A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda

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Harper Collins, Nov 8, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
12 Reviews

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 media 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 is also a startlingly frank discussion about the state of a world redefined by clashing civilizations.


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Review: A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda

User Review  - Goodreads

Very accessible read, with incredible detail considering Fowler was writing from memory. Read full review

Review: A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda

User Review  - Goodreads

Robert Fowler's account of his four-month captivity in northern Mali with Louis Guay in 2009 doesn't so much leap off the page as grab you by the ears and haul you in. I read it over a weekend because ... Read full review


The Grab
Camp Canada 7 Survivalin theDesert 8 Our AQIM Captors
Solo Perduto Abbandonato in Landa Desolata Orror
Blaise Compaoré and His Marvellous Gift
Bamako and Ouagadougou Germany
Fillingin the Blanks
AConcise History ofAlQaedain
Photo Credits Photographic Insert

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About the author (2011)

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. 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 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 retired from the Canadian public service in 2006 and is a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada in November 2011. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, Mary.

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