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Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran Hardcover – March 30, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A spot-on chronicle of the paranoia and utter buffoonery of the Iranian government and its apparatchiks. . . . Saberi spent five months in Evin Prison fighting for her life. She would say that she fought for her soul as well. Her redemption is this compassionate and courageous memoir.” (Susanne Pari, The San Francisco Chronicle)

Between Two Worlds is an extraordinary story of how an innocent young woman got caught up in the current of political events and met individuals whose stories vividly depict human rights violations in Iran.” (Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize)

“Saberi tells the chilling story of her 100 harrowing days in Evin Prison with finely etched detail and heroic candor in an unforgettable chronicle of an all-too-common assault against universal human rights, justice, and truth.” (Booklist (starred review))

“A compelling and painful story about a young woman tangled in a legal system that was deciding her fate in an almost labyrinthic and surrealistic way.” (Guillermo Arriaga, author, director, and screenwriter)

“Saberi’s moving descriptions of prison scenes and judicial settings offer one of the best accounts of what takes place in the darkest corners of the Islamic Republic. Authoritarian regimes have yet to learn not to imprison, on spurious charges, talented authors and journalists, contributing to the enrichment of prison literature.” (Reza Afshari, author of Human Rights in Iran: The Abuse of Cultural Relativism)

“Saberi shows us she is neither a delicate beauty queen nor a fearless reporter. And this is why her story is so powerful. . . . Through this complex self-portrait, she hopes more of the world will demand an end to the human rights catastrophe in Iran.” (Eileen Flynn, The Austin American-Statesman)

“With no factional axe to grind, Saberi’s English-language memoir provides a candid, timely look at the injustices suffered by prisoners of conscience within Evin’s walls. … Ultimately, Saberi’s memoir brings us up-to-date on the state of Iran’s prisons, and the picture is grim.” (Elham Gheytanchi, Ms. magazine (blog)>)

“Eminent reading. . . . Between Two Worlds is about courage in the face of adversity, about overcoming fear in the pursuit of truth and faith in God in the most trying circumstances. These virtues stood her through the prison ordeal and now in telling her story.” (Time Out Doha)

“An incredibly riveting account of every journalist’s worst nightmare come true in Iran. In poignantly telling her own story, Roxana Saberi takes us inside the world of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, introducing us to a remarkable cast of women who have been otherwise forgotten.” (Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

“The author vividly conveys the fear, confusion and uncertainty experienced by an innocent person trapped in a repressive system where human rights norms have no meaning. Despite her ordeal, she draws strength and inspiration from other women prisoners of conscience detained with her in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.” (Elise Auerbach, Iran specialist for Amnesty International USA)

“To read Roxana’s re-telling of her ordeal is to take a rare and eye-opening walk through Iran’s horrible human rights record. … A powerful testament to the fortitude of human soul and its ability to survive the most daunting of situations.” (Hadi Ghaemi, Director of International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)

“A story of redemption and grace. . . . Saberi’s principled stand and her willingness to speak out about her ordeal has made her an ambassador for press freedom and human rights. . . . This compelling and moving account is a tale of resistance.” (Joel Simon, Executive Director of Committee to Protect Journalists)

“A compelling and moving personal story about triumph over adversity and a unique portrayal of Iran’s judicial system, life in Evin, the system’s callousness, and the daily injustices. Her measured assessment of the Iranian experience is a further tribute to her profound understanding of the country and its people.” (Feature Story News)

“The most compelling passages are about a form of religious experience - the struggle of this young American-Iranian as she moves from false ‘confessions’ calculated to secure freedom to fierce truth-telling that grants her an inner liberation so powerful that even death is no longer frightening. (Roger Cohen, The New York Times)

“Saberi recounts the stories of her fellow prisoners, human rights workers and others, many of whom were arrested for their religious or political beliefs. . . .She was saved by international attention to her case and makes a plea for increased international vigilance. (Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times)

“The author writes eloquently of both the brutality and beauty - in bonding with her cellmates, and even connecting with her guards - she experienced in Evin. And most importantly, in telling her own story, Saberi has raised critical awareness of so many other political prisoners who remain silenced in captivity.” (Heather Horiuchi, Nichi Bei Weekly)

“I highly recommend Between Two Worlds, no matter how much or little you know of the situation in Iran. Seasoned activists will see. . . why they do what they do; the casual reader will glean a sense of what the citizens of Iran face daily.” (United4Iran.com blog)

From the Back Cover

On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage—a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated, and cut off from the outside world. For weeks, neither her family nor her friends knew her whereabouts.

After a sham trial that made headlines around the world, the thirty-one-year-old reporter was sentenced to eight years in prison. But following international pressure by family, friends, colleagues, various governments, and total strangers, she was released on appeal on May 11, 2009. Now Saberi breaks her silence to share the full account of her ordeal, describing in vivid detail the methods that Iranian hard-liners are using to try to intimidate and control many of the country's people.

In this gripping and inspirational true story, Saberi writes movingly of her imprisonment, her trial, her eventual release, and the faith that helped her through it all. Her recollections are interwoven with insights into Iranian society, the Islamic regime, and U.S.-Iran relations, as well as stories of her fellow prisoners—many of whom were jailed for their pursuit of human rights, including freedom of speech, association, and religion. Saberi gains strength and wisdom from her cellmates who support her throughout a grueling hunger strike and remind her of the humanity that remains, even when they are denied the most basic rights.

Between Two Worlds is also a deeply revealing account of this tumultuous country and the ongoing struggle for freedom that is being fought inside Evin Prison and on the streets of Iran. From her heartfelt perspective, Saberi offers a rich, dramatic, and illuminating portrait of Iran as it undergoes a striking, historic transformation.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061965286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061965289
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,414,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roxana Saberi is an author and journalist. She is currently based in New York City and reports for Al Jazeera America.

She moved to Iran in 2003 to work as the Iran correspondent for the U.S.-based Feature Story News. She filed reports for organizations such as NPR, BBC, ABC Radio and Fox News and was working on a book about Iran when she was arrested on January 31, 2009. Saberi was later sentenced to eight years in prison on a trumped-up charge of espionage. In May 2009, an Iranian court overturned the sentence, and she was released.

After returning to the United States, Saberi wrote Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran, which was published by HarperCollins and has been translated into several languages. She also worked as a freelance journalist, with articles published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, and Chicago Tribune. She has been interviewed by organizations such as FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, CNN, PRI, NPR, and C-SPAN, as well as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Saberi has spoken across the United States and has traveled to Europe, South America, and the Middle East to speak with the public, media, and government officials about Iran, human rights, and overcoming adversity.

She has received the Medill Medal of Courage, the Ilaria Alpi Freedom of the Press Award, the NCAA Award of Valor, a Project for Middle East Democracy Award, an East-West Freedom Award from the Levantine Cultural Center, and the Concordia College Sent Forth Award. She was named one of Jaycees' 2011 Ten Outstanding Young Americans and was honored by the Japanese American Citizens League as an "Outstanding Woman." In September 2011, she was chosen as a "commended" artist for the Freedom to Create Main Prize.

Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and Akiko Saberi, who is from Japan. She was chosen Miss North Dakota in 1997 and was among the top ten finalists in Miss America 1998. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in communications and French.

Saberi holds her first master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and her second master's degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I admit, when I first heard the story about Roxana Saberi, I was skeptical. There were things reported by the press that contradictory and her first interview back with NPR and Good Morning America gave the impression that she was hiding a lot. That being said, I was interested enough to hear what she had to say that I purchased the book through amazon.com.

Overall, the book is an interesting and easy read. The first chapter was kind of a slow start and I was worried that this type of writing was going to carrying on throughout the whole book, but by the third chapter, the writing improves greatly. This could be attributed to the fact that memoir-writing is much different than journalism and non-fiction and she needed to get her feet wet a little bit while setting up the scene. Once the scene is set, however, the book has an excellent flow.

In Between Two Worlds, Saberi talks in detail about her experience with her interrogators and the story of her cell mates. I cannot imagine the psychological torture that Ms. Saberi went through, but she does an excellent job of conveying the difficult situation she was in. When she talks about her interrogator, a man she nicknamed Javon, you can picture what he must have been like and how he must have behaved, including the arrogant manner one would assume that he carries himself in.

As she talks about her experience, facts about Iran are peppered in, but not too heavily. I think the balance she found worked well. Some of the facts a well-read individual would know, some definitely would come only from someone who has been living inside of the culture.

I appreciate the fact that Saberi remained respectful towards Iran, a country that often fuels partisan comments.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I remember when Roxana Saberi was in the news. She was an Iranian-American reporter who had been detained by Iranian authorities, and the U.S. State Department was pulling diplomatic strings to negotiate her release. For many people watching the news, this was just another story of a reporter who had somehow run afoul of the Iranian government's inscrutable laws, and who would, after a few scary moments, be reunited with her family. I knew better. But I did not know nearly enough.

I had heard that Ms. Saberi was being held in the notorious Evin prison, a prison known for its torture and its unusually high "accidental" death rate. I knew something of Evin because, as a member of the Bahá'í Faith, I was aware that a growing number of my Iranian coreligionists were being jailed in Evin for no other reason than that they were Bahá'ís. Some had received prison sentences as long as 20 years. I had heard of the appalling conditions in that prison and the brutal interrogation techniques, sometimes involving torture, that were used to induce prisoners to recant their faith or make false confessions. I had heard how 4 or 5 prisoners were forced to share a cell no larger than a walk-in closet, with nothing but a thin blanket separating them from the cold and filthy concrete floor. But notwithstanding all of those stories, it was not until I read Ms. Saberi's first-hand account of her ordeal in that prison that I started to catch a glimpse of the true horrors my spiritual brothers and sisters are experiencing, and the mortal danger to which they are daily exposed. Although Ms. Saberi is not a Bahá'í, she shared a cell with two Bahá'í women for a time and was subject to similar treatment.

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Format: Hardcover
Roxana Saberi's book, "Between Two Worlds," chronicals her time spent as a journalist in Evin Prison in Iran. Young Saberi has been followed for years and finally before she decides to leave the country, the authorities arrest her on trumped up charges of being a "spy." She had been living in Iran for six years as a journalist and was writing a book about Iranian society. Well, she involunarily saw more of Iranian society than she bargained for; she saw the inside of the notorious Evin Prison. As Saberi was imprisoned on trumped up charges, she would soon find others imprisoned under similar circumstances. She found true freindship with the women she shared her cell with. The world needs this book to see human rights abuses as told first hand. This Islamic Regime imprisons innocents for their work on AIDS. They imprison religious minorities including Baha'is, political activists and others. If the Islamic Iranian regime treats innocent people this way by imprisoning them, torturing them, and withholding basic human rights, the rest of the world needs to know it and needs to denounce it. Thank you Ms. Saberi, for bringing the plight of ordinary Iranians to our attention. I sincerely hope the world will read your book and become outraged.
Comment 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I am in the 7th grade and homeschooled. My mom and dad had me read Ms. Saberi's book for school. I learned a lot of things that I can use in my life from Ms. Saberi and I think I am lucky to have learned those lessons. One lesson that I learned in the book is how to deal with bullies. The men that came and got Ms. Saberi were bullies that had a lot of power and were able to trap her in prison. They are a lot like bullies that are in schools, who make people afraid of them and do what they want them to do, because people are scared. Bullies in school finally stop bothering you when you finally stand up for yourself and Ms. Saberi stood up for herself. She didn't do it in a bad way, where she beat them up, but she did it in knowing who she was and what she was about and not letting them hurt the person she is inside. Even though the bullies made Ms Saberi feel sad and bad at first, once she said, "No way! This is not who I am and why should they win and make me someone I am not!" and she was able to be very brave and stand up to them. I think that kids should learn a lot from that.

I also learned a lot on how to look for happy things even if things seem really sad. Even though Ms. Saberi was away from all the people she loved and all of the things she enjoyed by being in prison, she was able to find things to be happy about in jail. I thought it was funny that she taught inmates how to swear and that they told jokes. I also thought it was neat how she became such good friends and did things like her eyebrows. It showed me that no matter how bad things might seem and even if you are in a place you don't want to be in, there is always something to find to be happy about.
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