We Were Blackwater by Barrie 'Baz' Rice


20 July 2023

A raw, riveting look into the hidden frontlines of the Iraq War and an indispensable first-person account of the secret lives of the mercenaries and contractors who fought and died overseas … Rice does something few have attempted, taking us on an emotional journey that is at once unsettling and revelatory. Excellent.” – Mark Boal, Oscar-winning screenwriter and producer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty

“A riveting tale of a brotherhood of warriors and their descent into hell. Visceral, brutal, raw and very real, We Were Blackwater is a rollercoaster ride of combat on the frontline of death and bloodshed. Unputdownable. Unforgettable. The untold true story.” – Damien Lewis, author of SAS Ghost Patrol and Churchill’s Secret Warriors

“We Were Blackwater puts your boots right on the ground – in a place you’d never want to be, except in the safety of a book. Barrie Rice is a natural storyteller: clear-eyed, funny, wise, honest and humble. Reading this book feels like making a new friend. Fresh and exhilarating.” – Hugo Lindgren, former editor of the New York Times Magazine


The aftermath of the 2003 Iraq invasion is a story that has yet to be told by those who fought their own war against a brutal insurgency: the private security contractors. Risking life and limb, often side by side with the US military but far more exposed, they were never to receive a hero’s homecoming. They remained in the shadows, often with good cause, but that would change for ever on 31 March 2004, when a security convoy was ambushed in Fallujah and the charred bodies of two American operators were strung from a road bridge. Those events would ensure notoriety for the company involved: Blackwater.

This is the untold story of the security industry and its private war, recounted by a man who witnessed it first hand: SAS veteran and New Zealand national Barrie Rice. His visceral, no-holds-barred account of his time with Blackwater is brought to life in scenes that lead to a reckoning with both the war and himself. This gripping account delivers a compelling slice of reality – the inside story of the private contractor’s war.

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