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Highway to Hell: Dispatches from a Mercenary in Iraq
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Highway to Hell: Dispatches from a Mercenary in Iraq

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  94 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Book by Geddes, John
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Broadway (first published May 23rd 2006)
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Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Did you know that in the fourth quarter of 2016, there were nearly three thousand Department of Defense contractor personnel in Iraq? To be more precise, the DOD reports, 2,992 were in Iraq that year in support of nearly 41-hundred U.S. troops. Civilian and military personnel are apparently still deployed in Iraq as part of a U.S. led coalition advise and assist mission in support of the government of Iraq. In 2016, contract personnel represented about 42 percent of the total estimated DOD perso ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There's no way of knowing exactly how many PMCs have been killed in contacts with insurgents, because it's not in the interests of the companies who hire them to advertise a body-bag count, and back home dead men don't attract any political attention if they weren't killed in the uniform of their country.

Have you ever wondered what it's like in Iraq? I mean this question very, very literally. Have you ever heard or seen a news report and started thinking about day to day life over there? This bo
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
+ highly authoritative on life as a mercenary; clearly knows the lay of the land and is not afraid to tell you exquisite details (and opinions) - all within reason of security guidelines.

+ Loads of entertaining and edge-of-the-seat stories that would beat any film; being kidnapped by the Nigerian Secret Service and getting away without a scratch, fighting alongside hotel waiters with AK's with a news crew upstairs ...

+ Surprisingly frank and empathetic about the difficult topics born of Iraq's

Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-library
A quick read after starting to read it in the library whilst looking for something to read to kill 30 minutes of time. Decided I had to take home and finished - was up late last night finishing it.
An exciting but scary and depressing read about life as a Private Military Contractor (PMC) - some call them mercenaries but it's really more of a guide/bodyguard with guns and a strong sense of whats going on.
The author paints a realistic view about the chaos,danger and the monetary rewards that is ha
Jul 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I really struggled with this book. It was hard to reconcile my interest in the story and the events, with my dislike of mercenaries. Given that it is written by a participant not a writer the story is quite good. I thought there was good insight into those locals who assist the mercenaries and the trouble they bring down upon themselves because of what they do. I can see how the mercenaries would piss the military and the locals off in equal measure - but I can also see that they have a job to d ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I generally avoid war books/movies because they tend to be cliché and gratuitously gory. Not so with Highway to Hell. Written by an English private military contractor (a former SAS man; comparable to the Delta Force on this side of the pond), it's full of delightful understatement and Britishisms. He makes a very strong case for how much more effective the mercenary army in Iraq is than the national armies of the US and other allied forces-- with the exception of one company called Blackwater a ...more
Suzie Quint
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
My only complaint about this book is that there's not more of it.

A fascinating look at Iraq from the perspective of a private security contractor in the war zone. X-SAS officer John Geddes provides security for business men, media reporters, and the occasional insane tourist. He tells his story in the relaxed conversational way that veteran's tell their war stories. There's plenty of Bruce Willi blow 'em up movie type action, but there's also unique boot-on-the-ground insights on not just the wa
Kristian Reinertsen
I stumbled across Highway to Hell in the bookshelf and figured, looks interesting, I'd give it a read. The amount of detail and insight into the PMC situation in Iraq struck me as most intriguing - particularly because the author isn't American and I'd never heard anything about the PMC market before.

For anyone interested in recent and/or current military conflicts involving mercenaries, Highway to Hell offers a first-hand account which isn't exactly presented in best-seller prose but interesti
Mark Sequeira
Some really interesting, enlightening observations about private military contractors in Iraq from one. Esp. about Americans and Blackwater and how trigger happy they are and how they don't even try to fit in but ride around pointing their guns at everybody and shooting up intersections as they drive up. The book is, sounds, dated a bit now but still worth the read esp. if you have read Blackwater or any other books in that genre. Easy reading. Interesting bloke.
Once you get over the horrible editing and pacing, you'll be surprised by this book. It lays out plain and simple, why mercenaries are such an integral part of life in everyday Iraq after the war "ended." It's a good look at the thought process of a Private Military Contractor, and if you can get past the coarse language and insults, you'll find a cautionary tale and an interesting take on the future of global military operations.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting look at Private Military Contractor(PMC) in Iraq. Geddes is British, and has nothing good to say about Blackwater, but believes that PMCs will be a fixture for all governments in their military strategy in the future. The book is basically a collection of vignettes from Geddes time in Iraq and Africa.
Raegan Butcher
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Most books written by alpha males like John Geddes are so self-congratulatory as to be almost nauseating but this book was very well balanced and enlightening. Bravo to Mr Geddes, who isn't afraid to voice his opinions in a straightforward manner that is most refreshing. I recommend this book to anyone interested in what life is like for everyone in Iraq today, post "liberation".
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A rather rambling and unfocused book. John clearly knows his stuff and has some interesting stories to tell, but I think an editor was desperately needed to give the book a bit of structure. Also, I don't think the author is quite as impartial to the situations as he makes himself out to be.
Marize De Klerk
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Took a while for me to get into the book but turned out to be a brilliant book!
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