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Kidnapped in Yemen: One Woman's Amazing Escape from Captivity Hardcover – July 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159228728X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592287284
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,900,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A high-level Xerox executive who loves adventure, Quin joins a small group touring Yemen over Christmas 1998, and 19 tourists travel around that conservative Islamic country in five Toyota Land Cruisers. As the convoy heads south out of the mountains, it is intercepted by armed Yemeni kidnappers who apparently want hostages for a prisoner exchange. The Yemeni army stages a rescue attempt, and four tourists and two kidnappers are killed. Unlike a typical survivor of such an attack, Quin is not content to return to her cushy job and beautiful Rochester home. Desperate for information about the kidnappers, she scours the Internet researching their subsequent trial, their motives, and their prior political activities. In the summer of 2000, she resigns her job and becomes involved with global women's rights issues. She travels to Afghanistan, discovers her kidnappers' ties to Yemen's Aden-Abyan Islamic Army and the Taliban, and eventually returns to Yemen. Now running her own business in Anchorage, Alaska, Quin tells a remarkable story. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Back Cover

At the moment when Mary Quin ripped an AK-47 from the hands of a wounded kidnapper and made her escape in the Yemen desert, she knew her life would never be the same. She and fifteen fellow tourists had been used as human shields in a terrifying gun battle between the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army and Yemeni troops. When the shooting stopped, four hostages and two kidnappers were dead.
In Kidnapped in Yemen, author Mary Quin details her experiences as an avid traveler and women's rights advocate, a rewarding life filled with extraordinary adventures that led to a tour of Yemen, one of the most conservative Islamic countries in the world. But her exotic vacation quickly turned into a gripping account of ambush and captivity, violence and imminent death.
Lucky to be among those who survived the rescue unharmed, Quin returned to the United States. Amid a barrage of media attention, including an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she attempted to resume her corporate career but found herself preoccupied with trying to understand why the kidnapping occurred.
Her fascinating personal journey through murky militant Islam and clandestine terrorist groups led her back to Yemen to try to piece together the puzzle-talking to then Yemeni Prime Minister Abdel Karim al-Iryani, British embassy staff, the FBI, prisoners accused of terrorism, and others involved in the kidnapping and the disastrous aftermath of the rescue. Her inquiries also took her to London to meet Abu Hamza al-Masri, a legendary cleric with hooks for hands and ties to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army.
Kidnapped in Yemen is the unforgettable firsthand account of this remarkable woman's unusual story of curiosity, survival, and healing.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Palosaari VINE VOICE on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quin has an appealing writing style and writes on issues of great import. They say you should write what you know, and write real characters. Quin does both.

Any disappointment with the book is more related to how it is billed then the book itself. There are a few chapters here and there that relate less to the events of the kidnapping, and simply more to the events of Quin's life, that could perhaps be edited for a more streamlined work. In a 22 chapter book, it gives nothing away to say that in the 4th chapter she is freed- this book has less to do with being kidnapped, or escaping, than the after-effects of a kidnapping on the life of a woman and geopolitical events.

And for that it is an incredible resource. Though this is an engaging read, it is also nonfiction, and thus provides a great deal of relevent information on life in Yemen and the situation in an Islamist kidnapping (as opposed to a tribal kidnapping). As I contemplate possibly moving to this country, Quin gives solid warnings on possible dangers to be faced there. Additionally, there are a wealth of insights on how an individual deals with the stress of a kidnapping; how it can change their lives and bring to light new possibliies that would never have existed otherwise. Quin is not only a great writer but also an excellent researcher. I was continually amazed at her ability to uncover truth, connect seemingly disparate circumstances, and gain information form interviewees by putting them at ease and yet asking the hard questions. If you are interested in the effects of kidnapping, the situation in Yemen, or the events of the modern terrorist world, then this is an requisite book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jazz It Up Baby on June 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
About this book, Daniel Pipes wrote: In her mid-40s, a successful executive just placed in charge of Xerox's Color Solutions Business Unit, Quin had a taste for exotic travel that took her in late 1998 to Yemen with a group of eighteen other Western tourists. She and they had the misfortune to have their Land Cruisers driven directly into a war between the government and an Islamist outfit called the Aden Abyan Islamic Army (AAIA). The entire tourist group was taken hostage on December 28 and held for more than a day before Yemeni military forces attacked the AAIA, leading to the deaths of four tourists, two terrorists, and one soldier. Quin herself had a close brush with death, but the terrorist holding the gun in her back was hit before he could do damage to her; in an act of daring-do, she managed to pull from his still-live hands his AK-47, an act which left her a changed person. (The mild-mannered, liberal feminist admits that as she exultantly fought for the gun, she had a revelation: "So this is why men like war.")

The story of the capture takes up but the first quarter of Kidnapped in Yemen; the remainder consists of Quin's personal account, mixed with her sleuthing to figure out what had happened to her and her companions. Through assiduous press research plus personal investigations that took her to London's Finsbury Park mosque (to meet the notorious Abu Hamza) as well as a journey back to Yemen and the scene of the crime, she comes up with a coherent account of the tensions that culminated in her seizure. In addition to making available the story of an important terrorist incident, once which foreshadowed the current problem of Western Muslims traveling to Iraq to engage in violence, Quin provides a fine account of her own growth, indeed transformation, as a result of her brief but searing experience as a hostage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Gould on October 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Kidnapped in Yemen by Mary Quin is one of the most moving books I have ever read. I have never finished a book and just wanted to call the author and say: "Hi, I loved your book, it spoke to me on so many levels, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you writing it."
I'm sure there were many painful moments in the research, which took the author back to that life threatening event. She touched deeply on so many topics that are near to my heart: New Zealand~a country I love, Alaska~my home for the past twenty-five years, Hunting~putting words to the incredible experience of a hunt, Relationship~finding someone to love amid the mêlée, and last but certainly not least, the experience of being a hostage. Two of my family members were held hostage and Mary Quin's description of what happened during and after that life changing event rang so true to me. She touches very delicate subjects with clarity and understanding that was obviously hard-fought. Marvelous book and I thank the author for `risking' and writing this important piece of literature.
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By Edith on December 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was special for me because a friend of mine was among the group kidnapped. However, the book is amazing because of what followed the kidnapping and how the author kept with her quest to find out why it had happened and who the kidnappers were. She was extraordinarily successful, which makes for riveting reading and insight into the minds of the men she hunted.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Case on February 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am currently studying Arabic in Sana'a, Yemen and read this book while preparing for my trip. Now that I am here, this book really annoys me. Quin was part a of tour group being led around the country in what can only be considered spoon-fed tourism. I see these kind of groups walking around Sana'a all the time and it is as if they are moving in a bubble, completely isolated from the native people around them. While being led by the hand around the country, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time but was lucky enough to not be hit in the crossfire. Her story might make a good magazine article but is hardly substantial enough to warrant a book deal. The result leaves the last three-fourths of the book to describe her mundane personal life, "research" of media articles that leads to nothing conclusive, and another week-long, hand-held trip to Yemen.

In my opinion, you shouldn't write about a country unless you actually know something about it. Tim Mackintosh-Smith lived in Yemen for over a decade before writing his book and Steven Caton lived with a Yemeni tribe for a significant amount of time too. I would recommend either of their books over this one.
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