Bardenwerper, a military veteran, has made a probe of the MPs’ feelings, as they morphed over time and association with Saddam, and carries it off with balanced aplomb ... In chapters that are short and jumpy, what ultimately emerges is how to comport oneself in the world ... This is no reverse Stockholm syndrome at play, Bardenwerper convincingly suggests, but a bracing affirmation — a great Whitmanesque hug — of human dignity in the face of all that is harrowingly wrong.
Bardenwerper gives the reader a close look at a real-life supervillain, and how easy it is for him to gather minions at his feet. Bardenwerper’s tightly-constructed and engaging book is compiled from court transcripts, historical accounts, interrogation records, and his own interviews. He relates multiple perspectives of Saddam Hussein’s influence and the long shadow he casts over Iraq. Bardenwerper plays the narrative straight, and his own opinion never overshadows his sources.
Will Bardenwerper deftly toggles from a nonstop supply of terror to occasional scenes of normal life throughout The Prisoner in His Palace ... a brief, but powerful, meditation on the meaning of evil and power.