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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 – Bargain Price, December 2, 2008
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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.
About the Author
Army Staff Sergeant Eric Maddox was awarded the DIA Director's Award, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement for his key role in the capture of Saddam Hussein. A native of Oklahoma, he now lives in San Antonio, Texas.
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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
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.
But then something wondrous began to happen. The book began to get slowly yet steadily better. It went from being awful, to being bad, to mediocre, to kinda good, to man-that-was good, to riveting, to great. I've never seen a book do that before.
Sgt. Maddox is fresh out of interrogation school. On a fluke, he is sent to Takrit on a "two-day" mission. The departing interrogator tells him a pet theory that, it is not the so-called high-value targets who are running the insurgency, but rather it's run by Saddam's former bodyguards. So Maddox begins to focus on them. He quickly realizes that he will be more valuable out in Takrit rather then in the chaos of Baghdad, and so he gets his assignment extended. With no experience and with no other interrogator to oversee him, he fumble his way into his own style of interrogation detainees and thus begins to untangle to complex web of the insurgency, with its crown jewel: Saddam Hussein himself.
The army has a legion of experts trying to find Saddam. Sgt. Maddox is just one guy, working alone, who doesn't really know what he's doing. Guess who wins.