Robert Bruce Adolph
Vellum, 2020
340 Pages, 5 Illustrations
ISBN 978-17333980-0-8 Paperback
ISBN 978-17333980-4-6 Hardcover
Price: $28.00 Paperback
$38.00 Hardcover

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Robert Adolph has the unusual distinction of being twice fired and twice promoted by the UN. He is a retired UN Chief Security Advisor and US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He holds graduate degrees in both International Affairs and Strategy. While in uniform, he successfully completed multiple global Special Forces, Military Intelligence, and UN Peacekeeping command and staff assignments. Following his retirement from active military service, Robert began a second career as a UN Chief Security Officer. He also served as adjunct faculty at American institutions of higher learning, teaching courses in History, Government, and Foreign Affairs. He has lived and worked in fifteen different countries, while visiting another fifty-four. He can be reached at

About the book

This is the gripping true story of 4 intense years in the life of a US Army Special Forces soldier, who joins the UN, and then goes on to assignments in some of the world’s most dangerous countries—finding himself on sometimes-terrifying missions that include murderous child-soldiers; blood diamonds; a double hostage-taking; the rape of innocents; an invasion by brutal guerrillas; an emergency aerial evacuation; a desperate mission to recover hundreds of prisoners; tribal gunfights and unusual kidnappings; refugee camp violence; a deadly jihadist suicide bombing attack; and institutional corruption.


“Robert Adolph is the real deal, a Special Forces officer, United Nations security expert, and scholar in the most dangerous countries of the world. His life mattered in a way that those of the famous often don’t.” —Robert Kaplan, New York Times multiple best-selling author

“No rose-colored glasses here. Bob Adolph lays bare his unique experiences in pursuit of idealistic humanitarian purposes while in some of the toughest places on the planet. Sometimes his most dangerous opponents were in the very organization of which he was a part. To paraphrase from the book, Lonesome Dove, ‘he survived because he dealt with things as he found them…not as he wished they would be.’” —Peter J. Schoomaker, General, US Army (retired), former Chief of Staff of the US Army

“Lieutenant Colonel Bob Adolph’s unforgettable and brutally frank history provides graphic meaning to the unattributed quote, “You are either at the table or on the menu.” —William Garrison, Major General, US Army (retired), former Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command and the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

“A superb, painfully honest and moving account of a life lived amid the great and lesser crises of our time, this book captures not only stunning violence and grim tragedies on multiple continents, but also does a great service by demonstrating what happens when on-the-ground urgency collides with aid bureaucracies. Bob Adolph’s first-hand account of UN operations is alternately inspiring, enlightening, and infuriating (the latter when a failed hierarchy grasps about for a scapegoat in Iraq). A former special-operations soldier and globally recognized security expert, the author has given us the best-by-far nuts-and-bolts account of organizations seeking to do good, only to end up mired in a bloodbath. In short, a vital book by a very good man.” —Ralph Peters, New York Times best-selling author of Beyond Terror and Endless War

“His memoir often reads like a cracking good adventure novel. But this is no work of fiction—it is, instead, history.” —Ben Lawton, Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University and co-editor of the book Revisioning Terrorism: A Humanistic Approach

“I was fortunate to serve on active duty with Lieutenant Colonel Bob Adolph in Special Forces. He is an outstanding US public and international civil servant who dedicated his life first to country and then to humanity on a truly global scale. I was enormously impressed with his candor and detailed descriptions of events that changed the world. An excellent rendition of true stories that the public only rarely sees about how real history is made.” —Joe E. Kilgore, Colonel, US Army, Special Forces (retired)

“In addition to his fascinating tours of duty in Sierra Leone and Yemen, former UN Chief Security Advisor Robert Adolph paints a compelling portrait of the stunning lack of United Nations security in Baghdad following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. He makes a convincing case that high officials at the UN failed to act on voluminous pressing warnings regarding their vulnerability. The net result, which he portrays in riveting highly personal detail, is the devastating after-effects of a massive jihadist vehicular suicide bombing attack that all but destroyed their headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003. The attack killed twenty-two and wounded multiples more. This horrendous bombing and another over a month later ultimately compelled the UN to withdraw from Iraq. This book is highly recommended for readability, pacing, and detailed narrative description.” —L. Paul Bremer III, US Ambassador and former Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq

“Bob Adolph has written a dramatic and engaging record of his early years of service with the UN. His recollections of difficult and dangerous assignments in Sierra Leone, Yemen, and Iraq are vividly portrayed. In fact, he nearly paid with his life while trying to convince senior UN management that their security precautions in Baghdad in 2003 were woefully inadequate. These are wrenching yet illuminating examples of working inside the UN system. The devastating suicide bombing attack in Baghdad—killing 22 and wounding over 150—is painfully yet accurately described and places both the author and his often-startling book in categories by themselves. The very well written concluding chapters are a testament to Bob’s refusal to quit until the fight is done.” —Gregory Starr, former Director of the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Assistant Secretary of State, and UN Under-Secretary General of the Department of Safety and Security

“This is a superb book written by a man that intimately knows his subject—because he lived it.” —Gerald Ganzformer Head of Training and Director of Field Support, UN Department of Safety and Security

“Bob is a warrior, who truly spent his life protecting those who needed his strong arm. A great read, and a book worthy of a spot on every bookshelf.” —Steven P. BucciColonel, US Army, Special Forces (retired) (PhD), former Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense