Decade of FearDecade of Fear is a darkly entertaining journey through the complicated, often bizarre world of national security since 9/11. On that night, Toronto Star journalist Michelle Shephard watched the remains of New York’s World Trade Center fall from the sky, wondering what much of the world was asking: “Why?” So began a ten-year search for answers that took her through the streets of Mogadishu and Karachi, into the mountains of Waziristan and behind the wire of Guantanamo Bay two dozen times.

Shephard conducted hundreds of interviews worldwide, and with sharp insight and an appreciation for the absurd, she weaves together stories of warlords, presidents, spies, grieving widows and global terrorists, to describe the historic decade where often the West’s “solutions” for terrorism only served to exacerbate the problem. She cruises with former CIA bosses, runs alongside protestors in the streets of Sanaa to escape fire from Yemen’s security services during experience the Arab Spring, meets victims of terrorism who leave her devastated, and earns enough stamps on her Gitmo Starbucks card for a free latte. Gripping, heartbreaking and infuriating, Decade of Fearbroadens our understanding of a decade that was all too often described through panicked rhetoric.


Michelle Shephard is one of the great national security reporters of our time. In this age of ‘journalists’ embedded in their air-conditioned offices, she is a rare exception: a real reporter

Jeremy Scahill

author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Decade of Fear is so thrilling and terrific, I wish it wasn’t true. You know any book that opens with an ex-CIA director using beer nuts to illustrate torture techniques is going to be wild, and it only gets more gripping from there. Michelle Shephard is a rock’m-sock’m storyteller and an absolutely heroic reporter.

Christopher McDougall

author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Michelle Shephard has delivered a wide-ranging, well-written, witty accountof the war that began on 9/11 that is also a serious, knowledgeable and empathetic journey …She takes the reader on quite a ride. My advice: Go along!

Peter L. Bergen

author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda and Holy War, Inc

Reading Decade of Fear is essential to understanding the post-9/11 world. … If you care about the world you live in and can only read one book this year, this should be it.

Marina Nemat

author of Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran

Through her outstanding reporting, Michelle recounts how the ‘war on terror’ has yet to be won and bears witness to the consequences of a decade in which justice was not blind, and the world was only viewed through the prism of fear.

Lt. General (ret) Senator Romeo Dallaire

author of Shake Hands with the Devil and They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children