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Mission: Black List #1: The Inside Story of the Search for Saddam Hussein---As Told by the Soldier Who Masterminded His Capture Hardcover – December 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 2003, Staff Sgt. Maddox was an army interrogation specialist on his first field assignment in Iraq gathering information on bad guys. The unexpectedly rapid collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime made that category a broad one. Sent to Tikrit, Saddams home town, Maddox found no system for screening detainees to identify priority targets. That began to change with one of Saddams bodyguards, Maddoxs first serious interrogation and the first step to Saddams capture. With freelance writer Seay (coauthor, Hello Charlie) providing the polish, Maddox takes readers through an intense multilevel series of question-and-answer games that led slowly, with many false starts and sidetracks, to Saddams hideout. Maddox makes no secret of his mistakes: losing his temper, failing to control interrogations, seeking information rather than cultivating insight. We weren't in the United States and my job wasn't to hand down justice, he writes. His account is a welcome corrective to lurid accounts of interrogation techniques, frequently secondhand. The capture of Saddam Hussein, like all good intelligence work, was 5% insight and 95% patience. Brutality, Maddox makes clear, was not merely counterproductive but unnecessary. 8 pages of color photos. (Dec. 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

In 2003, Oklahoma native Maddox was a newly trained U.S. Army interrogation specialist. Assigned to Tikrit, Iraq, he was involved in the search and capture of Saddam Hussein and others on the military's Black List. Through the interrogation of a prisoner Maddox was instrumental in bringing in, he was able to discover Hussein's hiding place on his last day in Iraq. Actor/narrator Bernie McInerney (Shooter) capably reads this unique insider's look at a major historical event. Recommended for military history buffs and larger public libraries. [Audio clip available through—Ed.]—Mary Knapp, Madison P.L., WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006171447X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061714474
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dalton Fury on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eric, thanks for taking the time to share the extraordinary behind the scenes efforts of nabbing Saddam. The description of the dynamics that exist between operator and outsider on the battlefield are spot on and capture that unique atmosphere completely. You were teamed with the best in Tikrit - guys like Kelly, Doug, Matt, Bam Bam..and Walt at BIAP (and the unnamed rest) are nothing short of remarkable men with a personal drive to accomplish the mission matched by few others. You were accepted because you proved your worth from the very beginning. In the big scheme of things, your individual efforts were more valuable than dozens of operators. I highly recommend this fascinating book for anyone interested in just how Saddam was finally located in his spider hole. It is a thrilling read that highlights the value of initiative, intuition, and instinct by a super ground commander, team, and collective intelligence work. This book is hard to put down and Americans can have it today at a bargain price of 10 bucks. Great work Eric!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeanette F. Lucey on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of how one intelligence officer and a small group of intelligence experts in the US Army were able to find Saddam Hussein.

Instead of looking for all the people other intelligence officers had looked at Sgt. Maddox made a list of all those who were close to Saddam. He found a common link in his bodyguards and went after them.

Right up until the moment he was to leave Iraq he was still interrogating and found the man who would lead the Army to Saddam.

This is a page-turner and once you start to read it and get over the small auto-biographical information, you will not be able to put this book down.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know the "real" story behind the capture of Hussein.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jim Bulach on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a tough critic when it comes to rating books. However, "Mission: Black List # 1" had no trouble scoring a five star rating from me. In this book, the interrogator who focused on the path least traveled by our intelligence agencies, worked his way through Saddam Hussein's hierarchy of body guards and associates of the Iraqi insurgency to track down and capture Saddam Hussein. He did this in a surprisingly small amount of time, less than five months. He put together the last pieces of the puzzle in the final frantic hours of his rotation in Iraq, working around the clock to prevent his efforts from going to waste when he was ordered to return.

The book is well written and kept me enraptured throughout the story. I have never read a non-fiction book that has ever done that!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on December 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover

This is the amazing story of Staff Sergeant Eric Maddox of the United States Army who was instrumental in uncovering the information that helped lead to Saddam's capture. The author was an interrogator and within twenty-four-hours of landing in Baghdad he was asked if he was willing to interrogate on "hits"... "raids that were conducted in Baghdad to search for High Value Targets (HVT) and round up suspected insurgents." From there he was transferred to Tikrit, Saddam's hometown. And that's where this amazingly interesting and fast paced story unfolds. Within a very short period of time Eric is thrust into the duties of a top interrogator, even though he has no real interrogation experience, when the previously assigned experienced interrogator transfers out. Eric's previous training amounted to an eight-week interrogation course he attended in Arizona in 1999. AND... "WHAT I DIDN'T LEARN WAS HOW TO ACTUALLY GET THE JOB DONE. MOST OF MY INSTRUCTORS HAD NEVER INTERROGATED A REAL LIVE PRISONER. THERE HAD BEEN VERY FEW PRISONERS SINCE VIET NAM."

In addition to the *insider's-peep-hole* into one of the most important historical events in recent history... the author's unabashed honesty about his own shortcomings and fears... helps elevate this book above the horde of Middle East war books released in the last few years. An example of Eric's forthright nature is displayed when detailing his first "boots-on-the-ground" "OUTSIDE-THE-WIRE" raid on a possible insurgent. On the way to the selected house, driving ONE-HUNDRED-MILES-PER-HOUR at night... in a Mercedes that had been owned by one of Saddam's nieces...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Monk on June 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book and should be read by anyone with any interest in intelligence, the war in Iraq, interrogation, or current events.

I think we can all remember when we first saw the pictures of Saddam. The former dictator, with a scraggly beard and a look of defeat on his face, wasn't found by rare chance or good luck, he was caught by hard work by our military and especially SSG Maddox who followed the information he was getting from countless interrogations.

When I first got this book and before I began to read it, I thought it might be like so many books written by someone in this business; that being explaining how awesome they are and how dumb everyone else is. That wasn't the case here. SSG Maddox lays out his 6 months in Iraq with every success and failure. He admits to his mistakes and his own doubts. Indeed, this book is a great lesson in resiliance as a lot of his information turned up dry holes and left him wondering if he even knew what he was doing.

You really come to pull for SSG Maddox. You begin to feel his frustration and occassional self-doubt but you also become impressed with his determination and quick thinking. Finally, you almost feel like celebrating with SSG Maddox as his hard work is recognized.

This is not a long book or a book that you will struggle to read. Maddox keeps it brief and does not get bogged down with each interrogation in the chain to Saddam. This was a book that I did not want to put down!

With all the debate over the enhanced interrogation techniques, here is a book that explains how the vast majority of interrogations are conducted.

Again, this is a must read
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