Blood and sand: life, death and survival in an age of global terror
On 6 June 2004, Frank Gardner and cameraman, Simon Cumbers, were in a quiet suburb of Riyadh, fact finding for a piece on Al Qaeda when they were confronted by Islamic terrorists. Simon was executed with a single shot. Frank was brought down by a shot in the leg and then the shoulder. A man then stood over him and proceeded to pump 5 bullets into him at point blank range...That Frank Gardner lived to tell this story is the most miraculous element in Blood and Sand - and first and foremost, this tells the story of the long, agonising and literally life-shattering journey he's taken from being left for dead in a dusty Riyadh street to the position he finds himself in today: paralyzed, wheelchair-bound...but alive and back at work at the BBC. But he also recalls the journeys that shaped his obsession with the Arab world. It all began with a chance meeting with Wilfred Thesiger when he was a teenager and led on to reading Arabic Studies at university, learning the language, living in Egypt - in the Cairo slums and with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum - before starting work in the Middle East as a banker. But the world of finance wasn't for him and journalism beckoned, bringing him to the attention of the BBC. And so began another, universally alarming journey: his pursuit of Al -Qaeda, and how this has taken him all over the world and continues to dominate his working life.Blood & Sand is a powerful, haunting account of survival against all the odds, of over-coming adversity, of determination to pick up the pieces and carry on. It also paints a fascinating and perceptive insider's portrait of what remains - for all that has happened post 9/11 - an elusive, and for many alarming, world, and of the part in it that Frank has himself played (and continues to do so).
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