Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies

Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This bloody, chest-thumping memoir showcases the Special Forces mindset at its most fanatical. Maimed in a firefight with the North Vietnamese, Waugh limped back to Vietnam, his shrapnel-riddled leg oozing pus, to volunteer for six more years in combat. When that war wound down, Waugh bounced around until he found a new lease on life as an "independent contractor" with the CIA. Happily ensconced in squalid, sweltering Khartoum in the early 1990s, he surveiled all-star terrorist Carlos the Jackal and kept tabs on up-and-comer Osama bin Laden, for whom he drew up assassination plans, only to have them nixed by "sanctimonious" higher-ups. Never one to fade away, Waugh, age 71, wangled his way into a Special Forces unit for the 2001 campaign in Afghanistan, where the younger soldiers "worshipped" him. There he relished the awesome accuracy of American smart bombs, but still pined for the excitement of the up close and personal throat-slitting and machine-gunning of his salad days in Vietnam. Waugh is a Special Forces zealot, reserving his bitterest ire not for Communists and terrorists but for squeamish civilian officials and conventional military brass who disdain special ops. He doggedly eschews introspection, proclaiming himself "a man of action, a man who functions" without "gazing into the distance, pondering the meaning of it all." Co-writer Keown, co-author of the Dennis Rodman memoir Bad as I Wanna Be, keeps the writing taut, pungent and full of coarse, often gross, thrills and lots of special ops and spycraft lore. But Waugh himself emerges as a one-dimensional, blustering character to whom the years seem to have bequeathed more fervor than wisdom. Photos not seen by PW.
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From Booklist

In this all-action memoir, Waugh, with help from professional writer Keown, recalls a half-dozen episodes from Vietnam, Sudan, and Afghanistan. These were selected from a fund of combat and intelligence experiences in 60 countries that, according to Waugh, he otherwise can't talk about. Although Waugh expresses the warrior ethic that has motivated him, in general, he is not personally revealing beyond exhibiting mission-oriented drive in dispatching the enemy. Waugh describes battles he was involved in, some as a member of the Study and Observation Group, the subject of several recent histories (e.g., Secret Commandos by John Plaster [BKL My 1 04]). After surviving the Vietnam War with medals for valor and shrapnel in his body, Waugh was contracted by the CIA to conduct surveillance on infamous terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal. Waugh recounts tailing them in the early 1990s (ruing that his proposals to kill them weren't accepted) and concludes with his participation--at age 71--with American special forces in Afghanistan. That's a record sure to awe students of special-operations warfare. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Back Cover

Billy Waugh is a Special Forces and CIA legend, and in Hunting the Jackal he allows unprecedented access to the shadowy but vital world he has inhabited for more than fifty years.

From deep inside the suffocating jungles of Southeast Asia to the fetid streets of Khartoum to the freezing high desert of Afghanistan, Waugh chronicles U.S. Special Operations through the extraordinary experiences of his singular life. He has worked in more than sixty countries, hiding in the darkest shadows and most desolate corners to fight those who plot America's demise.Waugh made his mark in places few want to consider and fewer still would choose to inhabit. In remarkable detail he recounts his participation in some of the most important events in American Special Operations history, including his own pivotal role in the previously untold story of the CIA's involvement in the capture of the infamous Carlos the Jackal.

Waugh's work in helping the CIA bring down Carlos the Jackal provides a riveting and suspenseful account of the loneliness and adrenaline common to real-life espionage. He provides a point-by-point breakdown of the indefatigable work necessary to detain the world's first celebrity terrorist.

No synopsis can adequately describe Waugh's experiences. He spent seven and a half years in Vietnam, many of them behind enemy lines as part of SOG, a top secret group of elite commandos. He was tailed by Usama bin Laden's unfriendly bodyguards while jogging through the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, at 3 A.M. And, at the age of seventy-two, he marched through the frozen high plains of Afghanistan as one of a select number of CIA operatives who hit the ground as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Waugh came face-to-face with bin Laden in Khartoum in 1991 and again in 1992 as one of the first CIA operatives assigned to watch the al Qaeda leader. Waugh describes his daily surveillance routine with clear-eyed precision. Without fanfare, fear, or chance of detection, he could have killed the 9/11 mastermind on the dirty streets of Khartoum had he been given the authority to do so.

No man is more qualified to chronicle America's fight against its enemies -- from communism to terrorism -- over the past half-century. In Hunting the Jackal, Billy Waugh has emerged from the shadows and folds of history to write a memoir of an extraordinary life for extraordinary times.

About the Author

Billy Waugh is still involved in Special Operations around the world. He lives in Florida.

New York Times bestselling author Tim Keown most recently cowrote Rick Harrison's License to Pawn, and was the cowriter of bestsellers Bad as I Wanna Be by Dennis Rodman and Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton.

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