Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Soldier's Fifty Years on the Frontlines of the War Against Terrorism Mass Market Paperback – May 24 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
This bloody, chest-thumping memoir showcases the Special Forces mindset at its most fanatical. Maimed in a firefight with the North Vietnamese, Waugh limped back to Vietnam, his shrapnel-riddled leg oozing pus, to volunteer for six more years in combat. When that war wound down, Waugh bounced around until he found a new lease on life as an "independent contractor" with the CIA. Happily ensconced in squalid, sweltering Khartoum in the early 1990s, he surveiled all-star terrorist Carlos the Jackal and kept tabs on up-and-comer Osama bin Laden, for whom he drew up assassination plans, only to have them nixed by "sanctimonious" higher-ups. Never one to fade away, Waugh, age 71, wangled his way into a Special Forces unit for the 2001 campaign in Afghanistan, where the younger soldiers "worshipped" him. There he relished the awesome accuracy of American smart bombs, but still pined for the excitement of the up close and personal throat-slitting and machine-gunning of his salad days in Vietnam. Waugh is a Special Forces zealot, reserving his bitterest ire not for Communists and terrorists but for squeamish civilian officials and conventional military brass who disdain special ops. He doggedly eschews introspection, proclaiming himself "a man of action, a man who functions" without "gazing into the distance, pondering the meaning of it all." Co-writer Keown, co-author of the Dennis Rodman memoir Bad as I Wanna Be, keeps the writing taut, pungent and full of coarse, often gross, thrills and lots of special ops and spycraft lore. But Waugh himself emerges as a one-dimensional, blustering character to whom the years seem to have bequeathed more fervor than wisdom. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In this all-action memoir, Waugh, with help from professional writer Keown, recalls a half-dozen episodes from Vietnam, Sudan, and Afghanistan. These were selected from a fund of combat and intelligence experiences in 60 countries that, according to Waugh, he otherwise can't talk about. Although Waugh expresses the warrior ethic that has motivated him, in general, he is not personally revealing beyond exhibiting mission-oriented drive in dispatching the enemy. Waugh describes battles he was involved in, some as a member of the Study and Observation Group, the subject of several recent histories (e.g., Secret Commandos by John Plaster [BKL My 1 04]). After surviving the Vietnam War with medals for valor and shrapnel in his body, Waugh was contracted by the CIA to conduct surveillance on infamous terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal. Waugh recounts tailing them in the early 1990s (ruing that his proposals to kill them weren't accepted) and concludes with his participation--at age 71--with American special forces in Afghanistan. That's a record sure to awe students of special-operations warfare. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
His ultimate mission--leading a team to stop Carlos--reputedly the most vicious of terrorists in the latter part of the twentieth century.
This volume is a thrilling true account of the events which culminated in the capture of the heinous individual known as The Jackal who had for many years eluded all the major intelligence agencies of the world.
It will grab you and hold you, enthralled, excited and, at times, appalled-- to the very end.
I highly recommend it.
You'll be glad you did.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you're familiar with any of the books about MACV/SOG, especially the writings of John Plaster, then SGM Billy Waugh's name is slightly familiar to you. He participated in one of the first combat HALO jumps in Southeast Asia and had many other adventures.
This is a fast read, split between the author's time in Vietnam, his experiences in the Mideast as a contractor for the CIA, his surveillance of Bin Ladin, Carlos the Jackal, and others.
I must have read a different book. This is actually more poignant then most. Waugh describes running away at age twelve to join the USMC (didn't make it), the bonds of some of his comrades who are shot rescuing him while he is injured, his role saving a Cambodian colonel, and his 'final mission' going to Afghanistan at age 71.
If you are a 71 year old man in Afghanistan in 2002 and COL Mulholland, the commander of 5th Special Forces Group, walks up to YOU because he wants his picture taken with YOU, then there is something here. That's the author's life in a nutshell. This is a great work about an adventurous life well lived
This is a great book--five stars.
I first heard of Waugh from a Retired Marine Corps Captain, when I was a 19 year old Force Recon Marine in Kosovo. Now after reading this book I know the full story of just who this man was and what he has done for our country.
My dad used to tell me about the SOG soldiers in Vietnam, and how they were pivital in America's war in Vietnam. The fact that Waugh left SOG and then contiued to work for the CIA hunting down terrorist filth like Carlos "The Jackal" and even fought in Afghanistan at age 72 is truly remarkable.
Probably the thing that will anger readers the most in the fact that Waugh could have assassinated Bin Laden if only his higher ups had found the guts to allow him to do it. I wonder how those people felt on the morning of September 11th, when they realized they had allowed Bin Laden to commit the worst terrorist act in History ON AMERICAN SOIL.
Waugh's book provides some interesting insights into the genesis of America's interest with Usama Bin Laden, and how close we actually were to him in the early years of his rise.
However the best background this book provides (aside from his unbelievable 10 years in Vietnam with SOG) is his pursuit and role in the capture of Carlos the Jackal. A good review of how case work is done.
If you are looking for serious prose, this book is not for you. However, if you are looking for an incredible page-turner written by someone who was intimately involved in many classified operations, buy this book. Highly recommended!
Waugh does a wonderful job of bringing the reader into his world, allowing us to glimpse his experiences in a very personal way. He is a true hero.
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