A Season in Hell by Robert R. Fowler

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In many respects, A Season in Hell provides a template for AQIM’s defeat, and it will no doubt be used as such. But embedded in the book is a tragic acknowledgment of the fact that we have blundered through the first decade of this war, blind to any real understanding of our enemy...
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Synopsis

For decades, Robert R. Fowler was a dominant force in Canadian foreign affairs. In one heart-stopping minute, all of that changed. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, acting as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Niger, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, becoming the highest ranked UN official ever held captive. Along with his colleague Louis Guay, Fowler lived, slept and ate with his captors for nearly five months, gaining rare first-hand insight into the motivations of the world’s most feared terror group. Fowler’s capture, release and subsequent appearances have helped shed new light on foreign policy and security issues as we enter the second decade of the “War on Terror.”

A Season in Hell is Fowler’s compelling story of his captivity, told in his own words, but it’s also a startlingly frank discussion about the state of a world redefined by clashing civilizations.

 

About Robert R. Fowler

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ROBERT R. FOWLER joined the Department of External Affairs in 1969 and was posted to Paris in 1971 and to the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in 1976. He returned to External Affairs headquarters in 1978 to become executive assistant to Allan Gotlieb, the under-secretary of state for External Affairs. In 1980, he was seconded to the Privy Council Office as assistant secretary to the Cabinet (Foreign and Defence Policy), where he served as foreign policy advisor to prime ministers Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney. In 1986 Mr. Fowler became assistant deputy minister (Policy) in the Department of National Defence, and then he served as deputy minister from 1989 to 1995. From 1995 to 2000 he was Canada’s longest serving ambassador to the United Nations, following which he was named ambassador to Italy and also personal representative for Africa for prime ministers Chrétien and Harper. Fowler lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Published November 8, 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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National Post arts

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Reviewed by Richard Poplak on Nov 25 2011

In many respects, A Season in Hell provides a template for AQIM’s defeat, and it will no doubt be used as such. But embedded in the book is a tragic acknowledgment of the fact that we have blundered through the first decade of this war, blind to any real understanding of our enemy...

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