Long March to Freedom
The True Story of a Colombian Kidnapping
American History
6 x 9, 362 pp.
40 b&w photos., 1 map.
Pub Date: 12/06/2007
Price:        $17.95

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Long March to Freedom

The True Story of a Colombian Kidnapping

By Thomas R. Hargrove

Running late for work one morning in September 1994, Tom Hargrove, communications director for an international agricultural aid organization in Cali, Colombia, was mildly annoyed when he spotted a roadblock, or retén, manned by soldiers in fatigues. He chafed at the delay, but told himself that guerrillas and kidnappers didn’t operate on a main highway in broad daylight.

But Hargrove had been dreadfully mistaken. Despite his assertions that he worked for a non-profit agricultural agency, he was forced at gunpoint into a vehicle and driven into the mountains by communist narco-terrorists who believed he was a valuable hostage.

For almost a year, Hargrove was held by the guerillas and moved from one remote location to another. To maintain his grip on sanity, he recorded his daily experiences in makeshift journals: in a checkbook; on children’s notebooks; and on scraps of paper scrounged during his ordeal.

Hargrove’s story, originally published in 1995, was the basis for the major motion picture Proof of Life, starring Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. Now available again in paperback, Long March to Freedom chronicles one man’s spirited determination to hang onto life and faith amid nearly impossible circumstances.

THOMAS R. HARGROVE lectured on his experiences for private security firms, insurers, antiterrorism and law enforcement agencies, the military, and spoke for business, professional, and civic groups. His story has been featured on 60 Minutes, 20/20, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, and in Vanity Fair. Hargrove was also the author of A Dragon Lives Forever: War and Rice in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. He lived in Florence, Alabama and Galveston, Texas prior to his death in 2011.


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