Enemy Combatant

My Imprisonment at Guantánamo, Bagram, and Kandahar

The “shocking firsthand account” (Chicago Sun-Times) of one man’s years inside the notorious American prison—and his Kafkaesque struggle to clear his name

“The first authentic firsthand portrait of a detainee’s life at Guantánamo . . . essential reading. [Moazzam Begg] describes his incarceration with restraint, precision, and sometimes withering humor.” —Jonathan Raban, The New York Review of Books

When Enemy Combatant was first published in the United States in hardcover in 2006 it garnered sensational reviews, and its author was featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, on National Public Radio, and on ABC News. A second generation British Muslim, Begg had been held by the U.S. military for more than three years before being released without charge in January of 2005. His memoir is the first published account by a Guantánamo detainee of life inside the infamous prison.

Writing in the Washington Post Book World, Jane Mayer described Enemy Combatant as “fascinating . . . Begg provides some ideological counterweight to the one-sided spin coming from the U.S. government. He writes passionately and personally, stripping readers of the comforting lie that somehow the detainees aren’t really like us, with emotional attachments, intellectual interests and fully developed humanity.”

Recommended by the Financial Times and Tikkun magazine and a ColorLines Editors’ Pick of Post–9/11 Books, Enemy Combatant is “a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story . . . necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).


“A remarkable book.”
—David Ignatius, The Washington Post
“Harrowing . . . rife with revealing and unexpected details.”
Chicago Reader
“[Begg] writes with the same authenticity [as Primo Levi] and conveys horror without hyperbole.”
The Independent
“A shocking story that might open the eyes of those who still believe “Gitmo” is the best available option.”
The Sunday Times (London)
“An exhausting and frightening tale.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Goodreads Reviews