Baghdaddy: How Saddam Hussein Taught Me to Be a Better Father by Bill Riley is an insightful look at a time in history and into the life of a real warrior. It is an emotional journey that is so well told it feels like a classic novel. The author has a great way with words so that it feels like art on a canvas of paper and words. This book captures a piece of our lives and times that most of us just saw on the television news.
The author constructs a background story of his childhood that allows the reader an insightful understanding of who this man was and why he saw his world around him as he did. His childhood was one of abuse and violence from his own father, all of which sets the outlook on the life of the author, as he treads down his own passageway of life. Lessons learned in childhood not only helped him deal with the war itself but also with his own fatherhood.
The author is a talented wordsmith. The narrative truly fixes images into the mind and heart of the reader—a well written human experience, not just a war memoir.
Review by Bill McDonald (July 2019)
As a child, he was raised in an unstable and violent home by a mother struggling with mental illness. An absent father with a firm belief in tough love left him with only his sister to understand or comfort him as they faced a home full of harshness, resentment, and physical abuse. As a man, he braved the war-torn landscapes of Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Having learned early from his father that only the strong survive, he enlisted in the Air Force after high school and began an impressive military career in intelligence analysis, communications, and supporting special operations, meeting incredible individuals along the way. Baghdaddy is Bill Riley’s memoir: an honest and colorful depiction of his journey through a turbulent youth and into a challenging adulthood. This very human account of living in some of the least humane environments delivers the message that no matter how different we seem, we are all trying to make the best of life and learn how to be the best versions of ourselves.
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 456