Killing the Killers Book Summary - Killing the Killers Book explained in key points
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Killing the Killers summary

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

The Secret War Against Terrorists

3.9 (265 ratings)
26 mins

Brief summary

Killing the Killers by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard is a non-fiction book that tells the story of the epic manhunt for ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It takes you behind the scenes of the operation, providing insights into the hunt for one of the world's most wanted terrorists.

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    Killing the Killers
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    Soleimani rises in prominence.

    Let’s take a trip back to 1979, the year of the Iranian Revolution. The shah of Iran has fled the country, chased out by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shia Muslim revolutionary who’d been exiled for 15 years. Having returned to Iran, Khomeini now needs a military force to maintain his grip on power. He establishes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC. A fresh-faced 22-year-old with no military experience joins up: Qasem Soleimani.

    Life in the IRGC suits him well. He proves himself to be a capable commander, and is soon invited to an elite training camp, where he excels. He even refuses sick leave when he’s accidentally shot in the arm.

    In September 1980, Iraq invades Iran, and a bitter war breaks out. Soleimani finds himself at the front, leading a military company. The war rages for eight years and Soleimani quickly rises through the ranks. It’s during this time that he comes to believe that Iraq should, from then onward, remain weak – incapable of threatening Iran ever again. It’s a philosophy that he later extends to all countries of the region. And, since the US was aligned with the Iraqis, he begins to believe the US must be destroyed. The war ends in a deadlock with over 100,000 soldiers dead on both sides.

    Skip forward a decade, from the end of the war to 1997, and Soleimani has become commander of the special intelligence arm of the IRGC – the Quds Force. From his position of power, Soleimani, now a general, begins to wage “secret wars” on several fronts – in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

    Over the coming years, Quds focuses on recruiting and training terror factions and encouraging insurrection. Under Soleimani, it will go on to give support to the Muslim factions fighting in the Bosnian war. It will train and arm Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine. It will give support to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, as well as to Houthi militants battling against Saudi Arabian forces in Yemen. And, in Afghanistan, Quds Force will work with the Taliban to kill Americans.

    In 2003, the US invades Iraq with orders to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Even though his hatred for Saddam is strong, Soleimani’s hatred of the US grows even more. He oversees the provision of materials for the Iraqis to attack US forces. Iranian forces plant bombs in road surfaces to destroy US vehicles and they attack US bases. And while all this is going on, Soleimani’s power grows.

    In 2013, former CIA officer John Maguire calls Soleimani “the single most powerful operative in the world today.” And adds: “no one’s ever heard of him.”

    Soleimani himself, though, isn’t shy about self-promotion. He even writes to the commander of the US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, “I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan.”

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    What is Killing the Killers about?

    Killing the Killers (2022) takes you deep into the global war on terror. As it examines the role of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, it moves through all the theaters of action including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and Afghanistan. It’s the eleventh book in the best-selling Killing series.

    Killing the Killers Review

    Killing the Killers (2022) is a gripping exploration of the darkest corners of humanity, written by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Delving into infamous criminals and their crimes, the book offers a fascinating glimpse into the minds of killers, leaving readers both captivated and disturbed.
    • With meticulous research and compelling storytelling, O'Reilly and Dugard bring the crimes to life, providing a chilling and thought-provoking experience.
    • The book goes beyond the crimes themselves, examining the societal factors that contribute to violence, prompting readers to reflect on larger issues at play.

    Who should read Killing the Killers?

    • Fans of the Killing series
    • History buffs interested in the war on terror
    • Lovers of dramatic story-telling

    About the Author

    Bill O’Reilly is an American conservative TV journalist who has worked for CBS News, ABC News, and Fox News. As an author, he has 15 number-one best-selling nonfiction books under his belt, including as coauthor of the Killing series. He also hosts the No Spin News on

    Martin Dugard is an American writer and the coauthor of the Killing series. His other books include Taking Paris, To Be A Runner, and The Murder of King Tut.

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