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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world is a different place, 25 May 2013
This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
"Traitor?" tells the story of a guard in the US Army, arriving at Guantanamo (GTMO), and allows you to see the camps through his eyes. It is a window to a detached, isolated and secret place. So much so that when you glance off the page, you wonder where you are. It hits you that you're at home -- where you belong. And where most of these people belong too.

I found "Traitor?" flowing and easy to read. It was quick too, short enough to take me just an evening to finish (and I am not a skim-reader!). There were a few army abbreviations, but the glossary was well-placed and easy to flick to in a second when needed (it's a small paperback). At the beginning, there is useful geographical overview of the camp. I did feel as though I needed a bit of help during that, but it was provided later on by a reproduction of a hand-drawn map by one of the detainees themselves.

The first and most enduring feature that strikes you about the writing style is the honesty with which Holdbrooks writes his account. As a fresh soldier in the US Army, you stay personally involved his journey, facing the consequences for a soldier in a post-9/11 America. That is to say, a soldier who questions the narrative when it's visibly inconsistent with reality. You feel what he went through; the pressure, physical and verbal abuse, bullying, and the climate of fear that energised the pressure-cooker environment in Guantanamo. Powerfully, you feel the guilt.

I bought this book in order to read an exposé about the workings of GTMO. It certainly told me a lot about that. I was misapprehended in that I expected more accounts about the torture methods used -- but Holdbrooks was a guard, not an interrogator. And although he does describe the interrogative techniques used during one chapter, his role really meant he spent a lot of time with the detainees.

Therefore, I was grateful that there were entire chapters on individual detainees, including Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Errachidi! As such, you feel his relationship with detainees grow as your own. Instead of finding a window into "what goes on at GTMO", I found a window into who these people are. As in any truly genuine biography, I felt closer to them by the end. I can say now that they occupy a much realer place in my heart. I feel like I KNOW them. And I miss them. And I want them to come home.

Holdbrooks expresses, "I hope that the year I spent in GTMO -- and my brothers' many years of trials there -- may serve some useful purpose toward the important work of enlightening hearts and minds about these issues".

For someone who says he doesn't play softball very much, I think Holdbooks has frankly batted that out of the park.

How?

I haven't spent a day not thinking or talking about Guantanamo since I read this book. The world is a different place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the only book i've read in years, 19 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
i'm not a big reader, i have a bit of a short attention span and rarely get past chapter 1, but when i spotted a link to 'Traitor?' i thought this is a book I will want to read. This is in part an expose of the "armpit of the world" called Guantanamo Bay and also the life changing journey of a US soldier who went in as a proud American and came out a Muslim.

As I write this now there are still 166 detainees who have been held prisoner at GTMO for the past 11 years and still to this day have no charges against them. The current hunger strikes by the detainees and protests to close GTMO around the world are given very little coverage by the mainstream media.

This book is written by a normal guy, a low-ranking soldier in the US army who's engaging personal story not only exposes the disgraceful goings on at Guantanamo Bay but also reaffirms that the war against Islamic nations is unjust. The writer asks and answers "were those in front of or behind the bars guilty of crimes of hatred? Is being a good American compatible with being a Muslim?"

Reading this book will likely enlighten you but the writer, Terry Holdbrooks does not preach and tell you what to think, he writes in a way that gets you involved in his journey and narrates how his own conflicting thoughts and feelings develop in his own mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traitor?, 28 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
An amazing book and very well written.It is an excellent personal account of a soldier's experience working in Guantanamo,you see his struggle of dealing with the behaviour of his fellow soldiers and superiors and their blatant abuse of power while at the same time his sensitivity of the abuse of the prisoners.His descriptions of the prisoners reaction and exemplary behaviour during incidents of gross misconduct are very eloquent, this at times brought tears to my eyes, while other times i felt proud that some of these individuals who were being shown only hate and contempt by those in authority were actually presenting the best of attitudes and utmost patience, a beautiful form of Dawah! This touched the soldiers heart and brought him to Islam, Alhamdulillah.Its written simply but yet detailed that you feel you know quite a lot about the detainees that he is talking about.

We have heard a lot from ex prisoners of the torture and treatment within Gtmo but this lets you see the narrow minds and attitudes of those in authority from a soldier's perspective. So sad that highly intelligent, articulate and eloquent brothers were and still are at the mercy of some who are ignorant and of limited knowledge . May Allah make it easy for them inshaAllah Ameen.

Excellent book, a must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!!!, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
I bought this book quite recently and it looks amazing! i havent had the chance to read it properly, but i was skimming through some of the pages and i know i will be HOOKED!

what i like about this book that is not the typical technical books you will get on politics or just a narrow minded perspective.

this book gives you more of a vivid feeling of both sides of the story and the personal experience actually makes you feel more involved with the book!

i cant wait to read it before my bed time! i am so excited!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short of words, 20 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
It is simply an amazing book and a must read. Once I started reading it I couldn't stop. It was so captivating that I couldn't stop reading until I finished it in one go. Holdbrooks has done an amazing job. Very well written. It is a book to cherish forever. When you are reading this book you feel that you are a part of the world in Guantanamo. I often had tears in my eyes while reading it, partly because I am very sensitive and more so because of the genuine expression by the writer about life in Guantanamo. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brave or stupid?, 13 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
I found this book fascinating. A member of the American army becomes Muslim whilst guarding the Guantanamo Bay detainees. To say this was a brave thing to do is an understatement! I have read many books about the prisoners but this is the first one from the guards point of view. That's not to say all the guards had similar thoughts but it's good to know that at least one of them disliked what was going on. I loved the way that despite him being the 'enemy' the prisoners allowed him to discuss Islam with them. I would be extremely interested to read any follow up books to see how all their lives have progressed since then. A very good read indeed. On a side note the actual book felt lovely to hold/read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 1 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
This is a true story of a one man's journey from the horrors of GTMO he witnessed to finding his inner peace. From arriving in GTMO and witnessing the injustice, the author has questioned the meaning of what is a `good' solider? His struggle of understanding the prisoners, his superiors whose orders he was following, the verbal and physical abuse he suffered by fellow comrades, his willingness to show kindness and humanitarian to prisoners who some have been imprisoned for no valid reason which let to find inner peace and finally Islam. Near the end of the book, the author shows sign of mental and emotional breakdowns which one can question; is war really worth it?
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5.0 out of 5 stars great easy read book. an in sight to life in caged prison., 14 April 2014
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This review is from: Traitor? (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this book, a story told truth straight from the horses mouth. Story is sort of like a dairy of accounts of solider serving in gutanamobay .
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5.0 out of 5 stars worth reading it, 25 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
It's indeed a good read. A true story based on the Gitmo guard point of view. You would'nt want to put your book after you start reading it. This book should get more exposure so that people know about it. Good job Holdbrooks!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring and beautiful!, 3 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Traitor? (Paperback)
I cannot do this book any justice by trying to explain how insightful it has been. Once you start reading it, you wont be able to put it down!! Beautifully written. A rollercoaster of emotions.
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Traitor?
Traitor? by Terry C. Holdbrooks Jr. (Paperback - 15 May 2013)
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