- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0230603742
- ISBN-13: 978-0230603745
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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“The most compassionate, truthful and dignified account of the disgrace of Guantanamo that you are ever likely to read.” ―John le Carré
“I thank God that Murat kept his sanity in the hell of injustice and torture of nearly 5 years in Guantanamo so he could tell his story. May it be studied in every school and college in Europe and the USA. May it help to close down all the illegal and secret prisons and camps, as well as Guantanamo, and restore the prisoners to their families. I am sure Murat's book will educate a whole generation about justice and the defense of human rights.” ―Vanessa Redgrave
“Like many of the men imprisoned in Guantánamo, Murat Kurnaz was held for years without proper charge or trial. After intensive campaigning by his friends, family and Amnesty International members all over the world, he was finally released. This book is a profound and detailed account of his experiences. After suffering torture and detention without trial, it is testament to great strength of character that he is able to tell his story with such power and clarity.” ―Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK
“Murat makes the horrors and inanities of Guantánamo so real; his voice is by turns young and headstrong, wry and wise. Murat's mother came to the Unites States to hear our first Guantánamo case argued before the Supreme Court back in 2004 - when I met her, I didn't know whether she would ever see her son again. Now he is home safe and has produced this riveting and moving account of his torture and abuse at the hands of the U.S. government to shine a light in a dark place and try to help all those still languishing without hope. This is a must read.” ―Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney representing the Guantánamo detainees.
“Kurnaz recounts his woes, and those of his fellow prisoners, with modesty and compassion. . . . He has written a measured and readable account, which is often even humorous in a Swiftian sort of way.” ―The Economist
“A vital document that should - rightly - shock and appall.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A plainspoken account, Five Years of My Life focuses on the daily humiliations and surreal texture of life at Guantanamo” ―Mother Jones
“May well represent our best hope yet of preserving the truth about this depraved chapter in American history...Kurnaz describes the varied tortures to which he was subjected for the next five years with such a level-headed lack of self-pity that they come across as neither bitter rallying cry nor unbearable litany of torment. In his gentle, understated way, Kurnaz describes the reality behind the euphemisms used to describe the 'enhanced interrogation practices' the Bush administration has openly authorized in the 'war on terror'.” ―The Santa Barbara Independant
“This is a book politicians should read, and should inspire anguished soul-searching among the rest of us.” ―The Washington Post
“Kurnaz…avoids sensationalism for a harrowing record of barbarities carried out in the name of democracy…[written] in stark, unadorned prose, with no scores to settle, knowing that his account is beyond most people's imagination.” ―The Guardian (UK)
“Kurnaz reveals Guantanamo shorn of media spin.” ―The Guardian (UK)
“[An] indispensable document” ―The Washington Post
“Kurnaz' book is an invaluable document, a testament that juxtaposes the impossible courtage of one individual against the paranoia, irrationality and cruelty that can take hold when a regime loses its moral courage.” ―Cary Gee, Tribune
About the Author
Murat Kurnaz is a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany, where he was born in 1982. He was in the process of becoming a German citizen when he was arrested in Pakistan and held prisoner for five years. He now lives in Germany. Five Years of My Life is his first book.
Top Customer Reviews
Kurnaz, a German-born (in 1982) Turk, traveled to Pakistan in late 2001 to study at a madrassa. Shortly thereafter, through a combination of false evidence, police corruption, alleged guilt by association, and bureaucratic incompetence, he was arrested and handed over to American military authorities. After a three-month imprisonment in Afghanistan, he was transferred to Gitmo, where he would stay until his exoneration and release in August 2006. (This despite the fact that the U.S. authorities quickly realized, as Kurnaz's lawyer, Baher Azmy, compellingly argues in the book's epilogue, that Kurnaz was innocent.)
Kurnaz's first three months in Gitmo were spent in Camp X-Ray, so called because the prisoners where in open air cages where everything was "completely transparent" to the scrutiny of the guards. The cages were 15 square feet (smaller than German requirements for caging animals), open to the weather as well as spiders, snakes, and scorpions. prisoners were irregularly fed, denied medical treatment, and given bad water to drink. They were also forbidden to stand, lie down during the day, or touch the sides of the cages.Read more ›
Kurnaz manages to maintain a sense of humor despite five years without a decent night's sleep, regular beatings, casual racism and indifferent interrogators. A copy should be sent to Cheney home, for he was the prime motivation behind this grotesque gulag.
He was hauled off the bus and sent to Cuba, after first being sequestered in Afghanistan. The Cuban climate was a warm welcome in contrast to the cold of Central Asia, but he rotted in hell for five years before finally being set free.
This book is one man's testimony to the brutality of incarceration, and the lengths to which Pakistan/Afghan border tribes will go in order to find a scapegoat, if only you give them enough money. His voice is one among the thousands.
A totally depressing tale of pointless victimization. It is the story of the legacy of America's so-called "War on Terror."
Read it at the risk of getting totally depressed, but knowing later a little more of the evil that exists.
P.S. Amazon has a great service, but they weren't very good to Julian Assange or Wikileaks. I hope they realize their errant judgement.
Murat was sent first to a prison camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan and then later to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In both places he was repeatedly and relentlessly tortured. Among other things he was constantly beaten, often for no reason, he was water boarded, he was electrically shocked on the soles of his feet, he was hung from the ceiling by his arms tied behind him for hours on end, he was deprived of sleep for weeks at a time, he was forced to stand for days, he was starved, he was force fed, he was put in an air-tight metal container and subjected to extreme heat and cold and of course there were the months of solitary confinement. In Guantanamo he came across prisoners as young as 14 and a few even in their 80s and 90s.
Like all the books on Guantanamo, there is almost a shock a page. Besides the main tortures listed above, what I found almost as deplorable was how vindictive, sadistic and cruel the soldiers were to the detainees in little ways, all the time and always there were endless lies. Also appalling were Murat's descriptions of female soldiers in one of the camps, watching while naked male prisoners defecated in a communal bucket in the open pen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every American should read this book. I could not stop thinking about the U.S. military men and women who abused prisoners on a daily basis at Guantanamo. Read morePublished 7 months ago by E. Connett
This book is riveting and hard to put down. The shockingly brutal treatment of prisoners and the cold refusal to investigate their claims of innocence are nothing short of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by DJC,
This guy was arrested again today in Belgium while recruiting for Al Qaeda. He was not innocent and this book is pure fantasy designed as propaganda to pluck the heart strings of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jason Hornbuckle
An amazing and well written story. I couldn't stop reading.Published 20 months ago by Marianna Vargas
This book recount on the tragic experience faced by Murat, who while travelling to Pakistan at the age of 19 for Koranic studies was nabbed by the local Pakistanis and sold to the... Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by AbdulMalikOmar
You can see his video interview here [...] . He mentions seeing many strange things in Guantanamo and decided if he survived he would write this book *tears*.Published on May 19, 2012 by Anonymous
This is the story of Murat Kurnaz and recounts his travails and survival of five years in the Guantanamo prison camp. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by David A the Strategic Storyteller
This book is a must read for everybody. People that say this is fiction and absolute fantasy are kidding themselves. Read morePublished on June 16, 2011 by Jessica