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Blood and Sand [Hardcover]

Frank Gardner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 May 2006
On 6 June 2004, Frank Gardner and cameraman, Simon Cumbers were in a quiet suburb of Riyadh, filming a piece on Al-Qaeda when they were confronted by Islamist gunmen. Simon was killed instantly. Frank was brought down by a shot in the shoulder, then the leg. As he lay in the dusty street, a figure stood over him and proceeded to pump 4 more bullets into him at point blank range..."Blood and Sand" is the story of a man who was left for dead but - and against all odds - survived. And not only did Frank Gardner survive but, drawing on his journalistic calling, he has given us an extraordinary, terrifying account of the whole, literally life-shattering, experience - from what it's like to be shot to the excruciating months of recovery. But his book is more than about this one incident and its aftermath. It is about a journey that began 25 years ago with a chance meeting on a London bus with the veteran Arabian explorer, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who inspired in the young Frank what would become a lifelong passion for the Arab world. This abiding interest would lead him to travel throughout the Middle East, experiencing at first hand peoples, places and cultures that few have encountered - a colourful world of scorpion-infested Bedouin tents, of Cairene hash dens and vibrant Egyptian slums. It's a journey that would eventually lead, via the world of banking, to Frank becoming a journalist with the BBC. And it was this passion that would, in the wake of the world-changing events of 9/11, send him on the journey that came to dominate - and so very nearly end - his life: his coverage of the phenomenon that is Al-Qaeda. Written with honesty, integrity and humour, this is a powerful, haunting account of survival, of over-coming adversity and a determination to carry on - a moving and inspiring personal story that reveals a deep understanding of the Islamic world and an insider's compelling analysis of the on-going 'War on Terror' and what it means in these uncertain times.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; First Edition, First Impression edition (3 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593055780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593055786
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 15.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Gardner is a superb reporter; his terrible experience only make his analysis all the more telling" (EVENING STANDARD)

"Gardner tells his remarkable tale well and bravely, with an astonishing lack of anger and enduring love and respect for the Islamic world" (SUNDAY TIMES)

"Chilling, graphic and admirably unsentimental... Gardner comes across as a modest, thoroughly decent man... an exemplary foreign correspondent" (GUARDIAN)

"A witty, self-deprecating, inspiring testament" (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

"Vivid detail... entertaining anecdotes... Gardner is a tremendous model for what relations between East and West can be... a fine introduction both to journalism and to the culture of the Middle East" (INDEPENDENT) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

BBC security correspondent's bestselling memoir about the attempt on his life, his recovery and his experiences in the Middle East. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, insightful and enjoyable book 20 Jun 2006
Frank Gardner describes what every young man would have liked to do in his twenties and thirties (except getting shot). His spirit of adventure, his travels in the Middle East , his emersion in the culture gave him a better insight into that part of the world than some of the best available academic studies. Living with an Egyptian family in a poor neighborhood of old Cairo, spending many days traveling the desert with a Bedu tribe in Wdai Rumm in Jordan, jetting around the Middle East during the boom years of the eighties and nineties makes fascinating reading. His work as a correspondent which landed him in a situation of becoming a target for extremists assassins who left him almost dead did not seem to have changed his mind about the people and the culture he loved.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant! 4 Jun 2006
Format:Audio CD
I enjoyed this book immensely. It is simply written and keeps the interest of the reader from start to finish. Frank's adventures catch the imagination chapter after chapter.

The main body of the book tells the reader about Frank's career in banking centred on the Middle East and Frank's degree in Arab studies. Reading the book you find Frank is looking for a far more exciting career, one centred on journalism. It is this desire to enter journalism that leads to the final chapters. These chapters reveal the shooting of Frank and his cameraman Simon Cumbers and the amazing recovery of Frank.

The story is compelling and exposes the futile waste of a mans life and the near loss of Frank's life too. Frank makes the point that he has no real belief in a God. Yet he was disappointed when he greeted his killer with the words "and upon you the peace and the mercy of God and his blessings." A strange phrase for a non believer to use!

However, despite all the odds Frank survived thanks to some amazing good luck and maybe some "unknown" intervention. It this survival that makes the reader feel as though they are reliving the ordeal, the shooting and the months of recover. It exposes Franks desire to cling onto life and to be able to continue being part of the life of his children and his wife Amanda, despite his disability.

I think anyone who reads this book will agree that it is a fascinating and moving story. Overall, well worth buying.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book and An Amazing Person! 7 Aug 2007
Like most people I had seen Frank Gardner on the BBC reporting on Middle East issues and had never though to much about it till after he was attacked. This fascinating book shows the growth of Gardner's interest and love for the Arabic world. It tells us of his student days in Egypt, and his travel to Yemen and the Sudan, and guides us through his life as he takes his first steps in finance and ultimately journalism. Where this book really comes into its own though it to highlight the physical and mental trauma Gardner faced as he fought for survival and recovery from potentially fatal gunshot wounds. I found most of this section incredibly moving, but their were also lighthearted sections that made me smile - his daughters with bedpans on their heads is an amazing visual. What struck me most though is the sheer determination that he has shown throughout his recovery and subsequently on his return to work as the BBC's security correspondant. He clearly has amazing inner strength to have coped with something so terrible and to have in some senses came out at the other end. A must read for anyone interested in Middle East politics and for any one he wants to read about a truly inspirational person!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and compelling read 31 Mar 2007
This book was a fascinating and compelling read from the first to the last page. I admire Frank Gardner for being able to share not only his travels with the reader but also his personal and very traumatic ordeal. I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written & Thought Provoking 26 Mar 2007
It is rare that I can read a book of this length in under a week. But I did - one of the best written autobiographies I have had the pleasure of reading. I didn't really want to stop to put this book down. I have to say that at times I really felt for the author, and at times I felt quite passionate about the scenarios he went through. Without a doubt, a recommendation to everyone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every page 11 Jan 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rarely have I found a book so interesting, so compelling and so topical. Franks Gardner's account of his adult life was a real page turner. It gave me a wonderful insight into places I am not quite brave enough to visit and a culture that is often misrepresented in the media. All this is packed in a beautifully written biography. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 22 Aug 2006
By Petrolhead VINE VOICE
Frank Gardner's excellent memoir is a breed apart from those written by many other famous faces from the TV, who all too often seem to decide to "do a book" because they know it will sell. Since I knew only about his shooting, I was a little worried this book might just be a celebrity tear-jerker. But I needn't have worried. Frank has an amazing story to tell, and he tells it amazingly well. Although he has suffered terribly and his colleague was killed, he is brave enough and positive enough to write in a balanced, intelligent and detailed way. But the book's power is not limited to the gripping and graphic passage in which he is gunned down, or for the wincingly painful rehabilitation.

His portrait of the Arab world is a much fuller than the picture we get from a barrage of headlines about war and terrorism. And his description of finding himself paralysed helped this upright reader at least to understand how it must feel to be suddenly wheelchair-bound. For that, and much more in this book, I am grateful to him for having the courage to write.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
An impressive account of Gardner's experiences, giving the reader a wide overview of the complex situation in the Middle East.
Published 1 month ago by Dm Beaton
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and sand
Bought for a present. Sure it will be a good read as this man is remarkable. I will read this after my partner has done so.
Published 3 months ago by Bunnykins
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventurer
It read like a boys own adventure but this posh talking 'boy' spend his life as an adventurer until shot in cold blood. I admire his determination.
Published 5 months ago by P. TURNER
5.0 out of 5 stars What a man
I thought i was going to enjoy this book before I bought it after listening to interviews with Frank while he was promoting it. And i wasn't wrong. Read more
Published 6 months ago by simon holbrook
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life Frank Gardner lived.
. I don't read many autobiography books, but this one I could not put down. From a very young age he set his sights on what he wanted to do, and went out and did it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr D Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account from a brave man
Having lived in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia I was fascinated by this story. I liked the way Frank Gardner wove his own tragedy into the story of the development of terrorism in the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by P. Kesteloot
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Wow,what a book, what a guy,his determination is something else,he's driven by something and he deserves all good that comes to him
Published 8 months ago by annettebarrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding insight of Frank Gardiner's Journalistic endeavours as a...
Superb insight and thoughtfully written by Frank himself being exceptionally "frank" and unemotional at times regarding his personal horrific injuries in pursuit of his... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. H. E. Stanmore
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
Book arrived very quickly and in surprisingly good condition for a secondhand book. Looking forward to reading it as it has been highly recommended!
Published 11 months ago by Alison Dodds
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and Sand
A brilliant book. Having lived in the Middle East in Saudi Arabia until recently i can understand the problems and difficulties. Read more
Published 11 months ago by patsy
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