free hit counter code The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid

Availability: Ready to download

In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, t In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, the men learn, shortly after being deployed to Iraq, that fate has assigned them a different role. It becomes their job to guard the country’s notorious leader in the months leading to his execution. Living alongside, and caring for, their “high value detainee” in a former palace dubbed The Rock and regularly transporting him to his raucous trial, many of the men begin questioning some of their most basic assumptions—about the judicial process, Saddam’s character, and the morality of modern war. Although the young soldiers’ increasingly intimate conversations with the once-feared dictator never lead them to doubt his responsibility for unspeakable crimes, the men do discover surprising new layers to his psyche that run counter to the media’s portrayal of him. Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the “man without a conscience,” gets many of those around him to examine theirs. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Prisoner in His Palace reveals what it is like to discover in one’s ruthless enemy a man, and then deliver him to the gallows.


Compare
Ads Banner

In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, t In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, the men learn, shortly after being deployed to Iraq, that fate has assigned them a different role. It becomes their job to guard the country’s notorious leader in the months leading to his execution. Living alongside, and caring for, their “high value detainee” in a former palace dubbed The Rock and regularly transporting him to his raucous trial, many of the men begin questioning some of their most basic assumptions—about the judicial process, Saddam’s character, and the morality of modern war. Although the young soldiers’ increasingly intimate conversations with the once-feared dictator never lead them to doubt his responsibility for unspeakable crimes, the men do discover surprising new layers to his psyche that run counter to the media’s portrayal of him. Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the “man without a conscience,” gets many of those around him to examine theirs. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Prisoner in His Palace reveals what it is like to discover in one’s ruthless enemy a man, and then deliver him to the gallows.

30 review for The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is the best non-fiction book I've read in at least a year, and looking a my t.b.r. list it will probably be the best I'll read this year. I remember when Saddam Hussein started coming to my attention back in the early 1980's. He was extremely charismatic, and scary as anything I'd ever seen. Reading this book was odd because I didn't expect to find poignant moments, but I did. I enjoyed the stories, the humor, and depths that I wouldn't have thought possible. Most of all, I really didn't li This is the best non-fiction book I've read in at least a year, and looking a my t.b.r. list it will probably be the best I'll read this year. I remember when Saddam Hussein started coming to my attention back in the early 1980's. He was extremely charismatic, and scary as anything I'd ever seen. Reading this book was odd because I didn't expect to find poignant moments, but I did. I enjoyed the stories, the humor, and depths that I wouldn't have thought possible. Most of all, I really didn't like reading about Saddam's last day, or what was done to his dead body afterward. I can see how if you guard someone day in, and day out, then became friendly acquaintances and in a few cases close to that person, how leading them to their death, and bodily desecration could mess a person up. I felt for these guards, and Doc, and the interpreter. I even shed a few tears towards the end. As for my feelings about this idiot war that Bush and friends started? Well, a book review isn't the place. I'd recommend this book and author. It shows what a monster Saddam was, but also an almost human side too. Thanks to Scribner and Netgalley for allowing me to read this e-book. Much appreciated.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    If ever a book proves that there is not only more to a story than we know, but also that the complexity of human being is unparalleled, this is the book. The Super twelve, the twelve soldiers, from all different backgrounds, who guarded Saddam Hussein up to and through his trial and their​ experiences doing so are told in a clear and concise manner. We learn some of their backgrounds but much of the book is about their daily interactions with the former ruler of Iraq. Not at all what I nor they If ever a book proves that there is not only more to a story than we know, but also that the complexity of human being is unparalleled, this is the book. The Super twelve, the twelve soldiers, from all different backgrounds, who guarded Saddam Hussein up to and through his trial and their​ experiences doing so are told in a clear and concise manner. We learn some of their backgrounds but much of the book is about their daily interactions with the former ruler of Iraq. Not at all what I nor they expected. A monster to some of his people, a hero to others, he held on to Iraq for 3 1/2 decades, through numerous plots to unseat him and various plots of assassination, he had many reasons to be paranoid. Considered a monster by most of the world, this man had a different side that was presented to the soldiers. Maybe because at that point he didn't have much to lose. Technically his trial was a farce, and his sentence a foregone conclusion. Maybe he wasn't all he was made out to be, though of course many of his actions were abhorrent​, maybe they had to be for him to keep not only his position but any kind of peace in this waring nation of tribes. Certainly isn't more peaceful without him, more Iraquies are killed now every day than before. This book makes one think , so many questions, so few answers. He may have lived as a monster but he died as a man. ARC from publisher.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? —Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho In the summer of 2006, twelve United States soldiers (also known as the "Super Twelve) were tasked with guarding former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as he sat on trial for crimes against humanity. Saddam ruled over Iraq for 35 years and is responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Iraqis—but that’s not the version of the man the U.S. guards met. They watched over a larger-than-life figure brou Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? —Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho In the summer of 2006, twelve United States soldiers (also known as the "Super Twelve) were tasked with guarding former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as he sat on trial for crimes against humanity. Saddam ruled over Iraq for 35 years and is responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Iraqis—but that’s not the version of the man the U.S. guards met. They watched over a larger-than-life figure brought down to earth, a man stripped of his power and possessions. To them, Saddam was a man who enjoyed smoking cigars, tending to the weeds in the prison yard, writing poetry, and chatting about cars and family. By the time Saddam was executed, some of the soldiers who guarded him had come to enjoy their time with the old man. He gave them a respect that they didn't get from their own superiors and possessed many qualities they admired. The Prisoner in His Palace, published little over a decade after Saddam's execution, is an engaging glimpse into the surreal assignment of guarding an infamous dictator and the emotional complexity of leading someone you’ve bonded with to their death. “Any means are justified if they achieve the goals dictated by the interests of power and security.” - Zabiba and the King, a novel by Saddam Hussein I've been stuck in a reading rut for the past couple of months and this is the first book that broke through the “nothing interests me” barrier! It's about 210 pages of content and I read it within 24 hours, so it's a great choice if you're looking for a fascinating and concise non-fiction book to read. The style is journalistic. Within the pages is a profile of a complex figure who one CIA official called “the most traumatized leader I have ever studied.” This book is not an exhaustive account of Saddam's life, but it covers some events from Saddam's traumatic childhood, his violent rise to power, his reign over Iraq, and his downfall after the United States invasion in 2003. The anecdotes show a man of contradictions. He was proud of his progressive policies, but simultaneously capable of committing barbaric acts against his people. During his trial, maintaining his legacy as an iron-fisted ruler seemed to be more important to him than helping his defense save his life. His personality changed dramatically once he wasn't in front of the camera, from aggressive theatrics in front of the judge to a polite demeanor when handed over to the guards. “When I’d see the trial going on, and what he’d done to his people,” Rogerson later recalled, “I’d be like ‘Holy shit,’ there’s a shitload of dead people, he just killed an entire city. I’d think, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ but then I’d see him, and I never looked at him like ‘You’re a psychopath,’ because [that person] wasn’t with me. . . . He was more like a grandpa.” We are also introduced to some of the men who were charged with guarding Saddam. We learn about the complex dynamics between these diverse personalities living in cramped quarters while working a high-stress job, but the parts about troop life weren't as in-depth as the parts about their actual assignment. The experience of guarding Saddam was a turning point for many of them. Many of these soldiers rushed to join the military after the 9/11 attacks, but began to question their role in the conflict and what they gave up to be a part of it. For some of them, returning home after the war brought on different types of hardship. They had missed out on valuable time with family that could never be recovered. Those who wanted to talk to about their unique mission found no one wanting to listen; few people want to hear the emotional complexities of bonding with a murderous dictator and leading him to his execution. (I've experienced similar uncomfortable reactions when I mention this book to people.) Coming to like someone who has hurt so many people may seem odd at first thought, but it's a very human response. For example: visceral public reaction when a beloved celebrity or community member is accused of a heinous crime, or even Oliver Stone’s opinions after spending time with Vladimir Putin. Perhaps there's some element of it being easier to process what we've directly experienced, rather than events we know about secondhand. Years later, the man Saddam had tapped to oversee the genocidal operation, Chemical Ali, would tell his FBI interrogators: “There are two faces of Saddam, one who went out of his way to share with those in need and was sometimes reduced to tears when stopping to assist a poor person, and the other a lonesome man with no friends, either inside or outside his family, who didn’t even trust his own sons.” This second “face of evil” was “so cruel you couldn’t imagine.” There were many aspects of Saddam's personality and incarceration that surprised me. He adjusted easily from a grandiose life to a jail cell. He had nuanced opinions about U.S. leadership, the U.S. Army, and the future of Iraq. He was allowed much more freedom of movement than I would've expected. Some of the guards were eager of his approval—they did their best to grant his requests and make his incarceration comfortable. Saddam returned the favors in kind, even offering to pay for one soldier's college tuition if he ever got access to his money again. Was his kindness to the U.S. guards manipulation or was there an element of finally being able to relax and "be one of the guys"? We can never know for certain. Before you can get too comfortable with the “crotchety old man” version of Saddam, the author transports us to the past and a portrait of a brutal dictator emerges. One of the most disconcerting aspects of this book is how someone who is capable of being a thoughtful person can be capable of terrifying barbarism. I was shocked when a couple of the U.S. soldiers insisted that Saddam would never hurt them, which may speak to how easy it is for men like Saddam draw people into their circle despite all the risks involved. These insights are counterbalanced by tales of how earning Saddam's affections was no inoculation from his cruel whims. The switch could flip terrifyingly quick, even for family members.   Hutch later reflected: “I feel like I have to explain why it bothered me so much; for an American to be upset. But for us to stand by and let them treat another human being that way—I thought that’s what we were over here to stop, the treatment like that. I truly felt that I was just as guilty as anybody else. I’ve never really had a conscience about anything I’ve ever done over here. As far as humanity goes, I’ve seen some pretty bad things, but it’s what I had to do, it’s what was required of me, it was my job. But my job had never before said that I had to stand there and watch people spit on and kick a person’s body. And you know what, I’m glad I feel that way, I really am. Because if I didn’t feel that way, I would think something was wrong with me.” As Saddam was led to his death, he told the U.S. soldiers that they were “'more family to him' than any Iraqis had been." None of the soldiers ever doubted Saddam's guilt, but even the men who didn't develop a relationship with Saddam were shaken by the events surrounding his execution. One of the members of the "Super Twelve" noted that "it almost would have been easier if Saddam had acted more like the murderous tyrant they’d expected to find." The Prisoner in His Palace is an uncomfortable book to read because it made me feel twinges of empathy that I didn't want/expect to feel and it showed the human side of someone who caused an inordinate amount of pain and suffering. Despite my discomfort, I also found it reassuring that for many people there are elements of our humanity that are difficult to override. I wish it was longer and more in-depth, but it's a fascinating tale and I'm still talking about it weeks later! For another read about the nature of humanity, you might be interested in Human Acts by Han Kang. One of the men featured in the book wrote his own book about his experiences: Caring for Victor: A U.S. Army Nurse and Saddam Hussein by Robert Ellis. A few interesting articles I read while reading this book: 'I was shocked': Iraqis remember day Saddam Hussein was hanged The World; How Many People Has Hussein Killed? Ten Years After the Fall of Saddam, How Do Iraqis Look Back on the War? I Grew Up In Iraq During Saddam's Worst Days — Here's What Life Was Like Judge Remembers Saddam as Intelligent, Charismatic and Remorseless ___________ I received this book for free from Netgalley and Scribner. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    I really had no interest in reading a book about Saddam Hussein until I happened upon The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid and I was curious as the book was written from the viewpoint of "The Super 12" and this piqued my interest along with a goodread friend's review. In 2006, 12 young Soldiers deployed to Iraq and were tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein. Through a series of first hand accounts from the American guards, interrogators an I really had no interest in reading a book about Saddam Hussein until I happened upon The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid and I was curious as the book was written from the viewpoint of "The Super 12" and this piqued my interest along with a goodread friend's review. In 2006, 12 young Soldiers deployed to Iraq and were tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein. Through a series of first hand accounts from the American guards, interrogators and spies who recalled their conversations and observations with the Dictator before he died we learn how these young men viewed and treated their prisoner and how Saddam viewed and treated them in return which I found extremely interesting. These young men's lives would be changed forever as a consequence. The book is not an account of Saddam's life and yet the author has included adequate background information about his life, family and the heinous crimes he and his sons inflicted during his time in power. A well researched and a very interesting account of the Prisoner Saddam Hussein and his American guards.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    This is about Saddam Hussein’s last days. It is told through the lens of the Americans who guarded him, doctored him and translated for him. To his guards he seemed to be like an uncle or a grandfather, anything but the murderer/torturer that he was. He was a model prisoner. His requests were modest. While his quarters, in the basement of one of his own palaces, were substantial by prison standards, it was a far cry from his former life style. He never compared or complained. This small book punch This is about Saddam Hussein’s last days. It is told through the lens of the Americans who guarded him, doctored him and translated for him. To his guards he seemed to be like an uncle or a grandfather, anything but the murderer/torturer that he was. He was a model prisoner. His requests were modest. While his quarters, in the basement of one of his own palaces, were substantial by prison standards, it was a far cry from his former life style. He never compared or complained. This small book punches above its weight. A very human side is seen by his captors who are surprised at his ability to speak English, write poetry and wipe them out at chess. He talks like a loving father, thinking he just might marry again. This sweet old man image is belied by flashbacks showing him anything but avuncular. There is the treatment of anyone who disagrees; how people have to accept that he can take their land/home and they must comply; a general is brave for telling him he can’t try to take Kuwait again and enumerates how badly the US has Iraq outgunned. He has burned, maybe, 100 of Uday’s cars and arranged for the murder (with unnecessary violence) of two of his sons in law. There are notes on the legal structure, how lawyers were chosen and scenes of Saddam’s court room behavior as he attempts to turn the trial into a referendum on the US intervention in Iraq. His last day seemed to be more unnerving for his American guards than for him. This is a short and page turning read. Yes, you know the story, but this telling has depth and is worth your time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    There was something annoying about this book, a small thing maybe, but something that irritated hell out of me. It seems that this group of a dozen Military Policemen had self-identified with a group name: "The Super Twelve". It really rubbed me the wrong way because I could find no justification for this collective immodesty. You don't give yourself a nickname in the military unless you want to be the subject of ridicule and derision. It's the type of bombast you acquire from watching too many There was something annoying about this book, a small thing maybe, but something that irritated hell out of me. It seems that this group of a dozen Military Policemen had self-identified with a group name: "The Super Twelve". It really rubbed me the wrong way because I could find no justification for this collective immodesty. You don't give yourself a nickname in the military unless you want to be the subject of ridicule and derision. It's the type of bombast you acquire from watching too many movies or playing too many video games, and is almost uniquely an American phenomenon. I know that MPs perform an important role in the military, but nothing about the job qualifies you as "super". Trouble is, Bardenwerper bought into this and used the odious term every time he referred to them, sometimes as often as three times on a page. I wish I had kept track of the actual astronomical number! Or maybe the overuse was his way of ridiculing these guys for their arrogance; either way, you're sitting on your can reading comic books and bringing tea to a dictator! Super? Hardly! Having got that out of my system, this was actually a pretty decent read. Bardenwerper competently relates the story of the MP guards who guarded and escorted Saddam Hussein to his kangaroo court and subsequent shameful "execution". He gives some background on the MP who, while they may not be super, are certainly human. They seem like decent soldiers and I was happy to note that they didn't use their authority to maltreat or debase the prisoner a la Abu Ghraib. Hussein, who might just be the worst leader since Stalin, is presented as a complex figure with both good and bad traits. An attempt is made to demonstrate, not justify, the incidents in Hussein's past that led to his ruthless methods of governing. The book shows how Hussein became something more than a perpetrator to his guards, and how this closeness was a source of distress to them after the disgraceful execution, at which Saddam retained poise and dignity in the face of the dogs who bayed for his blood. It was a disgusting display that Americans should never have justified by their presence. Bardenwerper's Epilogue establishes that the episode may have lasting effects on the psyches of the soldiers involved. This is an interesting human interest story, just resign yourself to reading the term "Super Twelve" until you go cross-eyed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4.5 STARS This book tells the story of twelve young American soldiers in Iraq who are suddenly assigned to guard Saddam Hussein during his trial, and then in months leading up to his execution. Spending so much time in close proximity with him, they eventually would listen as he talked to pass the time. Sometimes just asking simple questions about them, or reading a poem he'd written. The soldiers always kept their duty in mind, to keep their prisoner alive and reasonably happy. Then as time wen 4.5 STARS This book tells the story of twelve young American soldiers in Iraq who are suddenly assigned to guard Saddam Hussein during his trial, and then in months leading up to his execution. Spending so much time in close proximity with him, they eventually would listen as he talked to pass the time. Sometimes just asking simple questions about them, or reading a poem he'd written. The soldiers always kept their duty in mind, to keep their prisoner alive and reasonably happy. Then as time went on, some developed a genuine respect for him and began to like the old man as a person. They kept in mind the things they'd been told or knew that he had done, but just going by the respectful way he was with them, they treated him the same way. He seemed genuinely interested in them as people, always remembering to ask about their families and children, how they were doing, what kinds of things they liked. They developed relationships with him, some quite close that they hadn't at all expected to. It made for a surprising and moving story. Thank you to NetGalley, Scribner, and author Will Bardenwerper for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Subtitled, “Saddam Hussein, his American guards and what history leaves unsaid,” this is a sobering portrait of how twelve American’s got the, somewhat unenviable, task of guarding the former dictator. Dubbed the ‘Super Twelve,’ they were banned from keeping a journal, or even writing about their mission with family and friends back home – although they were interviewed for the Army’s oral history programme and some were interviewed by the author. This is a well paced and interesting read, but t Subtitled, “Saddam Hussein, his American guards and what history leaves unsaid,” this is a sobering portrait of how twelve American’s got the, somewhat unenviable, task of guarding the former dictator. Dubbed the ‘Super Twelve,’ they were banned from keeping a journal, or even writing about their mission with family and friends back home – although they were interviewed for the Army’s oral history programme and some were interviewed by the author. This is a well paced and interesting read, but the author does admit that much of the dialogue used is, obviously, as those involved remember it . As the author says, this is nonfiction, but with ‘storytelling liberties.’ The book begins with Saddam Hussein’s execution on the 30th December, 2006, in Baghdad. The story then backtracks, to tell us the back story of some of the American guards involved, as well as filling in some facts from Saddam Hussein’s childhood and life. Although we get some of his background, arrest and behaviour in captivity, though, this is not a biography. It is clear that Saddam Hussein never expressed any remorse, or regret, for his actions. He did, however, have a need to socialise and was a man of contradictions. He was a man who turned a blind eye to the extreme violence of his eldest son, Uday, yet asked about the children of the men guarding him. He was a man responsible for terrible crimes, yet tended the weeds in the yard and saved crumbs for the birds. He was usually polite and capable of comforting his guards, enjoyed a cigar and was, therefore, not what those guarding him expected. Really, though, this should not be such a surprise. Even those on trial for crimes against humanity, are humans themselves… Overall, this is a very interesting account of the tensions in this closeted existence and of the American’s attempts to treat Saddam Hussein with respect and make sure he was physically well enough to go to trial. It is also more about these twelve men’s humanity than Saddam Hussein as, almost against their will, they discover it is not easy to play a role in the death of a person you have come to know. As Saddam Hussein was executed, violence erupted – spreading across the country. It was, for these men, a shocking event and this is obvious. However, had they not felt something, it would suggest that their own humanity had been compromised, so they should not have been surprised that they felt something; even though they knew of their prisoners past. An interesting read about the end of a dictator’s life. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Murtaza

    I might to write a longer review of this elsewhere, but in short, I found the central revelation of the book, that Saddam's American guards generally liked him, to be unsurprising. We tend not to think of dictators or terrorist leaders to be "charismatic" in the conventional sense, but at the end of the day these are human beings and the qualities that make them leaders are the same ones that apply to corporate CEOs, football quarterbacks and army generals. Saddam Hussein had a personal magnetis I might to write a longer review of this elsewhere, but in short, I found the central revelation of the book, that Saddam's American guards generally liked him, to be unsurprising. We tend not to think of dictators or terrorist leaders to be "charismatic" in the conventional sense, but at the end of the day these are human beings and the qualities that make them leaders are the same ones that apply to corporate CEOs, football quarterbacks and army generals. Saddam Hussein had a personal magnetism that led his guards to want to please him and win his approval. He ruled Iraq for decades and often employed terror and violence to keep things in line, but he was not averse to deploying warmth when required. I suspect that the only reason that this book has been so surprising to many Americans is that they bought into the portrayal of Saddam as a singularly fearsome and demonic figure in the first place. That Saddam sought to project this image to Americans and they bought it so thoroughly only shows how credulous Americans are when it comes to foreign propaganda. Saddam's guards spent a few months with him, got to know this charismatic old man personally, and then witnessed his execution. Although its a nice story, especially given the world-historical importance of Saddam, I don't find this to be so remarkable. There are few people in the world who can spend so much time together and not develop some sense of mutual understanding and solidarity. That Saddam was a worldly old man while his guards were mostly young and wayward people from isolated parts of America only heightened the dynamic. In a literary sense, the book was crisply written and I breezed through it very quickly. I found it to be generally worthwhile and a useful addition to the history on this subject, though not as informative as former CIA agent John Nixon's book on his interrogations of Saddam.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    “The Prisoner in His Palace, Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid”. Category – History Publication Date – June 06, 2017. When reading this book one must remember and keep in mind what kind of a man was Saddam Hussein. One must remember the corruption of his regime, the untold murders committed at this command, and the horrors committed by his sons. With that said the reader that will be introduced to a man that resembles nothing of Saddam Hussein. After his capture Sa “The Prisoner in His Palace, Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid”. Category – History Publication Date – June 06, 2017. When reading this book one must remember and keep in mind what kind of a man was Saddam Hussein. One must remember the corruption of his regime, the untold murders committed at this command, and the horrors committed by his sons. With that said the reader that will be introduced to a man that resembles nothing of Saddam Hussein. After his capture Saddam was guarded by twelve United States Soldiers. They will tell you how, when they first met him, that they were appalled by the things that he had done. However, after guarding him until his death, they discovered a different person. Saddam was able to change these soldiers attitude of him from one of hatred to one on compassion. The most telling part of the book is what happened to these soldiers once they left the service for civilian life. I found this book to be extraordinary in its treatment of a man who committed untold atrocities and faced hanging. I also believe that the author treated a very difficult subject matter with honesty and no prejudice. Although the book shows a different side of Saddam one must never forget who he truly was.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mayank Rathore

    This book is a true attraction to those who loves to read the history of those who left a mark on our memories by terror. I wanted to read a book written on Saddam and this book fulfilled my desire. Somehow this book got connected with my emotions and I'm sure it will become one of the finest book of the year. The book is written very professionally and maturely. You will never find the story going off track from the original theme. The author succeeded to create the exact vision in my mind of t This book is a true attraction to those who loves to read the history of those who left a mark on our memories by terror. I wanted to read a book written on Saddam and this book fulfilled my desire. Somehow this book got connected with my emotions and I'm sure it will become one of the finest book of the year. The book is written very professionally and maturely. You will never find the story going off track from the original theme. The author succeeded to create the exact vision in my mind of the same era in which the novel is written. Seriously, I can't describe you how this book attracted me to read it again. Yes, I read it twice and once you will read it then you will understand that why I did so? Among the story, you will meet several characters to whom you will love for their extreme work and others, you will hate because of their cruelty and inhuman acts. Well, to know more, you should get your hands on this book and give it a read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality Today is September 11, 2017, the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, otherwise known as 9/11. As though nothing else ever happened, or ever will, that will ring through history the way that September 11, 2001 did. And that’s possibly true. Even the historic hurricane currently sweeping through Florida, while momentous, isn’t quite as earth-shattering. 9/11 was a day where the universe changed, where before and after are sharply and irrevocably sep Originally published at Reading Reality Today is September 11, 2017, the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, otherwise known as 9/11. As though nothing else ever happened, or ever will, that will ring through history the way that September 11, 2001 did. And that’s possibly true. Even the historic hurricane currently sweeping through Florida, while momentous, isn’t quite as earth-shattering. 9/11 was a day where the universe changed, where before and after are sharply and irrevocably separated. While Saddam Hussein was not one of the architects of the 9/11 attacks, it is certainly possible to trace a direct line from the events of 9/11 to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled his dictatorship. This is not a book about the war. Not the U.S. invasion of 2003, nor about the the Gulf War of 1990. Although in some ways it’s about both. A part of me wants to say that the book is about the “banality of evil”, but if there is one thing that Saddam Hussein never was, it is banal. Instead, this feels like a book about the faces that humans wear, and about one particular human being who wore the face of evil, but only among many, many others. That evil face, the one that the world righteously condemned him for, is not the face that his guards saw. They saw a charismatic and kindly old man. While they were all aware of the evil that he had done, and none ever believed that he was innocent or should be freed, they still guarded someone who was much different. They all went in expecting a monster, only to discover that he was just a man. The story here is about the twelve young American soldiers, the group that self-deprecatingly named themselves the “Super Twelve”, who had the duty of guarding Saddam Hussein in one of his own palaces during the lengthy course of his trial, right up to his inevitable execution. The process took well over a year. That’s plenty of time for a group of people to gradually shift from guarded adversaries to respectful acquaintances, if not friends. And that is what happened. Unlike the common perception of “the rich and powerful”, which Saddam certainly was, in his incarceration and forced proximity to these soldiers he acted as a respectful and respected guest, and was treated for the most part accordingly. What small freedoms and little comforts could be provided to the old man, they did. And he appreciated them. This book is about the relationship that formed among this isolated group. The Super Twelve, the medic who monitored Saddam’s health, the interrogators, and Saddam Hussein. Their camaderie with the prisoner seems odd to the reader, but yet it makes sense. Not only were they all stuck with each other, but they were prohibited from telling anyone what their duty assignment was. The only people they could talk to were each other. And their prisoner. Reality Rating A-: This is a hard book to describe, but a surprisingly easy one to get lost in. There are a lot of things packed into this slim volume, and all of them are thought-provoking in one way or another. It is not really a surprise that the guards became friendly with the prisoner. Or not as the story turned out. If Saddam had been a demanding dictator within the limits of his confinement, the guards would probably have maintained their distance even over the extended time period. But that’s not what happened. Instead, he treated his guards with respect and even affection, and both the respect and affection were returned. They all knew what he’d done, but it didn’t have an effect on his treatment of them or theirs of him. Instead, many of the guards felt as if this was the first time in Saddam’s life when he was safe. Ironically so, but still, safe. Whether or not he deceived himself about the inevitability of his execution, he was absolutely certain that none of his guards were going to kill him in his sleep – something that had not been true for his entire life. That lack of paranoia led to a lot better rest and attitude – possibly for everyone. The author does detail enough of Saddam’s atrocities, and there were many, to make the reader certain that the man was the author of countless heinous acts. Even though he may not have seen them as anything more than necessary to cement and maintain his power, there is never any doubt that he was a brutal dictator who used fear and cruelty as potent and effective weapons. Which does not affect the doubts of any of the soldiers, or of the reader. Not that he deserved death, but, to quote another influential character, “Deserves [death], I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” Even as the trial is being conducted, the sectarian violence in Iraq not only continues, but escalates. Even from the soldiers’ limited perspective, there does not seem to have been a plan for what was to happen after Saddam’s capture. And the manner of his execution only feeds the violence. One of the questions that lingers is whether or not the invasion made anything better. War is easy. Hell, but easy. Regime change, on the other hand, while it is also hell, is damn hard. Especially on the people whose regime is being changed. What we’re left with is the aftermath, not just for the country of Iraq, but on a personal level for those men who guarded and lived with Saddam Hussein in his final months. Watching a man that they had all developed relationships with go to his death punched an unexpected hole in all their lives. Being forced to stand by while his corpse was desecrated made them all sick and heartsore. Saddam may have died, but none of them recovered. And their reaction haunts me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Incredible storytelling and extremely well-researched. This is one of the best books I've read on the topic of Iraq and, specifically, Saddam Hussein after his capture. It challenged my point-of-view tremendously. I had never really considered those charged with guarding Hussein in the days after his capture and leading up to his death or how that job impacted who they were, their day-to-day life, or their overall humanity. There are a lot of things to learn through their story. This book brilli Incredible storytelling and extremely well-researched. This is one of the best books I've read on the topic of Iraq and, specifically, Saddam Hussein after his capture. It challenged my point-of-view tremendously. I had never really considered those charged with guarding Hussein in the days after his capture and leading up to his death or how that job impacted who they were, their day-to-day life, or their overall humanity. There are a lot of things to learn through their story. This book brilliantly connects. It is a narrative that has been missing in the many books on the war in Iraq. Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book and my thoughts and rating are based on that edition.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Please Pass the Books

    Saddam Hussein once said, "The law is anything I write on a piece of paper." I say, it's a crime for any Hussein historian not to read what Will Bardenwerper wrote in this compilation. A brilliant, fantastic book for a person like me who is obsessed with all things Saddam Hussein. I loved the varied perspectives of the military guards tasked with overseeing Hussein and others who had different degrees of contact with him. As a ruler the man was a tyrant, as a figure the man is fascinating, and as Saddam Hussein once said, "The law is anything I write on a piece of paper." I say, it's a crime for any Hussein historian not to read what Will Bardenwerper wrote in this compilation. A brilliant, fantastic book for a person like me who is obsessed with all things Saddam Hussein. I loved the varied perspectives of the military guards tasked with overseeing Hussein and others who had different degrees of contact with him. As a ruler the man was a tyrant, as a figure the man is fascinating, and as a prisoner from these first person accounts, the man was humanized in a way I never thought possible.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Lappin

    One of the best books I've ever read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cav

    This was a great short read. Author Will Bardenwerper put this book together in a splendid way; almost like a screenplay. It intersplices the main narrative with some historical background, as the book's central story unwinds. Rifle shooting Saddam is my favorite Saddam: "The Prisoner in His Palace" details the story of "The Super Twelve": Twelve American soldiers tasked with keeping watch over Hussein during his pre-trial, and trial incarceration. The trial, which was basically a foregone conc This was a great short read. Author Will Bardenwerper put this book together in a splendid way; almost like a screenplay. It intersplices the main narrative with some historical background, as the book's central story unwinds. Rifle shooting Saddam is my favorite Saddam: "The Prisoner in His Palace" details the story of "The Super Twelve": Twelve American soldiers tasked with keeping watch over Hussein during his pre-trial, and trial incarceration. The trial, which was basically a foregone conclusion: The soldiers began to interact with "VIC", the "Very Important Criminal". They spent quite a lot of time together and began to develop a respect for him. The writing here is very good. The book details the many exchanges the Super Twelve had with Saddam, which was super-interesting. You began to get a sense of who he was as a person. He was a dichotomy; he ruled Iraq with an iron fist, but was also empathetic, often writing poetry, and asking about the soldier's wives and children. The book also details his trial, the events leading up to, and his eventual execution on 30th December, 2006. A defiant Saddam refuses to put the hood on, and “preserves the last scene”: This book was exceptionally well-written, edited, formatted, and presented. I would recommend it to anyone interested. 5 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Naira

    I loved the contrast b/w this book and the other one written by John Nixon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    Saddam Hussein was, without a doubt, a monster. But even monsters can be charming, kind, thoughtful and introspective. But this is not just the story of Saddam's final days, but of the 12 men who guarded him, took care of him and what they learned. This book poses many old questions: "Is evil born or is it created?", "Can we find humanity in the worst among us?" and more. But what makes the book stand out is the author's ability to blend these and other questions with masterful storytelling. The Saddam Hussein was, without a doubt, a monster. But even monsters can be charming, kind, thoughtful and introspective. But this is not just the story of Saddam's final days, but of the 12 men who guarded him, took care of him and what they learned. This book poses many old questions: "Is evil born or is it created?", "Can we find humanity in the worst among us?" and more. But what makes the book stand out is the author's ability to blend these and other questions with masterful storytelling. The book tells a complex and nuanced story, but stays easily readable for a varied audience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pirate

    A terrific book and extremely surprising on how Saddam forged close relationships with the 'Super 12' the American MPs deputised to gaurd him during his trial and up to his execution. Just 200 pages long but engrossing and packs a lot in. Before people go all dewy-eyed about an elderly man (he was 69 at the time) gently watering -- like Don Vito Corleone -- his weeds which he treated as flowers in his rec area in one of his former palaces where he was imprisoned in a small quarters and feeding t A terrific book and extremely surprising on how Saddam forged close relationships with the 'Super 12' the American MPs deputised to gaurd him during his trial and up to his execution. Just 200 pages long but engrossing and packs a lot in. Before people go all dewy-eyed about an elderly man (he was 69 at the time) gently watering -- like Don Vito Corleone -- his weeds which he treated as flowers in his rec area in one of his former palaces where he was imprisoned in a small quarters and feeding the birds every morning 'they must have eaten on their way here' he opines one morning when they don't arrive for breakfast the author, a former US Army infantry officer and Pentagon employee, interjects those passages with the brutality of the man himself and his regime. He astonishes his guards with an anecdote of how he once punished his sociopathic son Uday by burning 100 of his luxury sports cars and chuckles at the memory. Despite their initial reluctance to get close to him the 'Super 12' -- who mostly joined up on the back of the 9/11 terror attacks -- get drawn to him and sit out smoking cohiba cigars which he has delivered and one of them sets up an office for him as his cell became cluttered with paper and books. He surprises them with a better grasp of English than he was given credit for -- declares himself a fan of westerns and reduces one to fits of laughter when the guard on being asked him what are his roots says he has some Red Indian blood and Saddam raises his hnd to his mouth and the other one above his head as in feathers and hollers -- and makes enquiries of their families, or writes poems for them. They are struck by his theatrical flourishes in court and the mask slipping when he went down with them in the lift, grinning and saying I didn't mean to attack the US soldiers reputation. His dignity and stoicism as he went to his death -- he walks past them down the armoured Rhino bus and shakes their hands -- leaves some of them in tears and the contrast of that with the Shias -- who had suffered appallingly at his regime's hands -- who kicked and spat on his corpse leaves many of them shocked and disgusted. To one of them he gives his Raymond Weil watch. Three observations perhaps the most pertinent one Iraqi source says and this is paraphrasing 'Many people loved Saddam but he was incapable of loving them back' and his remark to the American doctor who formed a close relationship with him as shells and gunfire echo daily round the capital Baghdad 'they'll wish they had me back'..indeed he called the doctor Papa Noel when the latter brought him some hand wipes and guffawed. And on one occasion remarking on how to stop the violence he remarks 'The people are used to being ruled....you wouldn't leave the doors of the bank open'. However, perhaps the best assessment of Saddam is made by the horrific 'Chemical Ali' responsible for the gassing of the Kurds and numeorus other crimes against humanity for which he too hanged. He told his FBI interrogators: "There are two faces of Saddam, one who went out of his way to share with those in need and was sometimes reduced to tears when stopping to assist a poor person, and the other a lonesome man with no friends, either inside or outside the family, who didn't even trust his sons." This second 'face of evil' continued the hardly innocent Ali was 'so cruel you could not imagine.'

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    After reading Phil Klay's editorial in the NYT yesterday (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/op...), I moved this to the top of the book stack. Using Army oral history and follow-up interviews with the participants, Bardenwerper has reconstructed the time a dozen young American MPs (with guest appearances by assorted CIA and FBI interrogators) spent guarding Saddam Hussein in one of his former palaces in the months leading up to his execution. In the shadow of Abu Ghraib, this confinement was un After reading Phil Klay's editorial in the NYT yesterday (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/op...), I moved this to the top of the book stack. Using Army oral history and follow-up interviews with the participants, Bardenwerper has reconstructed the time a dozen young American MPs (with guest appearances by assorted CIA and FBI interrogators) spent guarding Saddam Hussein in one of his former palaces in the months leading up to his execution. In the shadow of Abu Ghraib, this confinement was under close scrutiny, but just as had happened with the Nuremberg prisoners, it was impossible not to have personal contact with a man whose behavior swung between cartoonish autocrat and charming, avuncular roommate. Bardenwerper manages a story that is part banality of evil, part fundamental American decency and all surreal.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Viewed by most of mankind as a depraved, despotic dictator, Saddam Hussein, a master manipulator, manages to confound the twelve American soldiers sent in secrecy to guard him during his captivity and his final days on earth. Will Bardenwerper tackles the difficult topic of a terror-inducing Hussein in The Prisoner in His Palace, a narrative likely to wreak havoc on your senses by questioning the man himself, the myth and his eventual demise. An incredibly intense read, I was horrified to find m Viewed by most of mankind as a depraved, despotic dictator, Saddam Hussein, a master manipulator, manages to confound the twelve American soldiers sent in secrecy to guard him during his captivity and his final days on earth. Will Bardenwerper tackles the difficult topic of a terror-inducing Hussein in The Prisoner in His Palace, a narrative likely to wreak havoc on your senses by questioning the man himself, the myth and his eventual demise. An incredibly intense read, I was horrified to find myself in tears over Hussein’s last moments with his Super Twelve, something I would never have expected for this monster.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    Most people are familiar with the capture and trail of Saddam Hussein, but this book is written based on the interaction of the 12 soldiers who were tasked with guarding him while he was imprisioned. Instead of just portraying the monster that Saddam was it shows a side of Saddam (real or not) that the world wan’t privy to. To see Saddam through their eyes was fascinating. The background that it provided on Saddam’s childhood and rise to power was not long, but provided the reader with a more com Most people are familiar with the capture and trail of Saddam Hussein, but this book is written based on the interaction of the 12 soldiers who were tasked with guarding him while he was imprisioned. Instead of just portraying the monster that Saddam was it shows a side of Saddam (real or not) that the world wan’t privy to. To see Saddam through their eyes was fascinating. The background that it provided on Saddam’s childhood and rise to power was not long, but provided the reader with a more complete story. The book even covers to an extent his children and their roles and lives. It introduced the daughter that most people had never read about who stayed loyal to the end even though Saddam had her husband killed. It shares a brief but comprehensive account of his two notorious sons. I felt the book spent a too much time on the back ground of the 12 twelve men who guarded Saddam. To be (while on the clock) in such an intimate space with your prisoner would, as the book eludes, effect your emotional well being. The 12 men saw Saddam as the old man that he was (almost 70). With them he was calm, often courteous, respectful. Of course he had he special requests and outbursts during the trail, but while in his cell he was very different. At the end of the book it was easy to understand how deeply affected the men could be after spending so much time with him and then being the ones to take him on his final journey to be hanged. Those final moments for the 12 men as Saddam died was difficult. Don’t misunderstand this book is not trying to paint Saddam as a kind or gentle man not guilty of many murders, but it does show a more humane side of him. This is a book I would recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    D. Taylor

    The Prisoner In His Palace is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking books I’ve read in some time. First, Will Bardenwerper has done an amazingly painstaking job researching this timely and thought-provoking topic. Despite having done some published writing myself over the years, I can hardly imagine all that it must have taken to pull together the various source material for this book, much less assemble and write it in a way that makes it so beautifully readable and thoughtful.   Seco The Prisoner In His Palace is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking books I’ve read in some time. First, Will Bardenwerper has done an amazingly painstaking job researching this timely and thought-provoking topic. Despite having done some published writing myself over the years, I can hardly imagine all that it must have taken to pull together the various source material for this book, much less assemble and write it in a way that makes it so beautifully readable and thoughtful.   Second, Mr. Bardenwerper has importantly undertaken an in-depth book about an event that could so easily have been lost in the flurry of day-to-day headlines.  Our society often seems to simply skim the surface of events just long enough to fill today’s newspaper column space, and we often miss the opportunity to pause and think more deeply about people and events that beg a more thorough understanding and reflection.   Third, he has handled this delicate subject in an objective and even-handed way.  That is no easy feat, particularly with this person, in the era in which the events unfolded, and with the political backdrop as it existed at that time.  I particularly appreciate that his book avoids what could be an easy black-and-white judgment, in favor of a deeper look into a very complex man.  Given my current role as a counselor in a recovery center, I particularly appreciated the valuable information Mr. Bardenwerper provided on Saddam Hussein’s childhood and the world in which he grew up.  Sadly, I doubt that many of the people celebrating at his execution considered their own role in helping to create a world where a young boy grows up learning that power and violence are the best survival mechanisms.  Yes, he certainly deserved to be held accountable for his horrific crimes, yet there is more to be learned beyond that, and Mr. Bardenwerper skillfully leaves the reader pondering those deeper questions, including the life-changing impact of all of these events on the eyewitnesses.  I appreciate The Prisoner in His Palace and the very deep and thought-provoking questions it raises.  I hope this book is widely read and discussed, and that it becomes a catalyst for people of all faiths and cultures to consider that there have to be better ways to deal with the problems we face than torture and violence.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I would have never picked up this book on my own... I am extremely happy I did. My Goodreads friend Dem review compelled me to read it. Thank you Dem! The book provides an insight into Saddam Hussein, the person, the leader as well as the criminal. What a resourceful person he was to manipulate people and situations to his own ends! I felt the book was naive in describing interactions between him and the soldiers. Considering how young many of these officers were, it is easy to understand their g I would have never picked up this book on my own... I am extremely happy I did. My Goodreads friend Dem review compelled me to read it. Thank you Dem! The book provides an insight into Saddam Hussein, the person, the leader as well as the criminal. What a resourceful person he was to manipulate people and situations to his own ends! I felt the book was naive in describing interactions between him and the soldiers. Considering how young many of these officers were, it is easy to understand their good faith in judging this fatherly figure. However, I felt many of the situations described were not as benign as perceived by the Americans. They were strategically planned by Saddam to either get his way or for good publicity. I was also surprised on the impact this mission had on the officers in charge, especially on the younger officers. It was shocking to learn how devastating the aftermath of war can be even for the elite serviceman. Why only 3 stars? I have trouble with short stories and this book felt like a series of free standing stories. Nonetheless, I would recommend to anyone interested in this area.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert S

    The Prisoner in His Palace provides a surprisingly raw account of the twelve men who had to guard Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in the last period of his life before his trial and execution after being captured by the United States government in 2003. Fourteen (hard to believe I'm writing that) years on after his capture and almost eleven after his death, the specter of Saddam still looms over an Iraq still looking for stability. This book gives an inside glimpse of the men whose job was to protec The Prisoner in His Palace provides a surprisingly raw account of the twelve men who had to guard Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in the last period of his life before his trial and execution after being captured by the United States government in 2003. Fourteen (hard to believe I'm writing that) years on after his capture and almost eleven after his death, the specter of Saddam still looms over an Iraq still looking for stability. This book gives an inside glimpse of the men whose job was to protect the most hated man in Iraq and possibly in the Middle East from an untimely death before he could face justice. In the process, we not only get a better sense of the war during those times but of Saddam himself. Even now, Saddam has become yet another footnote to history whose evil deeds are summed up in usually a few short paragraphs. The Prisoner in His Palace look to expand upon the blank canvas that many of us (particularly those who spent their formative years with the Iraq War as a backdrop) have of Saddam and the events that led to his ultimate downfall. Definitely a quick and interesting read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Slagle

    The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards and What History Leaves unsaid by Will Bardenwerper presents a portrait of Hussein through the eyes and the experiences of the twelve American soldiers who were given the duty of guarding him following his capture, through his trial for crimes against humanity, through his conviction and through his execution. While the book never downplays the many atrocities committed by this evil man, it also presents another side of him that is The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards and What History Leaves unsaid by Will Bardenwerper presents a portrait of Hussein through the eyes and the experiences of the twelve American soldiers who were given the duty of guarding him following his capture, through his trial for crimes against humanity, through his conviction and through his execution. While the book never downplays the many atrocities committed by this evil man, it also presents another side of him that is seen by his guards. Woven by first hand accounts by these twelve men, Hussein is shown as having a side that is diametrically opposed to the heartless man seen on the outside. It is difficult for his guards to come to terms with the horrible things done by this man with whom they are in contact every day with the often kindhearted, grandfatherly man who displays dignity, courage, and affection for his guards. The book forces them and the reader to come to terms with a man who is most certainly evil, but who also has a human side. The book is well written and constructed and gives a very insightful and interesting view of Saddam Hussein and of the history surrounding him.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda Layne

    To begin with, this is not a book I would typically read. However, I heard an interview with the author, Will Bardenwerper and NPR's Terry Gross of "Fresh Air." After hearing the interview, I HAD to read this book. My library had just purchased the book and I dove into the author's recollections and while I was not disappointed, I had not expected his words to have such an impact upon me. No spoiler alerts here, but this book is about humanity - plain and simple. But being humans, we have the a To begin with, this is not a book I would typically read. However, I heard an interview with the author, Will Bardenwerper and NPR's Terry Gross of "Fresh Air." After hearing the interview, I HAD to read this book. My library had just purchased the book and I dove into the author's recollections and while I was not disappointed, I had not expected his words to have such an impact upon me. No spoiler alerts here, but this book is about humanity - plain and simple. But being humans, we have the ability to perform acts of good and of course, the flipside, acts of evil. How or why is not for me to explain . . . or judge. I am merely stating a fact. But here is another statement of fact: everything we do has an impact on someone else - good or bad - like it or not - WE impact those around us. What the "Super Twelve" did took bravery, compassion, and at times - I would imagine every fiber of their being to do what was required of them. None of them walked away from their service unchanged by their service. And I daresay that anyone who reads this book will not also experience some kind of a change. As for me, well I hurt even more for those who serve this country and return to no support for their PTSD. I believe in our troops (who serve here and on foreign soil) because they do what so many either cannot or will not. I will continue to do whatever I can to help, yet I know that it will never be enough.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Keith

    Just finished this truly eye opening book about twelve U.S. soldiers tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein during his trial and while awaiting his execution. The soldiers were called the Super Twelve. I admit that I never thought about who was guarding Saddam or what it must have been like for those men. These men ranged in age from 19 to 44 and came from all walks of life. They knew who Saddam Hussein was and that he was a murdering dictator but they had no idea how their lives would be affected Just finished this truly eye opening book about twelve U.S. soldiers tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein during his trial and while awaiting his execution. The soldiers were called the Super Twelve. I admit that I never thought about who was guarding Saddam or what it must have been like for those men. These men ranged in age from 19 to 44 and came from all walks of life. They knew who Saddam Hussein was and that he was a murdering dictator but they had no idea how their lives would be affected by him. These men came to know a different Saddam than they ever imagined. They came to know a man who would frequently ask about their families, who wrote poetry for one soldiers wife, who cried with and hugged one soldier when he learned that the soldiers brother had died and stated that he would now be his brother, who hugged the soldiers on his way to the gallows and told them they were only doing their jobs. They knew that Saddam deserved to die for what he did but they mourned the man they carefully guarded and who some say they still miss to this day. A story that will touch your heart. #Amazon The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501117831/...] In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts… amazon.com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richard Aliff

    At first I was pretty curious if I had purchased the right book, one evening I just took and read the few pages and I have to say the beginning till the end it was nothing but an intriguing book, nicely narrated by Will Bardenwerper. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what sort of a man Saddam Hussein really was, the world knew him as ruthless tyrant dictator who was responsible for hundreds of deaths during his reign of power, after reading this book you will be startled to At first I was pretty curious if I had purchased the right book, one evening I just took and read the few pages and I have to say the beginning till the end it was nothing but an intriguing book, nicely narrated by Will Bardenwerper. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what sort of a man Saddam Hussein really was, the world knew him as ruthless tyrant dictator who was responsible for hundreds of deaths during his reign of power, after reading this book you will be startled to know that Saddam had his humane side of him. Story begins as those US Military men who was in-charge of guarding Saddam narrates on his idiosyncrasies. Definitely an interesting read a must buy book. I have no regrets!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikmaack

    Wow. Saddam Hussein is a monster. But if you're an American soldier asked to guard an old man who is polite and kind to you, how do you reconcile that? How do you wrap your head around the contradiction? He's killed thousands, but he calls you "my friend" and genuinely seems to care about you and your family. That's what makes this book fascinating -- how evil can be a kind old man. I listened to the audio book and was blown away by the stories, the details, the moral complexity, and the downright Wow. Saddam Hussein is a monster. But if you're an American soldier asked to guard an old man who is polite and kind to you, how do you reconcile that? How do you wrap your head around the contradiction? He's killed thousands, but he calls you "my friend" and genuinely seems to care about you and your family. That's what makes this book fascinating -- how evil can be a kind old man. I listened to the audio book and was blown away by the stories, the details, the moral complexity, and the downright bizarre nature of this story. A fascinating look at a moment in history, from a very odd angle. I picked up this book thanks to the excellent podcast Behind The Bastards.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.