Tuesday, May 21, 2013

“Hunting the Jackal” by Billy Waugh and Tim Keown – Shadow Wars Illuminated

Though we know about as much as the government is willing to allow us to about the wars that it is leading openly, those of us who have bothered to look into the matter know about the phenomenon of shadow wars; operations executed with complete discretion and under everyone’s radar. 

As you can guess, the United States has been suspected of leading its fair share of shadow wars, and if anything, Hunting the Jackal confirms the suspicions of many. It was written by author Tim Keown and CIA legend Billy Waugh, who himself dedicated a major part of his life to eliminating the country’s worst enemies in complete secrecy.

Carlos the Jackal
Carlos the Jackal
In Hunting the Jackal, Keown and Waugh mostly discuss Waugh’s career, describing many of his harrowing operations with incredible detail. For instance, the seven months he spent behind enemy lines during the Vietnam war truly feel like a flaming inferno and the part about the capture of Carlos the Jackal was nothing short of intense and thrilling. It’s basically the autobiography of a man who has spent most of his life doing super-human things, the kind of man who is one in a million.

To be frank I was pleasantly surprised by what Hunting the Jackal had to offer. Here I was expecting a factual account of military operations and such, but instead I got something much more interesting. It felt as if everything Billy Waugh wanted to discuss was sort of novelized by Tim Keown; you’re not reading about the operations, you are taking part in them yourself.

Also, Waugh doesn’t simply talk about what happened, but he also offers his own insight into the situation, what he could perceive from his unique perspective. Finally I found the book to be a very insightful look into the topic of shadow wars in general, how they are fought and what motivates their participants.

Hunting the Jackal by Billy Waugh and Tim Keown (Book cover)
All things considered, Hunting the Jackal really delivers on all fronts, making for a very entertaining thriller on one hand and an eye-opening commentary on the other. Those of you who, like me, are interested in military operations of the more secretive kind will definitely find something worthwhile in this book. 

Billy Waugh (Author)

Billy Waugh

Billy Waugh is a retired American Special Forces Sergeant Major and ex-CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer who, in total, served more than fifty years between the Army and the CIA. Needless to say, a man with such an extraordinary life has a lot to say, and in 2004 his book Hunting the Jackal was published by William Morrow, detailing for the most part his hunt for Carlos the Jackal, an internationally-wanted terrorist.
Tim Keown (Author)

Tim Keown

Tim Keown is the senior writer for the ESPN Magazine, a columnist for ESPN.com, and is also the author of numerous books, three of which are New York Times Bestsellers. Those include Hunting the Jackal and License to Pawn

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