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Abu Nidal : A Gun for Hire : The Secret Life of the World's Most Notorious Arab Terrorist Hardcover – February 5, 1992

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PATRICK SEALE is one of Britain's most distinguished Middle East specialists. As an author and a former correspondent for the London "Observer", he has spent thirty years studying the politics of the region and interviewing its leaders. He is the author of the standard biography of Hafez al Assad, "Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East", and the classic history of Syria, "The Struggle for Syria". Other books by Seale include "Philby: The Long Road to Moscow"; "The Hilton Assignment"; and "Red Flag, Black Flag".
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (February 5, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679400664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679400660
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The value of this book is not just the portrait it paints of its subject, Abu Nidal. His entire oranization is clearly and thoroughly documented: its structure, incidents (with dates), movements, and interworkings. Through his penetration into the organization and subsequent writing, Patrick Seale has written this remarkably detailed intelligence report. Anyone with any interest in international terrorism should go out of their way to procure a copy of this book.
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Patrick Seale's "Abu Nidal: A Gun For Hire" is addictive and non-stop reading. A book tracing the inner working and operations of Abu Nidal's terrorist organization. Abu Nidal started a resistance group which splintered from the mainstream palestinian opinion in the 70's. Abu Nidal's would transform his group from an extreme palestinian group into a work-for-hire organization that would carry out terrorist attacks against the enemies of his sponsor of the day. Most importantly Abu Nidal broke early on with the PLO and did everything he could to destroy the moderate palestinian voices.

The book recreates Abu Nidal's operations, its mode of operation and some missions it carried out by interviewing collaborators, defectors and opponents. The book starts by tracing the steps of a new recruit in the group, and then exploring the claim from a senior PLO officer: that either Abu Nidal's Organization was infiltrated by the Mossad or Abu Nidal himself was working for the Mossad. The exploration of this claim takes the rest of the book as Patrick Seale reconstructs the various terrorist strikes carried out by Abu Nidal. In this book, Lebanon appears only as a backdrop to the mainline story.

In any case, Abu Nidal's strikes consistently undermined the efforts of the PLO and the palestinian cause which he claimed to be assisting. Attacks would set back any attempts from the PLO to become a political force to represent the interests of the Palestinians in the exile and on the occupied territories.

It was Abu Nidal's group who carried out the attempt to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London in 1982. This give Israel the excuse to start its long-planned invasion of Lebanon in 1982 by claiming that the the cease fire had been broken by the PLO.
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Format: Hardcover
Abu Nidal purportedly committed suicide in Baghdad a few months ago by shooting himself in the head a few times. As English author Patrick Seale probably would agree, Nidal's mysterious death was appropos of a murky life given to terrorism for profit from whatever financial source was available.
Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire has many of the characteristics American readers find so grating about British journalism. Among these are the author's penchant for injecting himself into the story and then indulging in a baseless conspiracy theory which requires the writer to make every fact fit his premise (in this case, a far-fetched theory that Nidal worked for the Mossad). All that said, this book probably is more relevant in the aftermath of September 11th than it was when published a decade ago. The author gives textured explanations for the root causes of terrorism, and provides the mechanics of how these horrific crimes actually are implemented.
Seale also gives us a look into the sad history of Abu Nidal and other Palestinians who suffered at the hands of Israeli settlers. He follows Nidal as he evolves from a young expatriate into the recipient of patronage from the likes of Saddam Hussein, and finally into a quasi-businessman who becomes a freelance killer for profit. As an interesting aside, Nidal had been expelled from Iraq at the time this book was written. The terrorist Seale portrays is essentially a cowardly, bigoted man who loves money and whiskey more than radical politics and the Palestinian cause. In fact, as his career gains momentum Nidal murders far more Palestinians than he does Israelis and other Westerners. To underscore his actual motives, in one grimly amusing vignette Nidal has an in-law slain to settle a business dispute.
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Format: Hardcover
Seale, a noted expert on Middle East affairs, uses his expertise to create an engaging story about Abu Nidal and his terrorist organization. Not only does the book provide a detailed history of Abu Nidal, but it explains the whole of the Palestinian problem in relation to Abu Nidal and his efforts. With close ties to influential sources Seale is able to add a thread of authenticity to the tale. In some parts of the book, Seale acts out the role of a private detective, piecing together clues about Abu Nidal and his possible ties to Mossad. However, the book is entertaining and educational, a great addition to one's library.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is a very interesting account of this terrorist's career. It covers many of the different organizations he is part of or works with and the countries that use him or support him. The book also tried to give the reader a better understanding of the Israeli / Palestinians war and why it effects Nidal. I found the most interesting part was just the detailed accounts of what he has been involved in; this is a very sick person that is out for as much death and destruction as possible. The book is well written and detailed. The author keeps the books going in a straight timeline. I would say that it could use an update on what he has been up to the last ten years. If you are interested in terrorism, and right now who is not, then you should pick up a copy of this book.
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