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Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six

Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six - Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm, Anthony Flacco This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

If you weren't aware of Seal Time Six before the successful operation that took out Bin Laden, you certainly are now. Another less well-known mission took place in Somalia in 2012 when the Seals rescued an American woman held captive by Somali pirates for three months. Jessica Buchanan's desire to help African children led her and her husband to Somalia, where she also instructed locals how to avoid landmines. On October 25, 2011, Jessica and her Danish colleague, Poul Thisted, were kidnapped at gunpoint by Somalis determined to wrangle a massive ransom. ($45MM was the first request.)

Now, imagine if you were kidnapped in a strange country by a group of armed men. They're relatively calm and performing the operation with precision. Yet, you still know that in the worst case scenario, they will kill you to make a religious and political statement against America. Or, as a best case, you are a temporary captive being held for an outrageous ransom. Both are terrifying, right? Now let's imagine these kidnappers are NOT the calm, professional type. Instead, they are crazed, waving their loaded assault rifles around and screaming at each other, all while under the influence of the drug, khat. These were Jessica's and Poul's kidnappers, and I assume the terror was amped-up a thousand-fold.

I admire the hell out of people who dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others. This is what Jessica did, and she suffered terribly for it. Each day of her three month imprisonment, she wondered if it would be her last. There was always the risk of another "worse" gang of kidnappers swooping in to steal away this American "prize," and Jessica was in the unimaginable position of hoping to stay with her current band of kidnappers who had so far not killed or raped her and were providing her with a minimal amount of sustenance.

The book is written in three viewpoints. The focus is on Jessica's first person narration which is horrifying as she describes her terror, thirst, hunger, filth, and declining health. Her days were spent outdoors trying to stay out of the line of fire, both figuratively and literally, as her kidnappers constantly threatened her life. Her husband, Erik, details his own fear and the desperate attempts to bring Jessica home. Author Anthony Flacco describes the behind the scenes action by the U.S. government that led to the heart-racing rescue by Seal Team Six. All if it combines for a book that will both terrify you and bring tears to your eyes when Jessica and Erik are finally reunited.