Plan of Attack picks up where Woodward's previous work, Bush at War left off, focusing on the decisions making that lead up to the U.S. lead War in Iraq. As a result of the broad access Woodward was granted to the White House and to interview Bush administration officials, the book is able to paint a realistic picture of what happened behind the scenes. Woodward's own approach is to resist making judgements about the war itself, but rather try to describe the decision-making process. As a result of refraining to interpret the story that he presents, Woodward has been described as being both opposed to the Bush administration by some, as well as an apologist of the administration by others.
Woodward describes in Plan of Attack a small group of administration officials including [Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who were urging the President to go to war in Iraq beginning shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Secretary of State Colin Powell and General Tommy Franks are described as being part of a group within the government more skeptical of the plan to invade Iraq.
In the narrative, President George W. Bush is described as having been intent on exercising a policy of regime change with regard to Iraq immediately after 9/11, a perspective that remained largely unchanged throughout the debates that would follow.
In the book, Secretary of State Colin Powell is depicted as being increasingly at odds with members the Bush administration, and even goes as far as to reject some of the evidence put forward on weapons of mass destruction. However, by the end of the book, Powell ultimately endorses the invasion effort, a decision which is not entirely explained, other than to suggest Powell may have lined up with the President out of a sense of duty.
The Bush Administration's own view of Plan of Attack is interesting. When the book was published the administration denied many of the accounts in the book, but the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign listed Woodward's book as recommended reading nevertheless. (The Kerry/Edwards campaign also listed the book as recommended reading.)