Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar

Overview

The "shocking firsthand account" (Chicago Sun-Times) of one man's years inside the notorious American prison—and his Kafkaesque struggle to clear his name.

When Enemy Combatant was first published in the United States in hardcover in 2006 it garnered sensational reviews, and its author was featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, on National Public Radio, and on ABC News. A second generation British Muslim, Begg had been held by ...
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Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar

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Overview

The "shocking firsthand account" (Chicago Sun-Times) of one man's years inside the notorious American prison—and his Kafkaesque struggle to clear his name.

When Enemy Combatant was first published in the United States in hardcover in 2006 it garnered sensational reviews, and its author was featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, on National Public Radio, and on ABC News. A second generation British Muslim, Begg had been held by the U.S. military for more than three years before being released without charge in January of 2005. His memoir is the first published account by a Guantánamo detainee of life inside the infamous prison.

Writing in the Washington Post Book World, Jane Mayer described Enemy Combatant as "fascinating...Begg provides some ideological counterweight to the one-sided spin coming from the U.S. government. He writes passionately and personally, stripping readers of the comforting lie that somehow the detainees aren't really like us, with emotional attachments, intellectual interests and fully developed humanity."

Recommended by the Financial Times and Tikkun magazine and a ColorLines Editors' Pick of Post-9/11 Books, Enemy Combatant is "a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story...necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
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Editorial Reviews

Jane Mayer
… Begg provides some ideological counterweight to the one-sided spin coming from the U.S. government. He writes passionately and personally, stripping readers of the comforting lie that somehow the detainees aren't really like us, with emotional attachments, intellectual interests and fully developed humanity. Surprisingly perhaps, given his viewpoint, not all of the detainees he describes are innocent. One in particular, an unapologetic, self-described member of al-Qaeda, continues to defend the Sept. 11 attacks as sanctioned by Islam, despite Begg's arguments with him to the contrary.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In a fast-paced, harrowing narrative that's likely to become a flash point for the right and the left, Begg tells of his secret abduction by U.S. forces in Pakistan, his detainment at American air bases for more than a year and at Guant namo for two more years as an enemy combatant. A British Muslim of Pakistani descent, Begg grew up in Birmingham and excelled at school before becoming involved with Islamic political causes and later moving to Afghanistan to become a teacher. After fighting broke out in Kabul, he and his wife and children moved to Islamabad in 2001, where U.S. operatives seized him. In March 2004, Begg was released from Guant namo under pressure from the British government, but over the objections of the Pentagon, which still considers him a potential terrorist. Despite considerable media speculation over what Begg may have left out of this memoir, it's a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story. Whether Begg is describing his Muslim and Asian friends fighting white supremacist skinhead street gangs in Birmingham, or telling how he shared poetry with a U.S. guard at Guant namo, his tone is assured. His work will be necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
CIA operatives forcibly took Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, from his home in Islamabad in 2002 and imprisoned him in Guant namo from 2003 until 2005, when he was released without charges. He reports in detail racist interrogations, death threats, solitary confinement, and torture and maintains that he is innocent of any crime. Written with a former foreign editor of the Guardian, this memoir also covers Begg's childhood in Birmingham, England, including attendance at a Jewish primary school, early gang fights against racist skinheads, and travels with an aid caravan to Bosnia, where he briefly visited a military training camp. Begg's explication of Muslim thought is insightful. Throughout his detention, he conveys a sense of empathy with his guards while condemning both the 9/11 attacks and the nightmarish injustice of Guant namo. Recent media reports of the book's omission of details, such as Begg's 1994 arrest owing to possession of night-vision goggles and a bulletproof vest (charges were dropped), make this title additionally controversial. Recommended for public and academic collections in memoir or international affairs. April Younglove, Linfield Coll. Lib., Portland Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595582065
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/11/2007
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 848,483
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Moazzam Begg was born and raised in Birmingham, England, where he established an Islamic bookstore and aided in relief efforts in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Since his release he has returned to Birmingham and speaks and lectures widely. Victoria Brittain is the former associate foreign editor of The Guardian. She and Gillian Slovo co-assembled the play Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. She lives in London.
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