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The book opens near the end of the story, as Charlie Wilson receives an award from the CIA, a rare event for a civilian.

The action then flashes back to Wilson's early days in the Congress. He lives a wild, party life, highlighted by parties in Las Vegas hotels with strippers and hot tubs. As he moves up in the political spectrum, he frequently finds ways to pass the cost of his playboy lifestyle on to the congressional budget. At heart, though, Wilson serves his country as a patriot. The author describes a small boy who listened intently to reports from the front during World War II. He championed the cause of underdogs in his home town of Trinity, Texas.

Wilson, however, is not the only character in this story. Gust Avrakotos, the son of Greek immigrants, enters in chapter three. He grows up firmly ensconced in the middle class in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. However, his strong and varied aptitudes attract the attention of CIA recruiters. He enters the spy agency out of college, drawn by the promise of adventure. However, the agency shows signs of an Ivy League club, and Avrakotos soon realizes, as an outsider, his opportunities appear limited. Yet, he pursues his career.

Lastly, the author introduces Joanne Herring, a wealthy, ultra-conservative from Texas. She politically woos Charlie Wilson, though romance only sparks much later. Herring shares a peculiar friendship with an unpopular president in Pakistan, Zia. Though his religion, Islam, usually limits the actions of women, Zia connects with Herring and appoints her unofficial ambassador for Pakistan. Herring, in turn, introduces Zia's cause to Wilson.

After an invasion by the Soviet Union, in an attempt to spread their communist doctrine, tribesmen from Afghanistan attack. Pakistan offers secret support and refuge for those fleeing their villages. Herring introduces the conflict to Wilson. It speaks to his support of underdogs. Instantly, he authorizes congress to double the CIA's budget for Afghanistan, which draws no interest in America.

Most of the book follows the globe-crossing adventures of Wilson and Avrakotos as they escalate the conflict against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Wilson's specific quest is to give the fighters, the mujahideen, a rocket to shoot down deadly helicopters, called Hind. The journey takes them to Egypt, Israel, France, and, mostly, Pakistan. In each country, they receive royal treatment unlike they see at home. Most of all, they bring together a large portion of the world, mostly small countries, against the Soviet superpower. After six years, the budget grows from some millions of dollars to over one billion dollars per year. With the introduction of the American Stinger rocket, they finally bring down the Hind and, with them, the Soviets. Soon after, the Soviet empire collapses.

However, this story intertwines with America's newest conflict in the same region. The author explains the motivations of these radicals often misunderstood by those in the west. This chapter of the story, the author points out, is not over.

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This section contains 523 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Charlie Wilson's War Study Guide
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