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Escape from Baghdad: First Time Was For the Money, This Time It's Personal [Hardcover]

James Ashcroft
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

29 Oct 2009

In Making a Killing - James Ashcroft's first book - his escape from death at the hands of insurgents in Iraq was thanks to the bravery of his interpreter and friend, Sammy, a Sunni ex-Iraqi air force pilot. Now, a call for help means Ash must take a break from chasing pirates in West Africa and return to the chaos of war-torn Baghdad. Abandoned by the occupying Coalition Forces and at the mercy of the Shia-dominated Iraqi police, Sammy and his family face certain death unless Ash and his crack team can get in and quickly rescue them.

Escape from Baghdad is a gripping account of real life and death on the ground in Iraq. From secretly acquiring weapons on the black market, to dodging the fearsome death squads that roam the streets and the suicide bombers that wreak havoc on a daily basis, this is the story of a vulnerable family adrift in the chaos of war, where the only thing that can be relied upon is the bond between former brothers-in-arms.

And this time, these guns-for-hire who come with a hefty price-tag aren't even being paid. This time, it's personal.

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Escape from Baghdad: First Time Was For the Money, This Time It's Personal + My Friend the Mercenary
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (29 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905264887
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905264889
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A genuinely terrifying insight into how execution squads now stalk Baghdad targeting people who helped the coalition forces ... An encounter with a suicide bomber is truly harrowing but Ashcroft somehow manages to blend stark realism with gallows humour ... Edge of the seat stuff." (News of the World)

"Readers who like big guns and adrenaline-buzzed adventure will love the second outing for Ashcroft and co-writer Clifford Thurlow ... Nuggets of political insight are woven through this page-turning adventure that is head and shoulders above the other military memoirs hitting the shelves" (London Lite)

Book Description

The true and gripping story of James Ashcroft's audacious return to war-torn Iraq to save his friend

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit of honour in a cynical world 2 Dec 2009
Whilst much has been made of the modern day 'Dogs of War', what James Ashcroft highlights in his typically understated way is he and the people like him are busy doing work that is unpopular to those who took us into Iraq in the first place. Daily Mail readers everywhere have been cross to the point of learning to write when they discovered that people like Ash are earning money in a war zone, but without people like Ash, Iraq would have disappeared down the toilet a long time ago. The image of the Private Security Contractor has been tarnished by Blackwater, but they are really vital. The rumours of mega bucks abound, but there are many doing incredibly dangerous work for not that much with nothing like the back-up of a conventional soldier - you literally live or die according to your ability and the ability of those around you.

In this book, Ash returns to assist an Iraqi who had helped him at great personal risk during his previous time in Baghdad. There is no money changing hands, Ash is doing it out of loyalty, something all too often forgotten. What comes across is that Baghdad is a crazy place to be: the hope that emerged after the end of the war in 2003 has been replaced by the terror and domination of rival factions whilst others like Ash try to make sense of the maelstrom of conflicting elements. Instead of getting enraged at the sums of money earned by Private Security Contractors, people might direct their rage at those who are fuelling the insurgency and getting rich from the profits of it all. Besides, this book isn't about money or politics, it's about helping your fellow man.

What stands out is the inner conflict of the warrior - Ash is ready to fight for what he believes in whilst coveting the precious life he has with his beloved family.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Headlines 2 Dec 2009
Once again Captain James Ashcroft keeps us hanging on every word of his heart stoppping ordeal when he goes back to Baghdad to rescue his former interpreter, Sammy, and his large family from the Shia hit list. Thanks to Captain Ashcroft's eloquence, he is able to take us behind the headlines into the lives of real people, facing real life and death situations. War is not an abstract concept. Lives are blown apart. There is pain. There is suffering. And sometimes there is heroism and salvation. Read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A white knuckler 12 Nov 2009
It's great to see a factual book that's more exciting than the novels about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And truly stirring to see the risks a soldier took to go back into Iraq and rescue a comrade, making up for British and American government failures to stand by locals - locals we'd relied on for information, for translation and often for our men's lives. The age of chivalry is not dead. Knights now wear Kevlar armour and slay dragons armed with RPGs. A terrific and uplifitng read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This follow up is as good as the first book... 18 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of 'Making a Killing' - Major James Ashcroft's first book - and I'm glad to say that his follow up is just as good as the first instalment of his time spent as a private security contractor in Iraq.

If you enjoyed the first book, there is no way you can pass this book up. In it, the old Spartan crew he lead first time around, are brought back together for one final mission - to rescue Sammy, the loyal Iraqi translator whom I'm sure fans of his first book will remember. If you've read 'Shantaram' Shantaram but not 'Making a Killing' Making A Killing: The Explosive Story of a Hired Gun in Iraq , just think of Prabaker... but Sammy isn't fiction. This story is real and so are the people in it.

And that's why Mad Dog, Cobus, Les, Dai and the rest of the Spartan security firm return to risk life and limb for zero pay just to ferry their old friends and his family out of Baghdad to safety. However, what at first seems to a simple mission soon unravels, and the situation quickly spirals out of control, as if often the case in Iraq.

'Making a Killing' ended with Ashcroft shot, bleeding, and being chased out of Iraq (aided, if you remember, by Sammy). Unfortunately, as we know only too well, in the absence of any descent withdrawal strategy a power vacuum was formed and the situation on the ground quickly deteriorated into a power struggle between the Shia and Sunni.

In this struggle, and because he helped the allies, Sammy found himself with a price on his head - placed there by another character we recognise from the first book - general Ibrahim.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can feel the heat on your neck 11 Nov 2009
The first outing for true life action man James Ashcroft, as conjured by Clifford Thurlow, had all the pace of a Hollywood war film in the "Platoon" mode of cynical realism. Here, the second instalment of the Iraq adventures of Ashcroft hits the ground running and puts the reader at the very centre of operations. "Blackhawk Down" demonstrated that top writing combined with hands on experience of modern warfare could keep the reader "embedded" with the front line team and breathless - and this book, Escape from Baghdad, is easily equal to that blockbusting best seller. Someone should definitely get this text into the hands of Oliver Stone. THIS is the book to take on that long flight and one can only hope the audio-book option is in production somewhere - step forward Charles Dance!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded, rambling, 007-ish. I gave up before ...
Long-winded, rambling,007-ish.I gave up before he even set off !
Published 21 days ago by James Harrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - Thrilling story
This book is brilliant. Just brilliant! Don't get me wrong, it is quite 'pulp', but man is it easy to get through! Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bobbojob
5.0 out of 5 stars "a great read"
this his second book reads like part two, (making a killing) witch was q great book. any one interested in this kind of action will love it, a real page turner.......
Published 14 months ago by S. porter
5.0 out of 5 stars unbelieveably good!
I read the "Making a Killing" and was amazed how good it was. Now I got this one and I don't know what to say. It is even better. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Rafal Gruszczynski
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but
James Ashcrofts first book was a trilling read So is this, but i can't stop shaking the feeling that the story is, at least in parts, made up. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Peter Friis Andersen
5.0 out of 5 stars James Ashcroft
I read one other book of James Ashcroft and enjoyed it greatly.

This was a real credible story emanating from a terrible war and so descriptive I was there with them. Read more
Published 21 months ago by J Chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape From Baghdad book review
Well written and held the attention of the reader throughout. It was an excellent follow up to the first James Ashcroft book.
Published on 27 Aug 2012 by Paul Wing
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic.
I've read many books with similar themes about private security contractors, hired guns, military personnel etc and this one really manages to tell a fantastically gripping story... Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2011 by Twain Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Comassionate, Moving & Inspirational
"Escape From Baghdad" is a journey into the unknown terrors of war with an insider's view provoking compassion, terror, sadness as well as a real desire to see everyone safe at the... Read more
Published on 22 July 2011 by Marsha Chase
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much book, not enough story
On its own the book would be worth more than 3 stars. But I read it shortly after "Making a Killing", and "Escape from Bagdad" is easily two stars below that one. Read more
Published on 29 April 2011 by Klara Decker
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