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A Season in Hell
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
This book is Robert Fowler's account of the 130 days he and Louis Guay spent in the Sahara as captives of Al Qaeda. It is a gripping tale of physical and psychological survival in the grimmest and bleakest conditions. It is also a fascinating, yet chilling, account, based on Fowler's conversations with his captors, of what makes the Al Qaeda foot soldier tick. I highly recommend it. You will not be able to put it down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2011
A season in Hell
by Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler has written a unique account of what it is to be a captive of Al Queda. Unique, because Fowler is the highest-level representative of western governments ever to be taken by Al Queda. Also, because his background as a diplomat, senior government official and UN representative was precisely keyed to the menace of islamist terrorism; he knows his subject.

Fowler, together with his colleague Louis Guay, was sent as the official representative of the UN Secretary General to encourage peace talks between the rebel Taureg movement and the government of Niger. He soon realized that this was a 'Mission impossible' - not because the rebels were not ready to deal, but because the government of Niger was exploiting the rebel problem to maintain its hold on power.

The book explains in painful detail their treatment for four months in the Sahara desert, the motivation of his radicalized captors and the perfidious actions - as well as the heroics - of the various actors involved. Fowler `gets' the big picture, and explains it in terms that provide a wake-up call to both the threatened governments of the Sahel region and the western governments that must support them.

Many books have been written by and about kidnap victims; this victim has survived to tell the tale in terms that are alarming and informative, but in the end a credit to the best instincts of survival.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
Bob Fowler's "A Season in Hell" is an account worthy of its dramatic story - and worthy of its author. There is much to learn here - about the Sahara, Al Qaeda and the pathologies of blind believers, about stunning inepitude and brave competence, about the complex morality of ransoms - but above all about courage and the sustaining power of love.
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on February 23, 2013
The CANCER of north African Islamic Extremism that is currently making headlines in 2013 throughout Mali -was experienced 4 plus years ago in the REALEST way possible by Robert Fowler. This is a powerful book that I could not put down and really shows the enormous cultural & philosophical world that these men live inside as "Warriors in Al Qaedas Jihad" You'll see how these utterly devoted Muslim extremists operate in a mix of dark ages, 7th century ideals mixed with the conveniences of modern western life when it suits them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2014
gripping story from beginning to end!
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on December 13, 2013
It is not an easy book to read but we learn so much that it is well worth the time spent to read it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2011
Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, Canadian diplomats working for the UN Secretary-General, were kidnapped and held for four months in the middle of the Sahara. This riveting first-hand account of the behaviour and beliefs of their captors, as well as the torments endured by by Fowler and Guay, should be bedside reading for people interested in international security issues, as well as those interested in a rattling good tale.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There might be one mistake depicted in one photograph, with the people not described properly as on the right or left. A great book that a screenplay for a movie will be written in 2012, is my guess. The terrorists are irrational or crazy, explaining the perfection of a honest Canadian like Robert Fowler. I hope to see the movie in a future year and hear of the Genie nominations about the perfection of Canada and the useless lives of dying terrorists in Mali, Niger and elsewhere in Africa.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
Harrowing account of time spent in captivity and a warning of the shifting plague of terrorism as the fanaticism spreads like a deadly virus through North Africa. Fowler 's description of what motivates and drives the perpetrators is alarming: their zealotry peppered with distortions of the Koran reveals their ignorance. Many conclusions and observations made by Fowler have been prophetic and the infection is certainly virulent. A must read for those governments combatting the infection.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
A good read. Well written . Suspenseful even though you know the end result. The interaction and sometimes lack thereof between captors and captives is very interesting.
The book shows yet another instance of total screw-up and dishonesty by the RCMP.
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