Posted 20 hours ago

An Evil Cradling

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This book is a testament to humanity, though not the idealised view of humanity in which we "ride above adversity because in the end the human spirit wins out. If you wish to read a book of a person enduring solitary and near-solitary confinement and the mental gymnastics required to get from day to day then you may get something from it. Listening to him it is extraordinary how much type he takes up with saying something about the men involved, friendship, kindness, seeking a way through, without really referring to God or religion that much. I would recommend this book to anyone - the writing and language used is superb (notwithstanding some ‘strong’ language used, mostly under extreme circumstances) and despite the traumatic nature of the experience, the story is oddly encouraging. His sisters were flown by Irish military executive jet to Damascus to meet him and bring him home to Northern Ireland.

This is a difficult book to grade because the content attempts to mirror actual events that were not particularly compelling.With ruthless honesty and poetic insight, Keenan evokes the psychic claustrophobia of the hostage, and the uncommon gift of a deeper appreciation of love. There were certain areas where I do think that he wrote in excess, and could have benefited from being more direct. I think a reader could choose to go with him or not; either way, they will get something out of it, they will learn, they will know what it's like. Most of the narrative was about a certain period of his imprisonment and I felt the final months were just glossed over and it ended quite abruptly.

This book is an inspiration; I so admired Brian for his determination and humanity throughout and I still do. It reveals a depth of spirit, a nobility of character and the sheer belligerent will that enables one to fight in the face of inhumane behaviour as well as a sadness at how far short we often fall.Considering he wrote it so soon after the events that transpired, it's impressive that it is so clear and so readable.

There were plenty of outbreaks of violence and some kidnappings, but they didn’t worry him too much. Brian and John became staunch friends during the time they were together, at times mystifying other hostages who crossed their paths over the years, with their irreverant treatment of each other. Then he was captured by fundamentalists on his way to work, and taken to a prison cell that was smaller than most bathrooms. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.A stubborn character, a fully paid-up member of the Awkward Squad, he exhibited an incredible strength of character that saw him through nearly 5 years of horror. There are occasional beatings but at no point did I feel that the author was in danger of losing his life, those beatings said more about some of his jailers that it did about him; some were sociopaths who were often just as bored and frustrated as the prisoners. Another book club choice, and one which I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading, but the book turned out to be very good at conveying the horror of being kidnapped and held against his will for years. What Brian Keenan and his fellow hostages went through is terrifying and Mr Keenan's story telling is superb.

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