Sonderbooks     Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

More Info from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 9
Previous Book
Next Book

        Previous Book
Next Book
Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2002 Stand-outs
Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Links For Book Lovers

About Me
Contact Me
Post on Bulletin Board

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Saddam's Bombmaker

by Khidhir Hamza, with Jeff Stein

Reviewed September 30, 2001.
2000.  Available at Sembach Library (355.02 HAM).

This book, by contrast, was horrifying and disturbing.  However, it also was as gripping as a thriller, as you wondered how the author managed to get out of Iraq and whether he was able to get his family out as well.  I chose to read it because the topic seemed timely.  I wanted to be better informed about the whole situation in the Middle East.  Wow, were my eyes ever opened.

The author was indeed Saddam’s Bombmaker--given the job by Saddam Hussein of building a nuclear bomb to use on Israel.  He tells about his many years as an insider in Iraq, dropping many disturbing facts along the way.  Yes, Saddam Hussein tested chemical and biological weapons on Kurds in his own territory, as well as on Iran.  Yes, he stockpiled many of these weapons in places where they would get blown up by the Americans coming through in Desert Storm.  Yes, huge numbers of the Iraqi people also came down with “Gulf War Syndrome” as a result.  No, his supplies for making nuclear weapons were not destroyed in Desert Storm.  Yes, he did fool the UN inspectors in many different ways.  And, yes, most of the technological equipment needed to produce nuclear and chemical weapons were sold to him by western nations, including the US, especially when Iraq was fighting Iran.

This book was a huge eye-opener for me.  Suddenly, military action doesn’t sound as bad as it once did.  Saddam Hussein is every bit as evil as Hitler.  The world is lucky that he doesn’t have a nation like Germany behind him.  Yes, I know that Iraq has not been named as a target in the current “war on terrorism.”  But we can only hope that they will not be involved before it is over.  Or if they are involved, that this time it will mean the end of Saddam Hussein’s power.

Some of the side facts noted were among the most horrifying.  Did you know how Saddam Hussein made sure he wouldn’t have to go to school any more when he was 11 years old?  He shot his teacher.  Dr. Hamza told of people who have been hung by their thumbs and beaten every day for the last ten years for opposing Saddam Hussein.

Last week, I heard a peace protester talking on the radio.  He gave the embargo against Iraq as an example of an action that hurts civilians.

This book told me the truth.  Their own government is the one hurting the civilians in Iraq.  While the Iraqi people were struggling to eat, the people in power were loading up on luxury items from the west, and dumping money into building nuclear and chemical weapons.  If we lift the embargo, it will only make it easier for them to get those war supplies.

The issues facing America are hugely complicated.  I recommend this book as a way to be better informed in at least one area.  And I promise absorbing, if not pleasant, reading.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-