GUANTANAMO: My Journey by David Hicks

by |September 23, 2010

Random House to publish David Hicks’ memoirs

Random House Australia  announced today it would publish the personal memoir of former Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee, David Hicks, with the book, Guantanamo: My Journey, to go on sale Saturday 16 October.

Guantanamo: My Journey is the first published account by David Hicks of the years leading up to his incarceration in the infamous US military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, his time as a detainee, and his search for a normal life following release from prison in late 2007.

Click here to place your order.

Written over the last two years, the book dispels myths about David Hicks’s life before Guantanamo and reveals insights into the interrogation techniques used by the US military on Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Publishing Director of Random House Australia, Nikki Christer, said she had greatly enjoyed working with David Hicks as his publisher, and found him to be a talented writer. She expected keen interest in this first published account of his experience.

“David Hicks is one of the more intriguing figures in recent Australian history. Most people have an opinion about him, but very few know the truth of his experience,” Ms Christer said. “We’ve waited a long time to hear from him.”

Managing Director of Random House Australia, Margaret Seale, said the publisher was proud to be bringing such an important Australian memoir to print.

“David Hicks has been the subject of controversy and sharply divided opinion in recent years, but until now his own story has not been told. Guantanamo: My Journey is a remarkable story that sheds light on an important chapter in our recent history,” Ms Seale said.

Guantanamo: My Journey is described as charting the path of a young man who, in 1999, set out from suburban Adelaide on an overseas trip that would change his life forever and land him in notorious Guantanamo Bay prison for five and half years. His story was one that divided a nation.

Now married and living in Sydney, David Hicks said: “This is the first time I have had the opportunity to tell my story publicly. I hope you find that this book is not only a story of injustice, but also a story of hope.”

Guantanamo: My Journey will be on sale from Saturday, 16 October.

Click here to place your pre-order.

Guantanamo: My Journey

Everyone has an opinion on him. But only he knows the truth

‘My story and who I am as a person is something so many people have an opinion on already.

Whatever you may think of me now, in the past, or after reading this book, you will have a much better understanding of how the following events came to pass and why. You will see that I am not, and have never been, a supporter of terrorism. I am not a public threat. I did not harm anyone – I never attempted or planned to – nor was I accused of such. And I did not break any Australian, US or international laws.’ – David Hicks

In 1999 a young man from suburban Adelaide set out on an overseas trip that would
change his life forever.

Initially, he was after adventure and the experience of travelling the Silk Road. But events would set him on a different path. He would be deemed a terrorist, one of George W. Bush’s ‘worst of the worst’. He would be incarcerated in one of the world’s most notorious prisons, Guantanamo Bay.

And in that place where, according to an interrogator in Abu Ghraib, ‘even dogs won’t live’, he was to languish for five and a half years, suffering physical and mental abuse, while his fate – and the opinions of all Australians – was shaped by politicians, the media and foreign governments.

Guantanamo: My Journey is an autobiographical account of Hicks’s young adulthood, his overseas travels to Japan, Albania and Pakistan, and the events leading up to his capture in Afghanistan and incarceration in the infamous US military facility at Guantanamo Bay. Released from prison in late 2007, he also tells of his attempt to put his past behind him and enjoy his life in the present.

As the first published account of David Hicks’s life, Guantanamo: My Journey is a confronting picture of  unchecked power, the fight for justice and the power of endurance.

Now, for the first time, David Hicks tells his story.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • Steve

    November 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I didn’t think much of Hicks when I was given the book by my sister. I have to admit that after reading the book, I was wrong about him. We were lied to. I would recommend everyone to read this book- it is well written, thoughtful and extremely moving. I am shocked at the treatment he went through, especially considering that he never hurt anyone and just wanted to help the Kashmir people. No matter what you think of him personally, remember there are always two sides to the story and his is a great read.

  • Lisa

    November 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Loved it. Great book- its a tear jerker, very interesting! Recommend everyone read it! Good for you David.

  • November 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Wonderful book, what a struggle this man went through. I still find it hard to comprehend how an ally could treat an Australian citizen this way. I hope Davids has a brilliant life with many rewards!

  • November 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I have just finished the book. Could not put it down, and read through the night. I can NOW pass the book on having taken one or two useful insights AWAY WITH ME. One was David’s revealing that his plan for suicide was a comfort and gave him the only control over his life to which he could aspire, possibly preventing him from going mad. So THAT suicide COULD BE A WAY OF taking control of one’s life is a strange thing to learn, and difficult to understand. The second truth of the book was, in The author’s own words “It was, and is, hard to comprehend how people can mistreat others for no reason other than some political purpose”. David Hicks winner, John Howard loser. Poetic justice rarely occurs when the powerful ill-treat the weak. Cowardice is a US military trait which has been laid open for all to read between the lines. The US military only attacks those who are weak and defenseless. Thank God we have Russia and China in the world. I hope they unite one day, with India and Europe, to check this over-stretched Superpower that feels contemptuous of international law.

  • Robert Outhred

    November 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I think this is a book every Australian needs to read. It has the ring of truth about it, even if David may or may not have been entirely frank about his time in Afghanistan. But that is irrelevant – nothing would excuse the disgusting treatment meted out to the unfortunates incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Graib etc, barbarity that we had been led to believe only Hitler, Stalin and their ilk could have perpetrated.

    How did it come to this? How did the thin veneer of civilisation disintegrate so fast in America – and Australia?

    I think it stemmed from terror. Terror in the hearts of two key, but deeply flawed, individuals.

    The first key individual was of course George W Bush, quaking like a rabbit in the spotlight as he was bundled to and fro across the US skies on September 11 2001, knowing he was not safe anywhere in God’s Own Country, not in the White House, not in the Pentagon, not in the readily recognisable Airforce 1. After that anything that might assuage the terror and humiliation became permissible provided it could be done in secret and provided there was no danger of the victim retaliating.

    The second is Australia’s own John Howard. I do not doubt Howard’s personal bravery and I expect he conducted himself well in Washington on September 11. Nevertheless, I suspect he was driven over the years by a deep inner fear – a terror of being exposed as “weak”. Having quite reasonably expressed solidarity with Bush initially, that deep inner fear prevented him ever modifyiing his stance, eg re David Hicks, even though as facts emerged, morality and common decency demanded it.

    But regardless of whether my amateur psychology is near the mark or not, I think all Australians and Americans should ponder long and hard just how their governments’ descent into the moral abyss happened so quickly and easily.

  • Shell Tobin

    November 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Interesting. Not sure what I think about David, as I haven’t read the book. That he should be allowed to tell his side of the story is certainly true. Is this the first time he has been able to do that? Not sure.

  • Shell Tobin

    November 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    If Random House is publishing this it must be worth a read. Guess I’ll have to read the book.

  • November 17, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    This book is a good read, for Australians, but not for John Howard, the prime minister too gutless to stand up to the Americans. This book humanises an individual John Howard tried to dehumanise for political reasons. It is the same with assylum seekers in Australia. Dehumanisation is an essential first step to enable governments and military to rob individuals of their human rights. If they are not human, then they are not entitled to human rights. The new UK government is now righting a wrong by offereing compensation payments to their citizens who were rendered and tortured by the US military at Guantanamo Bay. Will the Australian government follow suit? You can read about the other humans still locked up in Guantanamo here:

  • Rachel G.

    November 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Un-put-downable! really enjoyed it. Shell Tobin, I really reccommned you read it- he explains why it is the first time he has had the chance to tell his story. He was under a gag order and he also wanted to hear from his US attorneys that his conviction is considered unlawful, null and void so he wouldn’t be dragged back to the hell hole. I really loved this book, very sad, but his story definitely needs to be spread to ignorant members of the Australian public (none at this website thank goodness!).

    • November 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      love this description: ” ignorant members of the Australian public ” that has been the problem along with a sheep like following of what John Howard said.

      So many people just don’t want to think for themselves.

  • judy

    November 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Upsetting, disturbing – almost unbelievable that human beings could be treated so terribly and we and North America are supposed to be the ‘good guys’

  • Mick rowe

    November 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Bloody interesting background – alot like my own ! I’m an LBF with a disfunctional family and 42 but took on matial arts to get over it – Davids adventure hits me in the guts wish I could go fishing with the guy !!

  • November 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    The Silk Road will be available soon

    This Silk Road is a Musical Drama album written in response to the injustice of the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp.

    Based on the David Hicks’ book: ‘Guantanamo , my journey’ Random House 2010, (a book I recommend for all people who want to understand how someone can be innocently caught up in a moment of national rage) the Silk Road explores the theme of, association by circumstance, and delivers a powerful media experience, including battle drama, massacre and the hopelessness of being deserted by your government.

    Keep watching for the release date …should be early December 2010

  • wayne

    December 31, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    It was worth the read even if half is not true a lot of bad things have and continue to happen with the American way.
    It is interesting to note that one of the AFP persons to visit Hicks when first captured and also reported Hicks was not being abused, and then 5 years later this person requests the control order on Hicks when he is released from Yatala prison, is the same person heavily involved with the wrongful detention of Dr Haneef. This AFP person was adversely mentioned in the Clark Report in late 2008. In early 2010 this person was promoted to a very senior role (National Manager) in the AFP in early 2010.
    It shows that being seriously wrong in your prime working role decisions at least twice (how many others) and having a vindictive nature will get you where you want to go in the AFP. This person should have been dismissed or at least sent back to the state police force.
    We can not afford to have him in our premier police force.

  • January 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

    How can Wayne (December 31 2010) say that only half the book is true? Was Wayne David Hicks? This type of criticism is because people want to believe that David Hicks was more than reality tells us.

    I challenge all these Thomas’s to travel the same route that David Hicks took.

    David Hicks’ book tells the story all too well, a lost soul looking for adventure and caught up in someone’s else’s madness.

    Listen to The Silk Road, this is my feelings on the injustice that David Hicks suffered.

    Also, if going against one country is treason, then going against a citizen of one’s country just to appease another country is treason also.

    David Hicks did not commit treason; he is a free man, not banged up as John Howard would like him to be. But did John Howard commit treason by washing his hands of Mr Hicks, and is Julia Gillard doing the same in relation to Julian Assange.

    Our governments are employed by us, the people, to do the bidding of the people, but when does this really happen. Australia should have demanded the return of David Hicks on the first day! Not let the man wait 2190 days to get a semi freedom. Every time someone questions David Hicks they are taking part in the torture that the USA and Australian Governments put him through.

  • Nina

    July 29, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Bush and Rumsfeld and Obama have a lot to answer to. Black or white I detest them and their interference in other countries in this world. I hope the publication of David Hicks’ book financially compensates him for what the above-named put him through.

  • Asil smith

    June 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Hi all I am 29 F I have just finished reading the book. Growing up I have not followed any politics media or really been interested in it to be honest i was Way to busy working since 15. My review on this book is a man trying to justify his reasons for being places in certain times Sorry I do not believe that you could be that stupid unless you watched way 2 many Rambo movies as a child he wanted action. I believe our government made the right call with this one I cannot believe The BS excuse to me really transparent that this guy was or trying to be a alli.

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