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How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I can see why the book ruffled some feathers--it is a complete rejection of the ways of old, and the new methods expressed in it could certainly raise some eyebrows. Creating relationships and developing mutual respect seems counter intuitive when dealing with mass murders. Why show respect to people who would just as easily blow you up as they would sit in a room with you? And indeed, the author's inner turmoil over this point, combined with his persistent dedication to the cause (nailing Al Zarqawi) and trust in new methods of interrogation, is one of the more compelling subplots of the book.
The characters we meet are fascinating. I won't talk too much about that, because you should read about them yourself, but the men he interrogates are all distinctly different, and the methods he uses change based on the subject, from the street peddlers up to the final link to Al Zarqawi, whose breaking requires the most creative interrogation tactic of all.
To make it even more interesting, the new methods aren't even entirely accepted by the other members of the interrogation team, who prefer control tactics instead--the office politics--set in a warzone--remind us that old ways die hard. Also, as someone who only has a view of the military from the outside, I was surprised to read about the structure of the interrogation unit. Matthew is a major, but his rank doesn't matter--one of the funnier exchanges comes within the books first few pages, when an NCO asks him if he'll have a "hard f***ing time" with a sergeant giving him orders.Read more ›
The author presents a story involving how psychology was used to obtain better data more rapidly than through the use of brutality. I see that as a positive thing.
People die in war. Many times the innocent suffer far out of proportion to the gulty. There is no way to eliminate "collateral damage" as long as there are wars.
And there is no way for free peoples to avoid war without just surrendering to anyone who demands it.
I liked the stories in the book. No, I'm not offering any spoilers here; but I was fascinated by the ways the captured terrorists were manipulated into willingly revealing data that they might never have given up under torture.
We all hate war; but this book shows that we can win and still be the good guys...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and literally could not put it down.
If you enjoy reading mystery, intrigue, military warfare, special ops, good vs evil, covert ops, psychological ops, and good old fashioned tactics, you will love this book and keep it displayed on your bookshelf long after you've read it.
An awesome read.
Alexander's techniques are hardly "touchy-feely" - in a way they are a form of psychological trickery. He fools his interview targets into giving him the information he wants and then expolits their trust. It is also the type of technique that any regular viewer of TV detective shows see every day.
The methods Alexander espouses only make sense to me, a veteran teacher. It is easier to get cooperation from someone that you can create a sense of rapport with, even if it is only temporary.
Anyway, the book reads like a suspense novel. It is a quick and intense read and absolutely riveting and informative.
Well done. Highly recommended.
As the interrogations unfold, you get to feel the full range of emotions experienced by the terrorist, and then see how they are used by a new breed of interrogator. These interrogators use their brains, rather than force, to 'break' one terrorist after another, leading them to the most wanted man in Iraq.
The book has left me with a better sense of how complex the situation is in Iraq, and also a deeper understanding of what it means to be human...and why some people do inhuman things. In the face of these inhuman things, I deeply admire the courage of the author to maintain his moral compass and lead change.
This book should be read because it's one hell of an exciting story, it's beautifully written, and it conveys a hopeful message!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent and easy to read book. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's views on interviewing terrorist and being successful in getting the information you need using brains... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tennisballs
One of the best book I have ever read. Offers incredible insight into what goes on behind the scenes in times if warPublished 4 months ago by Steven A. Musso
A well reported terms of events. Major Alexander shed some light on certain events that unfolded the spiritual connection to use as the lead to capture Al-Zarqawi. Read morePublished 6 months ago by HJ
Page turner. Alexander brings an amazing perspective to this trying time in US national policy and international affairs.Published 9 months ago by Pete L.
Author describes the FBI and AFOSI approach to interrogation which emphasizes empathy and avoids torture. Read morePublished 9 months ago by John R. Thompson
This was fascinating not only for what the author put on the page, but for what he didn't intend to convey. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Grey Area 51
If I could give it 3.5 stars, I would - for me it was somewhere between "It's OK" and "I like it. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
A must read. This book is like a dire hard Movie that was actually true or the last splinter cell gamePublished 13 months ago by Aidan Quevedo
Great story by an experienced interrogator that gives the readers insight to the complex world of terrorism.Published 14 months ago by Jacob Westerberg