In 1991 Giandomenico Picco, a United Nations envoy, went to Beirut to try to free Western hostages. To talk to the kidnappers face to face, he had to allow himself to be abducted. His negotiations led to the release of 11 people, including John McCarthy and Terry Waite.
Man Without a Gun is the true story of a single UN diplomat’s astonishing high-wire struggle for peace in the Middle East. UN secretary-general Javier Pérez de Cuéllar called the author “more of a soldier than a diplomat.” And, indeed, his life is the stuff of John le Carré thrillers. But Man Without a Gun is more than a thriller: It is a real-life voyage through the maze of the secretive Middle East, the inside account of the political maneuverings that continue to dominate today’s headlines, and the moving story of one man’s struggle to bring some hope to a violent land.
In more than two decades, Giandomenico Picco negotiated an end to wars in Afghanistan and between Iran and Iraq with the force of his decency and the strength of the UN. But little could prepare Picco for the danger he would face in resolving the Lebanon hostage crisis. Negotiating with terrorists was not a matter of meeting gray men in gray suits in well-appointed offices.