Guantanamo Diary

Guantanamo Diary

4.07 (2,652 ratings by Goodreads)
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THE SUNDAY TIMES and NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'A kind of dark masterpiece' THE NEW YORK TIMES

'There has never been a book quite like this' NEW STATESMAN

In 2002, Mohamedou Ould Slahi was imprisoned at the detainee camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2016, having never been charged with any crime, he has finally been approved for release.

In those fourteen years in captivity he suffered unspeakable abuse - sexual assault, threats to his family and months of sensory deprivation, his captors torturing him with the personal approval of the US Secretary of Defense - and he produced this remarkable document, the only first-hand account of a Guantanamo Detainee.

His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir - terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious. It is an extraordinary and moving story of human perseverance stretched to its limits, but never broken.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 36mm | 680g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1782112847
  • 9781782112846
  • 335,167

Review quote

A vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka -- JOHN LE CARRE The work is a kind of dark masterpiece, a sometimes unbearable epic of pain, anguish and bitter humour that the Dostoyevsky of The House of the Dead would have recognized and embraced * * New York Times * * A sobering, often chilling, read. Slahi's story deserves to be widely read * * Independent * * Un-nerving yet ultimately magnificent . . . there is something special about Guantanamo Diary that lifts it from human-rights polemic to the realm of literary magic * * Sunday Times * * A harrowing account of [Mohamedou Ould Slahi's] detention, interrogation, and abuse . . . One of the most stubborn, deliberate and cruel Guantanamo interrogations on record * * Slate * * Anyone who reads Guantanamo Diary - and every American with a shred of conscience should do so, now - will be ashamed and appalled. Mohamedou Ould Slahi's demand for simple justice should be our call to action. Because what's at stake in this case is not just the fate of one man who managed, against all odds, to tell his story, but the future of our democracy -- Glenn Greenwald This is a necessary book. It reminds us that the evil we're fighting can be found in ourselves as well as our enemies * * Daily Telegraph * * The fact that you are able to read his account of his time in America's most notorious prison is a testimony to his intelligence, his entrepreneurial spirit and determination * * Independent * * Slahi's book offers a reminder that the struggles we face in these difficult times involve real individuals, not faceless creatures who are to be characterised as members of one or other hated group. That he has resorted to words, the mightiest of weapons, even as his incarceration continues, makes his experience all the more relevant today * * Financial Times * * This Guantanamo detainee's harrowing memoir is a tremendous achievement - and a grave warning against ignoring the rule of law * * Observer New Review * * Compelling * * The Economist * * Slahi is an intelligent and sensitive writer whose sense of irony somehow survived along with his sanity * * London Review of Books * * Extraordinary * * Scotland on Sunday * * Unsentimental, occasionally funny yet always temperate * * RTE Guide * * Guantanamo Diary . . .will leave you shell-shocked * * Vanity Fair * * Slahi's ordeal is at the heart of Guantanamo Diary, but the book is about much more. It is a chilling story of the United States' worst abuses in the post-9/11 era. It is an account of other countries' complicity in these abuses. It is a terrible example of what happens to innocent people when the rule of law is suspended. In the words of Larry Siems, the book's editor, it is "an epic for our times" * * Huffington Post * * Necessary reading for those seeking to understand the dangers that Guantanamo's continued existence poses to Americans in the world . . . a fluent, engaging and at times eloquent writer even in his fourth language of English * * Washington Post * * Gripping . . . extraordinary . . . Mr. Slahi emerges from the pages of his diary, handwritten in 2005, as a curious and generous personality, observant, witty and devout * * New York Times * * Heartbreaking . . . there has never been a book quite like this . . . extraordinary and overwhelming * * New Statesman * * An extraordinary account . . . the global war on terror has found in a Mauritanian captive its true and complete witness * * Guardian * * A necessary book * * Irish Independent * * An essential read * * Irish Times * * An extraordinary document * * Socialist Review * *
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About Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was born in Mauritania in 1970. He earned a scholarship to study engineering in Germany when he was 18, and lived and worked in Germany and briefly in Canada before returning to Mauritania in 2000. He has been detained in Guantanamo Bay since August 2002.

Larry Siems directed the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center, where he led PEN's ongoing efforts to defend writers facing persecution around the world and protect freedom of expression in the US. He left at the end of 2013 to concentrate on editing Slahi's memoir. He is the author of The Torture Report and is a poet and non-fiction writer.
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Rating details

2,652 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 39% (1,046)
4 37% (985)
3 17% (441)
2 5% (121)
1 2% (59)
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