Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda

Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda

Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda

Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda

Excerpt

The Orange Bowl, Miami’s iconic, rickety football stadium, was the venue for the glory years of Miami football—from the hometown Dolphins’ perfect year of 1972, and their Super Bowl runs of the 1970s, to the rise of the University of Miami Hurricanes and their first collegiate national championship in 1982. When my parents moved the family, five kids, to Miami from Washington, D.C., in the mid-1960s, they bought season tickets to the Dolphins and held them for a few decades. My father often lent the tickets out, but he occasionally returned to Dolphins games after I left for college. It was part of growing up for me, watching the Dolphins in searing heat, and attending that first Hurricanes national championship victory in the Orange Bowl. It was there that my career started, and this story begins.

Months into graduate school studying English literature at the University of Virginia, things weren’t going entirely smoothly. The students were too good—not competitive in a negative way, just too smart, too focused, and too driven. My grades weren’t good, David Letterman was a great diversion on late-night television, and I soon understood that I would never be able to pursue a doctorate and settle into a professorship. As I searched for the next step, teaching kids to love literature seemed like a good option: until threedozen high schools rejected my resume, all in similar letters that I taped to the refrigerator door. After earning a Master’s degree in literature, I found myself working at a tiny newsletter publishing company in the suburbs of Washington . . .

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