Impossible Odds

  • by Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm, Anthony Flacco
  • Narrated by Anthony Flacco, Candace Thaxton, George Newbern
  • 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A harrowing and heart-wrenching memoir of humanitarian aid worker Jessica Buchanan's kidnapping by Somali land pirates, her three months in captivity, her rescue by the Navy SEALs, and her husband's extraordinary efforts to help bring her home.
In 2006, 27-year-old Jessica Buchanan arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, with a teaching degree and long-held dreams of helping to educate African children. By 2009, she had met and married the man of her dreams, a native Swede named Erik Landemalm, who worked to coordinate humanitarian aid with local authorities in Africa. With dreams of starting a family, they moved from Nairobi to Somalia, and their future couldn't have seemed brighter....
But on October 25, 2011, Jessica and a male colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by an organized band of Somali land pirates. For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters. She was held outdoors in filthy conditions and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated. Negotiations for ransom dragged on, and as the ordeal stretched into its third month, the captors grew increasingly impatient.
Every terrifying moment Jessica spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors. Finally, on January 25, 2012, President Barack Obama ordered a rescue operation by a team of 24 Navy SEALs. The team killed all nine kidnappers, with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.
In riveting detail, Impossible Odds details Jessica and Erik's mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica's fight to stay alive, and Erik's efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Well Written & Surprisingly Interesting

I found this book very well written. It gave me greater insight into NGO's in third world countries and also dispelled the myth that NGO workers are clueless about the dangers of working in third world countries (but confirmed the notion I have that they do not provide adequate security for their employees). I also liked how it showed the role of the FBI - I never considered their role in these situations. I also liked how we get to understand the angst of Buchanen's husband and family and their role in her rescue.I really enjoyed the book.
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- Philippa

Captivating and informative.

I watched the movie Captain Phillips and finished this book in the same week. It gave me more insight to what life in Somalia is like. There are a lot of Somolians that live near hear. I was in the Marine Corps during the time that Blackhawk Down took place. I had a lot of resentment toward the Somolian people that I see in public, because of the pictures I saw of our men being dragged through the streets by the crowds of crazy people. This book gave me a better picture of what life is like there and why some Somalians do the crimes they do. It has also helped me put the Somalians that have moved into my area in a better light. I enjoyed the book very much. Jessica's part was well written. What was apparent in her life with her captors is the fact that it takes more than just whit and grit to get through an experience like that. I think she was divinely protected from being harmed more than she was. Once again the men of the spec ops community showed great bravery and professionalism. My thanks to them for another job well done. My hat of the people like Jessica and Erik for working toward making life better for all in spite of the many threats that they face.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-14-2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio