The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid
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In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executionerâs Song, this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictatorâs 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, the men learn, shortly after being deployed to Iraq, that fate has assigned them a different role. It becomes their job to guard the countryâs notorious leader in the months leading to his execution. Living alongside, and caring for, their âhigh value detaineeâ in a former palace dubbed The Rock and regularly transporting him to his raucous trial, many of the men begin questioning some of their most basic assumptionsâabout the judicial process, Saddamâs character, and the morality of modern war. Although the young soldiersâ increasingly intimate conversations with the once-feared dictator never lead them to doubt his responsibility for unspeakable crimes, the men do discover surprising new layers to his psyche that run counter to the mediaâs portrayal of him. Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the âman without a conscience,â gets many of those around him to examine theirs. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Prisoner in His Palace reveals what it is like to discover in oneâs ruthless enemy a man, and then deliver him to the gallows.
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