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Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious Al Qaeda Terrorist Hardcover – Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312656874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312656874
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,545,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being interested in the excessive amount of international violence and the increasing distancing of our own military from any actual conflict I bought this book partly because of the specific nature of the topic as opposed to previous more generalised treatments of the ssubject. It was easy to read - not jargon-ridden as so many similar books tend to be - informative and good value for money into the bargain!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great Narrative of the Overlooked Heroes, the Interrogators 14 Feb. 2011
By Kangman1 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Kill or Capture" is a wonderful follow up to the author's first book, "How to Break a Terrorist". Both are extremely compelling and shed much needed light onto an otherwise overlooked facet of war...interrogation. I personally feel that the media and entertainment industry, when dealing with the subject of war tend to focus almost solely on the battle, the gun fights, the physicality, but neglect to address one of the military's best weapons...the interrogators. This is a great narrative of real life missions and interrogations conducted by the author, Matthew Alexander, who has the ability to put the reader into the passenger seat of the armored vehicle that is cruising down a dirt road, avoiding IED's and insurgents, to drop the team off to conduct a raid of a possible terrorist's safe house. You get a great sense of the author's compassion for the native people of Iraq, and how he has operated by treating fellow U.S. soldiers and detainees alike, with respect.

I definitely recommend this book to all! You will most likely be exposed to a completely different side of the wars that we are currently fighting and how important interrogators are to the success of our military and country.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Misleading Title ... 22 Aug. 2011
By Dr. Tom's Reviews - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is interesting from the perspective of the military interrogators in Iraq. This is not, however, a book about kill/capture operations in the sense that it discusses those specific types of operations. Rather, it covers the "after" of those stories - the interrogations of those "snatched" by military special ops units (possibly JSOC's teams, though these are not identified in the book). In sum, this is the lengthy story of an interrogator's search for one wanted terrorist, and the many interrogations that led up to it. The author has another book by a different title; however, these are essentially the same story. If you are interested in the inner workings of targeting killing or capture operations and the teams that conduct those ops, this book and the other one probably won't be of much interest. If, however, you are interested in how military interrogators do their jobs in the field, this is a good read. The author is not a door-kicker, as you may assume from the title, but rather an interrogator, and it is limited to this scope.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Good News in the Great Game 9 Feb. 2011
By Piano Student - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Here's a book with good news about our ten year battle against terrorists. And good news about some of our men and women fighting that battle. The author writes a simple first person account of his interrogations in Iraq that lead to the capture of an Al Qaeda leader. The book reads like an entire season of Law and Order only far, far more compelling. But unlike Law and Order, not one shot is fired in the book's 275 pages. Instead you read how the author gets into the heads of his detainees moments after they are captured. Brains, not bullets. Trust, not torture.

The good news is that we can fight jihadists and still be true to American values, and that there are American men and women doing just that, and winning.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Inteligent Inteligence 18 Mar. 2011
By Norman H. Gaffin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Matthew Alexander follows the very effective practice of timely, "on the ground system" of interigation. He
has the understanding of the philosophy, customs & values of the people he is dealing with. He recognises that even the most hardened Taliban has deep love for wife & family. He understands thier sense of Honor & uses all of these through a competent, cooperative interpretor to track the path to his prey. It is strong counterpoint to torture of people, several years after capture. Torture provides deep satisfaction to many (even in "high" places), that has nothing to do with obtaining timely, useful inteligence.
Another Important Book by Matt Alexander--and Thrilling Ride! 28 Feb. 2011
By Douglas A. Pryer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Kill or Capture" begins where "How to Break a Terrorist" left off: largely thanks to Matt Alexander and his team of interrogators, Musab Abu Zarqawi (the most wanted man of coalition forces in Iraq) is dead. The terrorist leader's organization, "al Qaeda in Iraq," has been forced out of Baghdad and Al Anbar governorates and is regrouping in northern Iraq. Alexander requests to leave the main detention facility of General Stanley McChrystal's Special Mission Unit and head north as part of a mobile interrogation team (and larger raid team) in northern Iraq. His request is granted.

What follows is a suspenseful memoir told in a clear, clipped manner that would make Papa Hemmingway proud. Combat veterans will recognize as authentic Alexander's simple, emotive descriptions of combat operations. Yes, like a rollercoaster, the story's ultimate destination is known. (The raid team's main terrorist quarry, the shadowy "Zafar," doesn't stand a chance.) But knowing this destination won't make the ride any less thrilling.

Of the scores of books that have been published about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, Alexander's twin memoirs must rank among the most important. First "How to Break a Terrorist" and now, "Kill or Capture," are unique in that they are not only gripping, page-turning stories, but they are also compelling, insider accounts of what nearly all professional interrogators know but a few tragically forgot during the first couple years of these conflicts: torture doesn't work, or at least, it doesn't work nearly as well as rapport-based interrogation approaches that are based on cultural awareness and cunning rather than cruelty.

Via his own combat-effective example, Alexander convincingly demonstrates that "soft" approaches gather far more intelligence far more efficiently than harsh ones. Plus, unlike brutal approaches that make inveterate enemies of interrogation subjects (and of subjects' friends and family members), humane approaches actually take more insurgents off the battlefield than they create. Most critically, the use of such approaches allows us Americans to remain true to who we are--to hold onto our national soul in the face of that false, ignorant, deluded, and dangerous claim that, to accomplish the mission and "to save lives," Americans must perform dirty deeds.

Alexander is unusually well-suited to convey these truths via memoir. As an Air Force major, Alexander was probably the highest-ranking trained interrogator in Iraq at the time (since the Army does not train its officers to conduct interrogations). Broadening his perspective still further, as an investigator with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, he had gained valuable experience working with civilian law enforcement agencies. This interagency experience meant that he took with him to Iraq a larger repertoire of lawful techniques than those understood by most military interrogators, a repertoire which in turn enabled him to better demonstrate to his interrogators (and demonstrate today, to his readers) the power of these techniques.

Who should read this book? Like Alexander's earlier book, "Kill or Capture" is a must-read for military interrogators. It should also be on the required reading list of any military unit or school with a good commander who cares about keeping troops on the moral high ground. Furthermore, any American who is interested in the torture debate and wants a better understanding of far more effective alternatives to torture should read it. Lastly, anyone who loves fast-paced, suspenseful, historically vital combat stories should read it.

After all, just like Alexander's first book, this book is simply a damn good read.

--Douglas A. Pryer, Author, The Fight for the High Ground: The U.S. Army and Interrogation During Operation Iraqi Freedom, May 2003 - April 2004
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