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Saddam's Bombmaker: The Daring Escape of the Man Who Built Iraq's Secret Weapon Paperback – October 9, 2001
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Hamza was eventually kept under house arrest, and even threatened with torture. His escape was an astonishing feat, and the message he brought to the West is vital: "I have no doubt that Iraq is pursuing the nuclear option." The Gulf War slowed development, but failed to shut it down. The coalition that knocked Saddam out of Kuwait has fallen apart, and United Nations inspectors no longer try to keep him in check. Hamza urges policymakers to confront Saddam, and suggests that the CIA redouble its efforts to help topnotch scientists flee from their virtual captivity. If rogue nations experience a brain drain, he says, their capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction will suffer. Saddam's Bombmaker is hard to put down and essential reading for anybody interested in national security. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"[The authors] keen sense of pacing (balancing personal memoir with political history) and clear and vivid writing serve to indict Iraq under Saddam, painting a detailed and convincing portrait of what it's like to live in a country under a violent dictator where there is no viable opposition or independent judiciary. . .
Hamza recalls colleagues who were tortured and killed, and doctors weeping as they told him of being forced to watch the killings of Shiites, who Saddam feared politically, or the gassing of Kurds, designed both to eliminate this minority and to test biological weapons. . .
Forecast: Hamza was featured in an article in the New York Times Magazine on Oct. 2 and this book will get widely reviewed. Hamza's urgent message about how close Saddam is to completing a nuclear weapon makes the book not only newsworthy but of the broadest interest to a wide spectrum of readers concerned about the fate of the world in the nuclear age
"Basically, in atomic research you need lots of industrial equipment, like the South African and Israeli governments bought or developed(from other advanced nations). Iraq has nothing close to this."
To this I say: North Korea, Pakistan, India (and coming soon, Iran) -- and ??? In this I do not mean to disparage the countries named, but they clearly do not fall within that reviewers idea of a highly developed industrialized "Big 5" nation. What Iraq was not able to develop on its own, it WAS able to buy.
And that last is really one of the main themes of this book. The ability of Iraq to buy, and the willingness of others to sell, everything that Iraq needs -- for a price. This brought to mind Bernard Lewis's accounts in "Islam and the West" in which the West was more than willing to sell modern arms to Islamic states in the distant past. But I digress.
Dr. Hamzah portrays/is portrayed as a man caught up in a combination of greed, ego, and fear. He was finally able to extricate himself and his family (and his accounts of his difficulties dealing with the CIA do not bode well for the future). His description of how easily he was ensnared in this gilded cage, one step at a time, is truly a cautionary tale.
At the same time, his detailed description of how a rogue state can go about obtaining the necessary ingredients for a nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction) weapon is dismaying to say the least. But at least it takes a LOT of money.
The one element that did not ring true (for me)was Dr. Hamza's description of his poker playing.Read more ›
On page 141 he refers to IBM "couldn't sell us their new mainframe because of the export controls."
The truth of the matter is that the Arab Boycott Office had narrated a statement, called the `negative' (or Nasty) clause, to the effect that `carriers and ships carrying goods destined to and/or from the Arab Countries, should NOT pass through or deal with Israeli ports".
The Boycott Clause (stereotyped as is) was to be mentioned on the Bills of Lading and on all related shipping documents.
IBM had to comply with the USA anti Boycott regulations that did not accept such `negative' statements.
But the book is also a deeply personal story of Dr. Hamza's journey out of madness. This is a fascinating tale, rich in detail, about his evolution from the dictator's most important scientist to a whistleblowing defector whose warnings about Saddam's plans are only now gaining the audience they deserve. But no dry academic tome or meditative memoir here -- this is a well-written, fast-paced thriller with a surprising twist or turn around every corner. The account of Hamza's flight to freedom, complete with dueling dissident groups, bumbling secret agents and dangerous border crossings, fairly crackles off the page and by itself is worth the price of admission.
One other point: another reviewer in these pages expressed some skepticism about Dr. Hamza's story. This was more than a little puzzling. Dr. Hamza has been vetted by the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department, all of which have attested to his bona fides. I wonder whether Dr. Hamza, having survived the terrors of Saddam's regime and lived to tell his story, will now face an assault on his credibility from sources whose own motives are open to question.
All in all, a great read that you'll think about -- and talk about -- long after the book is back on the shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Saddam's Bomb maker is one of the most untold story of modern times. Liberals have told us for decades now "Bush lied , people died" There are few discussions of the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by jay pister
Saddam's Bombmaker is an important contribution to our understanding of the challenges faced by groups and states trying to produce their own nuclear weapon. Read morePublished on October 21, 2006 by Thomas W. Spoehr
There you go...a leading Iraqi scientist tells it all. This facinately story of his life and struggles in Iraq and Saddam's mad desire to create a nuclear weapon is compelling. Read morePublished on August 28, 2006 by George E. Sullivan
I read this as a book on tape. This is an "important" book. I recommend it highly. Email:boland7214@aol.Published on July 21, 2006 by John Boland
Most physicists lead hum-drum lives, but not if they were born in Iraq. Hamza studied in American graduate schools, and was summoned back to teach in Iraq as a way of paying off... Read morePublished on October 28, 2005 by Jazz It Up Baby
Few of us who fulfill our youthful ambitions as adults do so at the cost of being jailed, tortured and forced to flee from our homeland. Read morePublished on June 2, 2004
Um, guys? Isn't this the guy who testified with David Kay to Congress about "Saddam's nuclear program?" So, um, now we know there was no program, right? Read morePublished on March 23, 2004 by James J. Omeara
Going thru old articles about Iraq I just (Jul 2014) came across one by the infamous Judith Miller dated Aug.15, 1998. Read morePublished on February 17, 2004 by Jerold D. Kowalsky
Now that we have him, can't wait for the trial. Very hard to put the book down.Published on December 27, 2003