Impossible Odds

Impossible Odds

The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six

  • bestseller
The New York Times bestselling memoir of humanitarian aid worker Jessica Buchanan’s kidnapping by Somali land pirates, praised as “spellbinding.…written with clarity and compassion” (The New York Journal of Books).

On October 25, 2011, thirty-two year-old Jessica Buchanan was working as a teacher for a humanitarian NGO in Somalia. But on that day she and a colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by Somali pirates who had moved their operations from the sea onto the land. Finally, after ninety-three days of fruitless negotiations, and with Jessica’s rapidly failing health raising her medical state to a life and death issue, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to raid the location. On January 25, 2012, nine heavily armed hostiles were killed with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.

Throughout the ordeal, every moment Jessica Buchanan spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband, Erik Landemalm. In riveting detail, Impossible Odds chronicles their mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica’s fight to stay alive, and Erik’s efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as a liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government.

Both a testament to two people’s courage and a nail-biting look at a life-or-death struggle, this is a harrowing and deeply personal story about their triumph over impossible odds.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476725185 | 
  • August 2014
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Jessica Buchanan on her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six

Humanitarian Jessica Buchanan tells the harrowing story of her dramatic rescue by Navy SEAL Team Six.

Read an Excerpt

Impossible Odds CHAPTER ONE

Erik tells me for the umpteenth time, “I just don’t like it, Jess.”

“And I still agree,” I tell him. “I’ve just got no choice.”

“Oh, come on. There’s always a choice. You can get around it.”

“I’ve canceled three times already and I can’t get around it, at least not by complaining about security anymore. I’m not sick, so what do I tell them?”

This stops him for... see more

Hear an Excerpt

About the Authors

Jessica Buchanan

Jessica Buchanan worked in the humanitarian aid field in Somalia. She has recently relocated to the United States, where she and her husband, Erik Landemalm, lecture on their experiences while raising their son, August, born in October, 2012.


Erik Landemalm

Erik Landemalm worked in the humanitarian aid field in Somalia. He has recently relocated to the United States, where he and his wife, Jessica Buchanan, lecture on their experiences while raising their son, August, born in October, 2012.

Anthony Flacco
Photograph courtesy of Anthony Flacco

Anthony Flacco

Anthony Flacco is the author of numerous nonfiction books and novels. He holds an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute, where he was honored with the Paramount Studios Fellowship Award and a Disney Studios Fellowship. He serves as an editor, frequently gives seminars on writing, and is an editorial consultant to Martin Literary Management in Seattle.




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