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American Hostage: A Memoir of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq and the Remarkable Battle to Win His Release Paperback – November 9, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Working utterly independently from one another (Micah was in a palm enclosure in southern Iraqi marshes and Marie-Helene in NYC), they still mirror one another's ethos and energy. As Micah practices yoga to steady nerves (and baffle his guards) and cagily grills another guard about local soccer to gage location, Marie Helene and friends establish a remarkable network of well-connected souls (politically and strategically) and set more wheels in motion via their grassroots efforts (and wall-mounted Sheik Sheet) than the FBI can fathom, or match.
There's an unbelievable lack of bravado or ego to both of their tellings.
And they describe Iraq - their time there, their friends and experiences - with such compassion and understanding, that the beleaguered country emerges almost as another character in the narrative. Their Iraqi translator, Nietzsche-enthusiast, friend and co-captive, Amir, is the wise, steady and winning third character. And dog Zeugma the fourth.
The couple come across as the pair most likely to succeed, and shine, and make friends in compromising and dismal of circumstances. You'd want them on your side, Amir along, and dog Zeugma at your feet.
Would recommend for all the narrative threads that weave through American Hostage:
The looting of Iraq's Sumerian heritage - the reason Micah (and Marie Helene) are in the country, reporting.Read more ›
Micah Garen, an American journalist covering the looting of the ancient ruins of Iraq with his partner/lover Marie-Helene Carleton, was kidnapped with his translator Amir on August 13th, 2004. Garen relates the issues leading up to the kidnapping, and the daily hardships and terrors while under guard with his good friend Amir, until their release August 22nd, 2004 - nine days and nights filled with despair, terror, suffering, political manipulation, yet with the indomitable human spirit that allowed them to survive. During the time Garen and Amir were in captivity, Carleton did amazingly courageous acts of spirit and fact from her home in New York to guarantee that the two men would survive and be released. That story is important enough and intensely interestingly enough to make the book work.
But the joy of reading AMERICAN HOSTAGE is in part due to the diary-like mode of writing: Garen makes entries like a diary listed by day and Carleton mirrors those entries with her won responses from New York.Read more ›
The hostage narrative is a surprising and compelling new genre of war reportage--partly shaped by the mainstream media as events unfold, and later retold by the survivors, who give a voice to the people used as leverage in modern warfare. Garen and Carleton's narrative is essential for those who wish to understand the role of independent journalists in the volatile new Iraq and in the shock theater that has become contemporary mainstream media. Their book is a portrait of both the internal and external spheres of modern war. It deftly reveals the way an artist's medium can turn upon him, first as a threat to his very life, and later as a vehicle for reconciliation.
The Iraqis described in the book are both committed to preserving their culture (translator and historian Amir Doshi) and destroying it (the looters of antiquities). They are pro-American (the kidnapper who asked Micah to sponsor his visa) and anti-American (the thugs who yelled 'Foreigner' and snatched him from the market at gunpoint)
Whether you are interested in a varied perspective on the current state of Iraq or are curious about the challenges faced by freelance journalists in high-conflict zones, this book illustrates a side of the war that rarely makes it to the nightly news.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was strange to me, after finding so many glorious typos, that this book was written by journalists. It made me question its validity. Read morePublished on March 1, 2012 by Bookie T
His story is well told. I found myself thinking about all the small things that many of us really don't ponder about Iraqi life sitting in our modern homes living our modern lives. Read morePublished on June 11, 2008 by dirtymc
I love a good cliché, don't you? "Gripping", "Page turner" and on and on. Of course those terms had an origin once, and that origin reminds us that the terms sometimes have... Read morePublished on April 16, 2008 by David H. Birley
I really loved reading this from start to finish. It is a moving story of journalist and filmmaker Micah Garen who was in Iraq filming a documentary. Read morePublished on July 20, 2006 by Little Miss Cutey
Most books about the Iraq war are more general in nature, without that personal touch throughout the story. Read morePublished on July 19, 2006 by EA Solinas
Back in 2004, the sight of innocent civilians, including journalists, kidnapped in Iraq became all too common. Read morePublished on July 14, 2006 by Daniel Jolley
The authors had come to Iraq to help prevent the looting of archeological sites. Their motivation was to help preserve artifacts of an ancient culture. Read morePublished on July 3, 2006 by Dennis Littrell
It's a true-life thriller that gave me valuable insight into Iraq during this war, with texture the news reports could never give, as well as the human experiences both of being a... Read morePublished on May 22, 2006 by Marisabella G
I just finished listening to the audio version of this book. It must be noted that Micah Garen was kidnapped along with his translator, Amir. Read morePublished on February 9, 2006 by L. Sadler