Debriefing the President

  • by John Nixon
  • Narrated by John Nixon
  • 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In December 2003, after one of the largest, most aggressive manhunts in history, US military forces captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit. Beset by body-double rumors and false alarms during a nine-month search, the Bush administration needed positive identification of the prisoner before it could make the announcement that would rocket around the world.
At the time John Nixon was a senior CIA leadership analyst who had spent years studying the Iraqi dictator. Called upon to make the official ID, Nixon looked for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and asked Hussein a list of questions only he could answer. The man was indeed Saddam Hussein, but, as Nixon learned in the ensuing weeks, both he and America had greatly misunderstood just who Saddam Hussein really was.
Debriefing the President presents an astounding, candid portrait of one of our era's most notorious strongmen. Nixon, the first man to conduct a prolonged interrogation of Hussein after his capture, offers expert insight into the history and mind of America's most enigmatic enemy. After years of parsing Hussein's leadership from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing sessions and subsequently strips away the mythology surrounding an equally brutal and complex man. His account is not an apology but a sobering examination of how preconceived ideas led Washington policymakers - and the Bush White House - astray. Unflinching and unprecedented, Debriefing the President exposes a fundamental misreading of one of the modern world's most central figures and presents a new narrative that boldly counters the received account.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good insights.. please read review

This production reflected... [ The following 16 lines has been redacted by the reviewer ] .. and that's the core value attained.
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- Lutfi R. Dawwas

Not What You Think It Is

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yeah, I guess so - it's under 6 hours ,,,


What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I bought this book to hear the story of Saddam Hussein's interrogation, and those parts I found interesting, Unfortunately, Nixon devotes the last 40% of the book to a description of the intelligence community in Washington and his dislike of many of its members. That would have been better used in a separate book.


What does John Nixon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not much - he's obviously not a professional narrator


Could you see Debriefing the President being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

The parts containing Hussein would be interesting. The rest, not so much


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- Doug

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-27-2016
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio