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Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  996 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
On February 13, 2003, a plane carrying three American military contractors - Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell - crashed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they awoke battered and covered in blood with automatic rifles pointing at their faces. As of that moment they belonged to the terrorist organization known as the FARC, the military arm ...more
Kindle Edition, 500 pages
Published (first published 2009)
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I could feel their pain...and boredom...I decided not to be held captive. (March 2009)

(November 2010) I returned to this book after reading Ingrid Betancourt's Even Silence has an End. Betancourt's narrative allowed me to understand what exactly conditions were like in the Colombian Amazon as a prisoner of the FARC rebels. Her beautifully written memoir provided the necessary interface with which an ordinary citizen might be able to enter the terror, pain, boredom, and physical punishment that i
Mar 19, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating; of course, I had a special interest in reading it as my husband used to work with these guys in Colombia. I can relate to everything in the book... all the political ideas, the fear of doing a job like that, etc. I recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning about the drug cartel and the risks these government contractors take in trying to keep illegal drugs out of America.
May 19, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not having known this story before I read this book. Three Americans were held hostage for more than 5 years in the jungles of Colombia, were just rescued in 2008 and I didn't know anything about this? I need to be more aware of things going on in this world.

This book was written in a three person narrative style that worked very well. By having each of the three men tell the events from their perspective made for a more thought provoking read. I
Dec 28, 2010 Veronica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Some heavy hints resulted in my getting this book for Christmas – along with Clara Rojas’ book. It certainly hasn’t dethroned Ingrid Betancourt’s book, which remains one of the best I’ve read this year, but it was interesting getting these totally different perspectives on some of the same events.

I didn’t feel the three men delivered any real insights into their states of mind during this unimaginably long captivity the way that Betancourt did. The narrative plays up the stereotype of American r
Apr 07, 2011 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-challenge
Haunting. These guys were hostages in Colombia while we lived there in Bogota. There are times during the book when I could correlate what I was doing and where I was that time. We lived within 2 miles of the car bombing at the military academy. I clearly remember that day, the communication from the Embassy to stay in our apartment behind the armored door...and to not leave until they communicated to us a level of safety.

That said...

Amazing true story. I am glad to begin with this bio
Pour beaucoup de Français, Ingrid Bétancourt était une sainte. Une Jeanne d’Arc moderne aimé par nous tous. Apres sa libération en 2008, des histoires moins positives commencent cependant á surgir : Sa réaction très peu généreuse vis-à-vis de son ex-mari, sa demande de 6 millions de dollars de l’état colombien (voracité ! criait les médias colombiens) pour avoir négligé sa sécurité pendant sa campagne électorale.

Peut-être Out of Captivity, qui raconte l’histoire des co-otages américains Keith,
Dorinda Abner
Jun 30, 2009 Dorinda Abner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating book. The authors did such a wonderful job of describing their ordeal, you couldn't help but feel their pain. I know they had a co-writer, but it is amazing to me how 3 men, who are not authors, could put such so much of themselves into their words. Thankfully they were allowed to have paper and pencil so they could chronicle their days in captivity. I had no idea that these prisoners even existed until hearing of their safe return. These men survived together, and thankf ...more
Stephanie Vincent
Dec 07, 2010 Stephanie Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's see... after seeing lots of interviews and documentaries about Ingrid and these 3 americans being kidnapped I decided to read both books, as most reviews said that both books were opposite to each other. To my surprise I realized that this book is pretty similar to Ingrid Betancourt's when it comes to the boredom, the way they were treated, what they were fed, etc, but I thought most of the stories of confrontation with Ingrid were gonna be completely different... and they are not. Both bo ...more
Andy Miller
Jun 29, 2009 Andy Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading at the time about the French woman's captivity and then escape from FARC and then again when this book was first published with a different perspective on her relations with the captors and fellow hostages. That's why I bought it. But this book was much more than that. It was written by the three American hostages who I think showed great courage and preseverance during their long ordeal. It was a great book, read like a novel and avoided simplistic depictions of their captors ...more
Oct 25, 2010 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Without stating it directly, they made it clear that Marc, Keith, and I would not be separated from one another for long periods of time."p.432
"You can't pick your family members, you're born with them. The same goes for your fellow hostages. We are family now. And together we did it; we survived. I love you, my brothers." p.457

Excellent, excellent book! these three guys told their story in such a warm and caring way! my favorite part was the incredible bond and the respect they shared with eac
Jan 16, 2015 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Out of captivity surviving 1,967 days in the Colombian jungle,by Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, Keith Stansell, and Gary Brozek, the authors discuss about their experience in being prisoners of a Colombian terrorist organization called the FARC. The authors’ message that were mainly conveyed throughout the story is that with enough faith you can accomplish anything. An important quote from the book is “Sitting there with Patricia and my two boys made me feel like I’d been given another c ...more
Jun 12, 2014 thewanderingjew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I chose this book, I did not know that Pvt. Bow Bergdahl would be traded for five terrorists and brought back home to the United States. However, because of that release, after approximately five years, the book is far more pertinent than I thought it would be, and it enlightened me regarding the conditions under which a captive is forced to live and the supreme effort that must be made in order to survive, both mentally and physically.
Although Private Bergdahl has been accused by his fello
Jan 16, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the news every day but somehow I missed this new headline: "Three US Contractor Workers are released after over Five Years held Hostage in the Colombian Jungle”. This story is told by the three Lockheed Martin US contractor workers who are taken prisoners by a guerrilla group after their single engine plane crashes in the Colombian jungle in February 2003. The guerrilla group is known as FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo) and have been in an revolutiona ...more
Josh Stephens
Cool story about 3 guys held hostage in the Columbian jungle. Only problem is the book is 450 pages when it only needed to be 150. Just too much nonsense in the book.
Aug 01, 2014 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Just finished this, stayed up all night to do so. It was quite engrossing, once I got into it. These 3 men, who were doing surveillance for a private company over Columbia in a plane, to make good money for their young families, end up crashing due to engine failure. They are captured by the FARC, and held captive for what ends up being 5 whole years out of their lives! The story kept me "captivated", I had to say! I couldn't stop reading it, with all the things that they endured. I just had to ...more
Paul Pessolano
This is the true story of 3 men in the Columbian jungle. The 3 were working for a company hired by the United States Government to fly over the Columbian jungle and try to locate poppy fields or sites that were processing the seed into drugs.

On February 13, 2003 on a routine flight their plane had engine problems and they had to crash land in the jungle.

On July 02, 2008 they were rescued, and regained their freedom after 5 years of captivity.

It is almost inconceivable that they could have surviv
There’s a war going on, and it is being fought everyday. It’s a war that knows no borders, no gender, no age, no class, and no race. It is the drug war, being fought not just on the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago or other major U.S. cities, not just on the streets of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, or other Mexican border and coastal towns, but deep in the heart of the Colombian jungle.
Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 days in the Colombian Jungle is the story of three brave American men, who were doi
Tess Julia
Dec 12, 2012 Tess Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt their pain. I lived for three years in Ecuador as a volunteer, including one in the rainforest, and living next to the country of Colombia is enough to arouse fear whenever the word kidnapping comes up. My husband, who I met and married while in Ecuador, comes from a Colombian family, and I was already familiar with a lot of the history before reading this book.
Prior to reading this book, I highly recommend reading Hostage Nation, as it gives a much broader political account and history
Oct 02, 2011 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
An interesting and informative book about and by three men held in the Columbian Jungle for over five years by the terrorist organinazation FARC. I had never even heard of FARC, but they are holding hundred of hostages in the jungles of Columbia, fighting a war against the government that has lasted over forty years.

The three men were subcontractors, working for the US government, trying to destroy the cocaine that FARC produces and exports to finance their operations. The plane had engine failu
Lou Yonke
May 18, 2010 Lou Yonke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I kept up on current events, but somehow I missed the news during the more than FIVE YEARS these three men were held hostage in Colombia. The writing is not great, but that's a bit much to ask for from men who were locked up in the South American jungle for nearly 1,967 days and nights (and who were obviously not trained to be novelists). The story is told in the first person equally by each of the three authors.

What is most amazing to me is that this took place between 2003 and 2008.
Mar 08, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiographies
Although I disagree with the reason Marc, Keith, and Tom were in Colombia in the first place ("War on drugs"), I focused on the human condition aspect of their 5-1/2 years in captivity and found it to be an intriguing read. The premise of the book is how these three Americans survived for so long under the FARC. I admired the trio's system of communication and spirit building methods under adverse conditions. Their account of the mundane time in the jungle and trying to understand how the FARC ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great look into the war on drug in such a tumultious, gorilla warfare ridden place. This is a the true tale of a flight crew that crash lands in the Colombian Jungle while trying to return to base camp, only to be taken hostage by the FARC the years lived, moving from location to location under the jungle canopy and how the government faked out the FARC and was able to secure the release of several of those people and a women who was of French/Colombian origin who had planned to run for a ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I read about the hostages taken by the FARC. These men were Americans that were captured after surviving a plane crash in the Columbian jungle. It was an engrossing read and I would often find myself doing mundane daily things and thinking about them. It made me appreicate my freedom more and the freedome we take for granted here in the US. I did think they could have been more bluntly honest in their book (if was written by all 3 men) just as Ingrid Bettancourt could hav ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have ever dreamed of taking that once in a life time trip to the rain forests of Colombia, read this book and see if you still want to. There are plenty of other places I would rather be than in the hands of the FARC. Granted not everyone who travels to Colombia is abducted by terrorists, but many people who have lived there or visited have been affected negatively by this group. The authors of this book did an excellent job bringing the plight of hostages and even some FARC members into ...more
Maria Guzman
Aug 11, 2012 Maria Guzman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot about human nature, the FARC, politics and international conflict resolution. The plot was interestig but felt disconnected at times. The first half of the book failed to drag me in, so it took me a while to go through it; by the second half I had enough info to stay involved and the writer got a little more more dramatic. There are obvious problems with cultural interpretations. At one point they mention that saying that something would happen in 8 days instead of a week (which ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is one I would suggest that everyone read. I really started out thinking that there is no way this subject could hold my interest for 450+ pages; however, I was wrong. You can't imagine what these three men went through. It gives you a real understanding of the affect of the drug trade on not only our population but on the people of Columbia. Basically the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC or The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, recruit the poorest of their coun ...more
Jacob Benigno
Sep 12, 2014 Jacob Benigno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over all this was an amazing book. I could just visualize all of the terrible conditions that they were living in and not being able to fight back from those terrorist. It almost felt like I was there with them because that's how awesome the book was. I recommend this book to anyone that is in the mood for a book. this is the best book by far that I have ever read.
Oct 09, 2014 Chrcgr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok...a bit repetitive, which is to be expected in a sense. I can appreciate how bitter these folks must be, but difficult to take much of the political observations without a heavy dose of salt. Nonetheless an interesting story and the insights into the prisoner and FARC dynamic interesting. I liked the narrative broken up from the perspective of the three. A long 400+ pages...
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, survival
This harrowing account from 3 Americans--Marc, Tom, and Keith--who were held hostage by FARC in Columbia will leave you thankful for your mundane life. The three were part of a team that was doing survellience work, the book starts with their plane crashing in the jungle where they immediately find themselves under machine gun fire by the FARC. The 3 are seperated from the others (who didn't make it out) and so starts their journey of forced marches, hellish camps, and abuse by their captors--an ...more
May 20, 2015 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a haunting ordeal recounted. Out of Captivity is a seamless retelling of what living through years of hell at the hands of FARC rebels was like. Their collective will to go on after so much time in such nightmarish conditions is truly remarkable. This extraordinary accounting of half a decade in captivity is vividly told and quite unforgettable.
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