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Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, And Kandahar Hardcover – August 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 397 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595581367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595581365
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,753,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In a fast-paced, harrowing narrative that's likely to become a flash point for the right and the left, Begg tells of his secret abduction by U.S. forces in Pakistan, his detainment at American air bases for more than a year and at Guantánamo for two more years as an enemy combatant. A British Muslim of Pakistani descent, Begg grew up in Birmingham and excelled at school before becoming involved with Islamic political causes and later moving to Afghanistan to become a teacher. After fighting broke out in Kabul, he and his wife and children moved to Islamabad in 2001, where U.S. operatives seized him. In March 2004, Begg was released from Guantánamo under pressure from the British government, but over the objections of the Pentagon, which still considers him a potential terrorist. Despite considerable media speculation over what Begg may have left out of this memoir, it's a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story. Whether Begg is describing his Muslim and Asian friends fighting white supremacist skinhead street gangs in Birmingham, or telling how he shared poetry with a U.S. guard at Guantánamo, his tone is assured. His work will be necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


... serious indictment of the USA for eroding ... rule of law by disregarding habeas corpus, as did ... apartheid regime in South Africa. -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Ann Tares on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book, "Enemy Combatant," draws its power from simple, straight forward descriptions of what it was like for an innocent man to be arrested in the night as a suspected terrorist in Pakistan, torn from wife and children, and then spend the next years of his life in US prisons at Bagram, Kandahar and Guantanamo. No preaching or polemics. The author, UK citizen Moazzam Begg, even has compassion and forgiveness for the frightened young military police, soldiers and a few of the interrogators. Even for people who brutalized him physically and psychologically.

In 2002 or 2003, I heard the author's father, a British banker and other parents of Gitmo detainees, speak at an event sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights at Cooper Union in New York City. When I heard these parents speak, I and many others assumed all prisoners in Guantanamo, Cuba were probably terrorists. The Center held the event to increase our awareness that it was only humane for the prisoners to know the charges against them, contact their families, and get a (fair) trial even if military. I had worked daily on the 101-105th floors of World Trade One until March 01 and know hundreds of the dead, could have been with them, so I took terrorism threats very seriously. But I went to hear the parents of detainees speak because I believe Americans can protect ourselves from terror attacks without, in the process, destroying the Bill of Rights and our nation's commitment to fair treatment of every individual.

When the author's father told us why his son Moazzam had gone from the UK with his wife and children before 9-11 to work with a girls' school and a water project, I remember thinking, "This may be the lie of a terrorist's father or his naievete about his son, but it certainly sounds truthful.
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63 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neither the publisher nor Amazon have done well at posting useful details that would encourage the purchase of this book, so here are two right up front:

1) David Ignatius, the world-renowned editor formerly with the Washington Post and now with the International Herald Tribune, is the author of the Foreword. This alone is compelling reason to buy the book, for this author and this story not only pass the Ignatius smell test, Ignatious rings the bell on how this book documents the shameful misconduct resulting from a Presidential violation of all the tenets of both international treaties and moral democracy.

2) The table of contents is as follows: 1) Illegally detained, 2) The Lynx; 3) Underdogs; 4) Mercy Mission; 5) Spooks; 6) 'English 558' (Prisoner of War Number); 7) The Hardest Test; 8) Devil's Agents; 9) A Solitary Echo; 10) Trial of Strength; 11) The Teasing Illusion; 12) Chime of the Razor Wire; 13) Mockery of Justice; and 14) Do You Know Who I Am?

The book does not have an index which I believe to be an error that should be corrected in future editions. While this is a book of reflections, there are enough legal, military, torture, and other matters to merit indexing and ease of access to references via an index.

I put the book down after an intense morning with it with the following reflections:

1) I am ashamed that the American Congress and the American public has stood idly by as the White House has ursurped the power to make law and interpret law, while sinking to the lowest moral point in our recent history.

2) The author is quite balanced and most extraordinary in his personal telling of this history. I hope he files a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the government of the United States of America.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amadeus Leander on November 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for every single American. Moazzam shows us how American policies-policies most people don't even bother learning about-severely affect others. Moazzam, through this book, turns on a very bright light in the darkened closet of American apathy and makes it impossible for us to shut it off once we finish the book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In my younger days I was enthralled with books by prisoners of the Soviet Gulag. Little could one imagine that one day there might be an American variation on that theme. It has been said that September 11th changed everything, it did indeed.

One of the most amazing things about this gripping story is that the author does not harbor a grudge against Americans in general - amazing that he did not become what he was suspected of being. This is the source of how terrorism will grow, unjust and heavy handed treatment only breeds more of what it attempts to stop by coercion. This story is uplifting in the human spirit overcoming the horrors of unjust treatment while exposing the lies of those who wish to gloss it over. It is not republican or democrat in its spin, its a look at how fear has led us to injustice.

"Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method, inexorably must choose lying as his principle" -Alexander Solzenitzen
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Martin Usher on June 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is among the first published material describing the "War on Terror" from the perspective of the other side. Mr. Begg -- who isn't a terrorist, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time -- is able to humanize the events, we see the people involved, captors and detainees alike, as real people rather than the stylized "us (good) and them (bad)" that we're fed by most of the mass media. Mr. Begg does not judge people but by dispassionately describing them and their actions he makes a very powerful indicitment of the system that has created this mess and justifies it day to day.

Mr. Begg is English and one of the interesting facets of the book is the way that certain events and actions unfold using a logic that's utterly mysterious to him but obvious to an American. I hope that the US edition of this book, due to be released later this year, is not changed to alter this.
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