From Publishers Weekly
For a harrowing seven months of captivity, Rohde, a Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times foreign correspondent on assignment in war-torn Afghanistan, survived after being kidnapped, with two Afghan colleagues, by the Taliban in November 2008, suffering from all of the cruel terrorist maneuvering and hapless government countermoves during the crisis. Rohde wrote a series of articles for the Times about his experiences, but here Rohde alternates chapters with Mulvihill, to whom he had been married for two months at the time of his kidnapping. In suspenseful prose, he recounts his abduction and she describes her efforts, along with those of the Times, to secure his release by writing everyone in government and negotiating with the Taliban. Rohde's escape, with one of his colleagues, received major media coverage. Possibly the most informative segments of the book are the masterly observations of life with the jihadists, the chaotic Pakistani tribal areas and the topsy-turvy war itself. This potent story of love and conflict ends well, but not without making some smart and edgy commentary on terrorism, hostage negotiation, political agendas, and the human heart. Map. (Nov.)
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New York Times reporter Rohde writes about his ordeal as a hostage of the Taliban, after he was kidnapped in Afghanistan in November 2008. Rohde covered most of this story in a five-part series in the New York Times, available online. The new element here is the juxtaposition of his narrative with that of his wife’s, Kristen Mulvihill, who describes her own agony and quest to have Rohde freed. Even though the pieces are in place for a thrilling account from both parties, the writing on Mulvihill’s part feels flat and predictable. This may be because, as with the accounts of the Daniel Pearl tragedy from his wife’s perspective, we already know the outcome. Rohde’s portion is by far the most readable. His accounts of the difficulties of reporting from this danger-pocked landscape and his descriptions of his second-guessing himself about his reporting choices are especially compelling. --Connie Fletcher
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