The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid by Will Bardenwerper

The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid

In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, t...

Title:The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1501117831
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages

The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid Reviews

  • Diane S ☔
    Jun 13, 2017

    If ever a book proves that there is not only more to a story than we know, but also that the complexity of human being is unparalleled, this is the book. The Super twelve, the twelve soldiers, from all different backgrounds, who guarded Saddam Hussein up to and through his trial and their experiences doing so are told in a clear and concise manner. We learn some of their backgrounds but much of the book is about their daily interactions with the former ruler of Iraq. Not at all what I nor they e

    If ever a book proves that there is not only more to a story than we know, but also that the complexity of human being is unparalleled, this is the book. The Super twelve, the twelve soldiers, from all different backgrounds, who guarded Saddam Hussein up to and through his trial and their​ experiences doing so are told in a clear and concise manner. We learn some of their backgrounds but much of the book is about their daily interactions with the former ruler of Iraq. Not at all what I nor they expected.

    A monster to some of his people, a hero to others, he held on to Iraq for 3 1/2 decades, through numerous plots to unseat him and various plots of assassination, he had many reasons to be paranoid.

    Considered a monster by most of the world, this man had a different side that was presented to the soldiers. Maybe because at that point he didn't have much to lose. Technically his trial was a farce, and his sentence a foregone conclusion. Maybe he wasn't all he was made out to be, though of course many of his actions were abhorrent​, maybe they had to be for him to keep not only his position but any kind of peace in this waring nation of tribes. Certainly isn't more peaceful without him, more Iraquies are killed now every day than before.

    This book makes one think , so many questions, so few answers. He may have lived as a monster but he died as a man.

    ARC from publisher.

  • Amy
    Feb 14, 2017

    Incredible storytelling and extremely well-researched. This is one of the best books I've read on the topic of Iraq and, specifically, Saddam Hussein after his capture. It challenged my point-of-view tremendously. I had never really considered those charged with guarding Hussein in the days after his capture and leading up to his death or how that job impacted who they were, their day-to-day life, or their overall humanity. There are a lot of things to learn through their story. This book brilli

    Incredible storytelling and extremely well-researched. This is one of the best books I've read on the topic of Iraq and, specifically, Saddam Hussein after his capture. It challenged my point-of-view tremendously. I had never really considered those charged with guarding Hussein in the days after his capture and leading up to his death or how that job impacted who they were, their day-to-day life, or their overall humanity. There are a lot of things to learn through their story. This book brilliantly connects. It is a narrative that has been missing in the many books on the war in Iraq.

    Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book and my thoughts and rating are based on that edition.

  • Mayank Rathore
    Mar 17, 2017

    This book is a true attraction to those who loves to read the history of those who left a mark on our memories by terror. I wanted to read a book written on Saddam and this book fulfilled my desire. Somehow this book got connected with my emotions and I'm sure it will become one of the finest book of the year. The book is written very professionally and maturely. You will never find the story going off track from the original theme. The author succeeded to create the exact vision in my mind of t

    This book is a true attraction to those who loves to read the history of those who left a mark on our memories by terror. I wanted to read a book written on Saddam and this book fulfilled my desire. Somehow this book got connected with my emotions and I'm sure it will become one of the finest book of the year. The book is written very professionally and maturely. You will never find the story going off track from the original theme. The author succeeded to create the exact vision in my mind of the same era in which the novel is written. Seriously, I can't describe you how this book attracted me to read it again. Yes, I read it twice and once you will read it then you will understand that why I did so? Among the story, you will meet several characters to whom you will love for their extreme work and others, you will hate because of their cruelty and inhuman acts. Well, to know more, you should get your hands on this book and give it a read.

  • Taryn
    Jun 01, 2017

    In the summer of 2006, twelve United States soldiers (also known as the "Super Twelve) were tasked with guarding former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as he sat on trial for crimes against humanity.

    In the summer of 2006, twelve United States soldiers (also known as the "Super Twelve) were tasked with guarding former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as he sat on trial for crimes against humanity.

    To them, Saddam was a man who enjoyed smoking cigars, tending to the weeds in the prison yard, writing poetry, and chatting about cars and family. By the time Saddam was executed, some of the soldiers who guarded him had come to enjoy their time with the old man. He gave them a respect that they didn't get from their own superiors and possessed many qualities they admired.

     published little over a decade after Saddam's execution, is an

    I've been stuck in a reading rut for the past couple of months and this is the first book that broke through the “nothing interests me” barrier! It's about 210 pages of content and I read it within 24 hours, so it's a great choice if you're looking for a

    non-fiction book to read. The style is

    Within the pages is

    This book is not an exhaustive account of Saddam's life, but it covers some events from Saddam's traumatic childhood, his violent rise to power, his reign over Iraq, and his downfall after the United States invasion in 2003. The anecdotes show a man of contradictions. He was proud of his progressive policies, but simultaneously capable of committing barbaric acts against his people. During his trial, maintaining his legacy as an iron-fisted ruler seemed to be more important to him than helping his defense save his life. His personality changed dramatically once he wasn't in front of the camera, from aggressive theatrics in front of the judge to a polite demeanor when handed over to the guards.

    We are also introduced to some of the men who were charged with guarding Saddam. We learn about the complex dynamics between these diverse personalities living in cramped quarters while working a high-stress job,

    The experience of guarding Saddam was a turning point for many of them. Many of these soldiers rushed to join the military after the 9/11 attacks, but began to question their role in the conflict and what they gave up to be a part of it. For some of them, returning home after the war brought on different types of hardship. They had missed out on valuable time with family that could never be recovered. 

    (I've experienced similar uncomfortable reactions when I mention this book to people.) Coming to like someone who has hurt so many people may seem odd at first thought, but it's a very human response. For example: visceral public reaction when a beloved celebrity or community member is accused of a heinous crime, or even 

     after spending time with Vladimir Putin. Perhaps there's some element of it being easier to process what we've directly experienced, rather than events we know about secondhand.

    There were many aspects of Saddam's personality and incarceration that surprised me. He adjusted easily from a grandiose life to a jail cell. He had nuanced opinions about U.S. leadership, the U.S. Army, and the future of Iraq. He was allowed much more freedom of movement than I would've expected. Some of the guards were eager of his approval—they did their best to grant his requests and make his incarceration comfortable. Saddam returned the favors in kind, even offering to pay for one soldier's college tuition if he ever got access to his money again. Was his kindness to the U.S. guards manipulation or was there an element of finally being able to relax and "be one of the guys"?

    We

    can never know for certain. 

     I was shocked when a couple of the U.S. soldiers insisted that Saddam would never hurt them, which may speak to how easy it is for men like Saddam draw people into their circle despite all the risks involved. These insights are counterbalanced by tales of how

    As Saddam was led to his death, he told the U.S. soldiers that they were

    None of the soldiers ever doubted Saddam's guilt, but even the men who didn't develop a relationship with Saddam were shaken by the events surrounding his execution. One of the members of the "Super Twelve" noted that

     

     I wish it was longer and more in-depth, but it's a fascinating tale and I'm still talking about it weeks later!

    For another read about the nature of humanity, you might be interested in

    by Han Kang. One of the men featured in the book wrote his own book about his experiences: 

     by Robert Ellis.

    A few interesting articles I read while reading this book:

  • Paul Pessolano
    Apr 10, 2017

    “The Prisoner in His Palace, Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid”.

    Category – History Publication Date – June 06, 2017.

    When reading this book one must remember and keep in mind what kind of a man was Saddam Hussein. One must remember the corruption of his regime, the untold murders committed at this command, and the horrors committed by his sons.

    With that said the reader that will be introduced to a man that resembles nothing of Saddam Hussein.

    After his capture Sa

    “The Prisoner in His Palace, Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid”.

    Category – History Publication Date – June 06, 2017.

    When reading this book one must remember and keep in mind what kind of a man was Saddam Hussein. One must remember the corruption of his regime, the untold murders committed at this command, and the horrors committed by his sons.

    With that said the reader that will be introduced to a man that resembles nothing of Saddam Hussein.

    After his capture Saddam was guarded by twelve United States Soldiers. They will tell you how, when they first met him, that they were appalled by the things that he had done. However, after guarding him until his death, they discovered a different person. Saddam was able to change these soldiers attitude of him from one of hatred to one on compassion.

    The most telling part of the book is what happened to these soldiers once they left the service for civilian life.

    I found this book to be extraordinary in its treatment of a man who committed untold atrocities and faced hanging. I also believe that the author treated a very difficult subject matter with honesty and no prejudice. Although the book shows a different side of Saddam one must never forget who he truly was.

  • Dem
    Jun 11, 2017

    I really had no interest in reading a book about Saddam Hussein until I happened upon

    and I was curious as the book was written from the viewpoint of "The Super 12" and this piqued my interest along with a goodread friend's review.

    In 2006, 12 young Soldiers deployed to Iraq and were tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein. Through a series of first hand accounts from the American guards, interrogators an

    I really had no interest in reading a book about Saddam Hussein until I happened upon

    and I was curious as the book was written from the viewpoint of "The Super 12" and this piqued my interest along with a goodread friend's review.

    In 2006, 12 young Soldiers deployed to Iraq and were tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein. Through a series of first hand accounts from the American guards, interrogators and spies who recalled their conversations and observations with the Dictator before he died we learn how these young men viewed and treated their prisoner and how Saddam viewed and treated them in return which I found extremely interesting. These young men's lives would be changed forever as a consequence.

    The book is not an account of Saddam's life and yet the author has included adequate background information about his life, family and the heinous crimes he and his sons inflicted during his time in power.

    A well researched and a very interesting account of the Prisoner Saddam Hussein and his American guards.

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