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01 January 2013


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Haunting and very hard good read. I was in So. Lebanon 79-80 with the UN as an unarmed mil observer, then again in 86-87 as Chief Observer Group Lebanon (working the UNIFIL AO with 86 officers from 19 nations). Got to Beirut a number of times and Sales has captured well the confusion,duplicity, and tension of the times and place. Car bombs were (and I suspect are still) the most insidious threat in a conflict zone. Where I operated in Vietnam (way western I corps-very remote), booby traps were of little concern...that was a populated lowland thing.Later in the 2 yrs I spent with UNPROFOR in Sarajevo (after retiring from the Army) again, little concern; snipers yes, car bombs not so much. I can, with Sales vivid description, see the scenes perfectly in my head and they continue to frighten.

The Twisted Genius

A chilling and moving account. I was in the Chouf Mountains in 83 and saw the same attitudes among the Druze and Christians. It's not just a Middle Eastern phenomenon though. I saw the same ugliness in the Balkans.


Masterful writing. A gripping and tragic tale. Thanks.


Colonel Lang,

Very powerful, evocative...so much
so that I did not finish it...started to remind
me of things I have spent years deliberately not

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96



A splendid piece of work in its descritive and emotive power. Richard handles the language wonderfully as alway. He and I just discussed the fact that I think we must be careful not to believe (he does not) that war makes people such as these what they are. This notion derives from Rousseau with his idea that society corrupts humans. My experience of life indicates that man is naturally savage and that society restrains his bestial impulses. What happens in places like Lebanon and the Balkans is that society's restraints break down in conditions of tribal warfare and then the true beast emerges. pl

Medicine Man

Mr Sale is quite the writer. I sense that he writes from experience and the story is all the more disturbing for it. That paragraph describing the shoes, handbags, eyeglasses...


Mr. Sale,
brilliant writing, as always. Thank you. So very gripping ... that nurse is going to stay with me for a while.

And Mr. Lang, the bit about man's essentially bestial nature, unleashed in societal breakdown, is something that, sadly, I find persuasive.

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