The Torture Report



"A chilling account of the use and justification of torture by the Bush Administration, made the more powerful by its dispassionate, forensic language." —Salman Rushdie

"The Torture Report is a definitive and often stirring rebuke to those who are still publishing books and touring the country claiming their 'enhanced interrogations' worked and were not torture. Reconstructing, directly from the documentary record, scenes from Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, and foreign dungeons, Siems manages both to prove the torture apologists wrong and to give voice to the two groups of people they don't want us to hear: those who were tortured, and those in the military and intelligence services who said no to torture from the start. We all should know these powerful, appalling, and sometimes heroic stories." —Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU

Buy This Book


Paperback: $22/£16

E-book: $10/£7

Print + E-book: $25/£15

FAQs and shipping information


“Many Americans are aware that after 9/11 our government engaged in torture. Yet few know what actually happened. It is all here. Larry Siems introduces us to the victims, the perpetrators and those who refused to go along. It is a riveting story.” —Aryeh Neier, president, the Open Society Institute

“Indispensable in this time of affliction when torture is justified and even celebrated by those who were elected to uphold the law rather than to flaunt it. Indispensable because of the array of precise information this book includes, but especially because Larry Siems stays true and bears witness to the heartache and devastation that torture creates not only among victims but also among those who interrogate and will be haunted forever by what they did, by what so many bystanders allowed them to do.” —Ariel Dorfman

“I thought I knew the account of American torture post 9/11. I didn’t. Don’t think you do until you have read Siems’ book. He threads together strands from thousands of official documents and gives the reader a compelling, page turning story of illegality at the very top and the cruelty imposed on victims at the very bottom. You will come away from this book knowing what Siems learned: the excuses, justifications and claims of legality for torture were an immoral fraud and that torture begets torture. The Torture Report forcefully reminds us that cleansing our country from torture’s inhumanity is an absolute imperative.” —Michael Ratner, president, Center for Constitutional Rights

About the Book

Sometimes the truth is buried in front of us. That is the case with more than 140,000 government documents relating to abuse of prisoners by U.S. forces during the “war on terror,” brought to light by Freedom of Information Act litigation. As the lead author of the ACLU’s report on these documents, Larry Siems is in a unique position to chronicle who did what, to whom and when. This book, written with the pace and intensity of a thriller, serves as a tragic reminder of what happens when commitments to law, common sense, and human dignity are cast aside, when it becomes difficult to discern the difference between two groups intent on perpetrating extreme violence on their fellow human beings.

Divided into three sections, The Torture Report presents a stunning array of eyewitness and first-person reports—by victims, perpetrators, dissenters, and investigators—of the CIA’s White House-orchestrated interrogations in illegal, secret prisons around the world; the Pentagon’s “special projects,” in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; plots real and imagined, and much more.

460 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-55-3 • E-book ISBN 978-1-935928-56-0

About the Author

Photo of Larry Siems by Anders Heger

Larry Siems is the former director of PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write and International Programs. He is the editor of Between the Lines: Letters between Undocumented Mexican and Central American Immigrants and Their Families and Friends (Ecco Press, 1992). For his work as a poet, he has received fellowships from the Yaddo and MacDowell Foundations, among other institutions.

In the Media

The New York Times, January 3rd 2013

The Los Angeles Times, July 30th 2012

The Nation, August 2012

Slate, April 20th 2012

The New York Observer, March 5th 2012

The Atlantic, February 5th 2012

Open Society Foundations, January 10th 2012

American Civil Liberties Unit (ACLU), January 6th 2012

Verified by MonsterInsights