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Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Soldier's Fifty Years on the Frontlines of the War Against Terrorism
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Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Soldier's Fifty Years on the Frontlines of the War Against Terrorism

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  737 ratings  ·  45 reviews
For more than half a century, Special Forces and CIA legend Billy Waugh dedicated his life to tracking down and eliminating America's most virulent enemies. Operating from the darkest shadows and most desolate corners of the world, he made his mark in many of the most important operations in the annals of U.S. Spec Ops.

He spent seven and a half years behind enemy lines in
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Avon (first published 2004)
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  737 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Will Byrnes
This is a very fast reading tale of a special ops guy who has seen action in many venues. He devotes far too much time to depictions of his Viet Nam adventures, overloaded with the text of walkie-talkie communications. It is more interesting when describing his work tracking both Osama and Carlos in Africa. Those parts make the book worth a look, but it is not one of the better things I have read.
Arya Moaref
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it

Billy Waugh has always been in love with trying to defend the United States. At first he is just in the army but he goes higher in ranks. He is almost killed in a battle, having to almost amputate his leg, yet he returns. He is put in the Vietnam War and has to defend and attack at the same time. Yet after that he signs on with the CIA and has to hunt down Carlos the Jackal. He follows him day and night and finally gives the government enough Intel that he is done and that the government
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was OK. It seems that every book that mentions the all-powerful, one-dimensional Billy Waugh Wa also mentions something that Waugh didn't include in his book, though. Because of that, I expected a little more detail on his ops in Afghanistan. It was cool that was a 71-year old man was still in the thick of the action as a CIA "contractor",whatever that means.In Afghanistan, Waugh wangled his way into ODA 594, where the younger soldiers "worshipped" him. There he relished the new technology ...more
Sep 13, 2009 added it
When I read Emily Pollifax I could suspend disbelief and enjoy it. This book is supposed to be a memoir by Billy Waugh (with ghosting by Tim Keown). The first part about Viet Nam reads like a military novel. How can I reverse disbelief and take it seriously? Only when a Viet Nam vet tells me, "Oh, yes, this is the real stuff."

However, I didn't get the book to read about Viet Nam. I wanted to hear the story of the title, hunting the Jackal. I am on page 168 and we haven't gotten to the Jackel yet
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
A biting satire, showing the perfect soldier, devoid of any conscience or doubt. All he wants to do by his own admission is to kill people and wherever the government sends him he will happily go - whatever the circumstances. It shows the unreal cruelty of the American army in case you thought 3rd world dictators had the monopoly on pointless slaughter of innocent people.

But, as the main character would have it, we all know that America has never done anything wrong and all the history books are
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Billy Waugh is a legend. The book plays out as if it's a Netflix TV series, starting with the Vietnam war and him getting shot up so bad there's no way he could've survived on through to modern day. Billy pulls from different periods of his life where he's been in the background of every major conflict America's been involved in the past 50 years. Each one could easily be a, "So there I was.." type of story. Of course the focus point of the book is how he hunted down the "Jackal" one of the most ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well, interesting but sometimes repetitive stories about his war career. A bit of a bore after awhile, but I powered through. Can't decode if the author is a true hero or a braggart. He certainly has unambiguous feelings about right and wrong. He's right. I listened to audiobook which is read with a raspy old timers no BS style that made it real and enjoyable to listen to. Not a sophisticated treatment of war, just details of his personal exploits. If you enjoy that sort of thing, it's fine.
Jesse Morrison
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The writing isn't exceptionally good, but the stories are. Not the type of book I typically read, but it is eye opening to someone like myself with no military experience. For that reason, I think many people would do well to check it out and get a better appreciation for the gory details of how military and covert operations run.
Paul Petrone
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very much just a rundown of his military exploits and can feel a bit in-the-weeds at times. Politics are interesting only in that they reveal a soldier's mindset who never questioned a single battle he was in and cared solely on winning. Still a compelling quick read, some interesting insights and you can say this about Billy Waugh - glad he's on our side.
Ra Fe
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
An amazing chronicle of adventure, service, and dedication. The author takes the reader through 50 years of service and talks about the adventures he is allowed to discuss. His career is nothing if not absolutely incredible.

The life of Billy Waugh represents a life well lived. Salute!
Jerome V. Murphy
Nonstop action

Impossible to put down. It’s a great description of what can happen to special forces soldiers! Especially interesting are the attitudes of nonamerican military forces!
Ben Windon
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read!

Once I began reading this book I could not stop! The dedication and selfless service this man possesses is truly inspiring!
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exciting, funny, authentic. Billy Waugh's biography is a great read that tells the story of the 50 yeays he spent on the front lines of all the biggest fights.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick read, not necessarily mindblowing.
Chad Wichmann
Beer stories

It would be fun to have a beer with this guy. Like most SF guys you can tell he loved his job.
A.j. Gamble
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very poignant and amazing story of one of ourgreatest warriors and his affinity and tahn t for being in the middle of the harriest, and most important events.
Scott Holstad
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to give this somewhat exciting book more stars, but it leaves out too much information to merit it. For instance, the author joins the military in 1947 and apparently fights in Korea, but the first we see of him is in 1965 Vietnam, after he's joined the Special Forces and is hunting NVA units. There are a couple of exciting, if somewhat unbelievable, tales of his time in Nam, particularly when he thought he might catch Giap (which didn't happen, obviously). He earned eight Purple Hearts ...more
This narrative seems like it can't quite decide whether to be a memoir, history lesson, or press release for the CIA. The first few chapters were so obnoxiously self-masturbatory I nearly gave up on the book entirely, but then Waugh gives a pretty informative overview of the shifting views and nature of the military between the seventies and eighties, the relationship of the US with the Middle East during that period, and the rise of Osama Bin Ladin. After that, he picks up the memoir side of hi ...more
Billy Waugh spent his 71st birthday on a ridgeline in Afghanistan, chasing the retreating Taliban and al-Qa'ida terrorists who had sponsored the September 11th attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. This book is what soldiers call "ground truth," told as only someone who's "been there, done that" can describe.
The author decided to join the Army when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Since that day, he spent every waking moment defending America from any and all enemies. The book take
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Overall, a pretty disappointing book. There is almost no background info for Waugh, but for the most part, his story and experiences appear to be factual. This is about the only thing that makes this book worth reading, even accepting the fact that many of the events are most likely exaggerated, he's still had a career and life that boggles the mind. Special operations stretching over 5 decades and 64 nations. Unfortunately, he and his co-writer delivered a shallow, poorly written book that off ...more
Jack Droast
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was very good, but would not recommend it to everyone. this book has strong language and has a lot of violence. This is a book about a cia agent who is in war and has been for a while. I also think the author did a great job of making you feel like your really there because of the language and description of the events happening.
jeremy bradner
Sep 04, 2008 rated it liked it
i read this during jury duty. an ex special forces guy goes all around the world to hunt down bad guys. i read this because of the jason borne novels. i just like spy stuff and chases and adventures. this book wasn't all what i thought though...he doesn't give away any secrets. the stuff about hunting bin laden in Khartoum was the most interesting.
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not a particularly well written book as it is written mostly in the first person. However, it give a look into what Billy went through during his 50 (yes 50) years in Special Ops. These are the people we, as citizens, want to deny exist, but are responsible for allowing us to sleep at night because they do the things we don't want to think about in the places we don't want to go.
Virginia Ripple
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I couldn't get past the first few chapters. I kept thinking this guy was some kind of sociopath with a death wish because all he could think about was getting back on the front lines to kill more of the enemy. It wasn't what I was hoping for at all.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Much like the other reviews, a book written by a storied and renowned military hero with much interesting information, yet little story building. It was better than a history book but lacked feeling of a non fiction novel
Andrew Ross
May 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Between this book and See No Evil , Baer, I gained a much better understanding of the day to day workings of CIA. It blows the mind how many people there are around the globe whose life revolves around violence whether it be preventing it, encouraging it, instigating it, etc.
Great story.

This is an awesome written story of a great man whose like only comes once in a blue moon. Thanks for your dedication and service.
Casey Ressler
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author is an amazing patriot, who goes to Afghanistan when they are 71? Amazing story of survival
Roger Charles
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
interesting story on getting the Jackal and watching Bin Laden
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