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Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui Hardcover – January 17, 2012

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Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui + The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam + Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; F First Edition edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060898976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060898977
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Scroggins, with her journalistic doggedness, does a remarkable job of reporting and reconstruction, and WANTED WOMEN serves as a valuable contribution to contemporary history, recounting two ways in which a modern woman’s identity can be hers for the making—even if the outcome is tragic.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Scroggins attempts to give a thorough biographical treatment to two women who remain enigmas, despite their status as public figures. The book alternates between each woman’s story, making for riveting suspense. . . . A fascinating story that reflects this polarized era.” (Washington Post)

“Gripping and finely textured. . . . By flipping between the two lives, the book cleverly shows how both women were influenced by successive events in history. . . . It does add greatly to the understanding of several interlocking conflicts, some grand and geopolitical and others intimate and personal.” (The Economist)

“While the parallels are fascinating, the book’s strength is in its clear-eyed yet sympathetic storytelling. Somehow Scroggins manages to convert a mountain of research into a fast-paced, truly gripping pair of stories.” (Boston Globe)

“Riveting.” (Marie Claire)

“Scroggins’ research is wide-ranging and impeccable, and she keeps readers on the edge of their seats with her compelling prose. If we can understand Siddiqui and Ali, then we will have a better chance of understanding the war on terror.” (Booklist (starred review))

“This meticulously researched, skillfully narrated account offers a nuanced look at political Islam and the “war on terror” through the eyes of two women on the front lines.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Wanted Women reads like a mystery as one event unfolds into another. . . . Thought-provoking and thorough, Scroggins’s comprehensive book offers a unique perspective on the tensions between Islam and the West as seen through the life stories of two very different and influential women.” (Christian Science Monitor)

From the Back Cover

A riveting look at militant Islam, Muslim women’s rights, and the war on terror—brought into focus through two lives on opposite sides: activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and religious extremist Aafia Siddiqui.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former member of the Dutch Parliament and the author of the international bestseller Infidel, was raised as a Muslim fundamentalist in Kenya. A feminist, political analyst, writer, and fierce critic of her former religion, she champions the West in what she insists must be a war against Islam. Hirsi Ali’s personal tale of courage in the face of constant threats from violent, fanatic enemies has won the admiration of millions in America and around the world.

Aafia Siddiqui, a native of Pakistan, moved to the United States to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience. A decade later, she returned to Pakistan, where her involvement with al-Qaeda, including her marriage to one of the 9/11 plotters, led the CIA to regard her as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Her disappearance, capture, and conviction in a New York City courtroom for attempted murder have earned her, too, admiration across the globe—from millions of radical Islamists.

Reconstructing the histories of these two women, award-winning author and journalist Deborah Scroggins weaves a provocative true-life thriller from two separate but strangely parallel lives in a time of bitter battle. Based on remarkable original research and reporting, Wanted Women traces their origins to explain why they chose opposite paths and how each has risen to become revered and reviled as an international symbol of her beliefs. Scroggins reveals controversial details about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui, and about the political machinations that have transformed them into emblems of a civilizational struggle. Wanted Women provides an illustrative take on our time, stripping away the illusions—about women, war, faith, and power—that have distorted the conflict on both sides.

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Customer Reviews

Ms. Scroggins did an excellent job presenting the life stories of Aafia Siddiqui and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Plus the english is quite poor and I skipped very easily over many sections in certain chapters as it was run on information not adding anything to the story.
In the absence of such an incredibly gifted investigative journalist/author (Deborah Scroggins) - this book might have easily become a mediocre mess.
William Dahl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In addition to being a fascinating, detailed biography of two women, Wanted Women is a thoughtful meditation on the dangers of fundamentalism. Scroggins clearly argues that Aafia and Ayaan are opposites, not moral equivalents. And yet, both women's fundamentalist, "Us vs. Them" view of the world makes for an interesting comparison. After finishing the book, the irony of the immoderate "US vs. Them" attacks from Ayaan's camp by book reviewers is heightened. They could not have read the same book I did. If they had, they would know that moderation, not fundamentalism, is the key to retaining credibility. As Scroggins does, throughout Wanted Women.
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74 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on January 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The topic of "political Islam", always a magnet for reader's attention since September 11, has been cleverly and cynically trotted out for assessment and relative-values dissection in "Wanted Women", a "dual biography" of two women raised in the culture and the creed, but who espoused diametrically opposite postures on the matter. The author, Deborah Scroggins, is supposedly a "veteran reporter" but, in "Wanted Women", she abandons objectivity and adopts the more lofty position of Grand Inquisitor. The book is a terrible screed and is remarkable only for the cynicism of the author.

Unfortunately for large segments of the Arab and non-Arab Muslim worlds, their "star" has followed a rapid trajectory from the firmament. During the glory days of the caliphites, when Islamic giants strode the world, large chunks of the globe fell under the Islamic ambit, both intellectually (astronomy, math, etc) and politically. The Empire falls; the trajectory until the relatively recent past has been one of precipitous descent. Crash phase finally happened with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War.

As Western colonial empires collapsed and the Islamic world searched for a new direction, various ideologies captured Muslim public and elites' attentions, pan-Arab Nasserism being one well-known example. Apart from the fortuitous presence of oceans of oil, the social, economic and political economies of most Islamic (and all Arab) countries languished in the doldrums under various authoritarian regimes: check reports from Freedom House, United Nations Development Report for particulars (if needed).

Not surprisingly, this situation presented fertile ground for the newest (or oldest) panacea: religion, in this case political Islam.
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Lansner on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Deborah Scroggins multi-year investigation of the lives and actions of two women deeply involved in "The War on Terror" began from the author's premise that "suppression of women was as basic to the ideology of radical Islam as racism had been to the old American South or as anti-Semitism was to Nazi Germany."

The role of radical Islam in the lives of the Wanted Women's two principal protagonists is at the core of this book. Scroggins' remarkable investigative journalism brings both Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui alive in the pages of "Wanted Women," and provides readers with a gripping narrative that details how these two women -- each born in strongly patriarchal Muslim societies -- moved far beyond the roles to which women in most Muslim societies are usually relegated.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect is how Scroggins seeks to unravel how one women, Hirsi Ali, a self-made exile, became a powerful and uncompromising crusader against all of Islam, while the other, Aafia Siddiqui, educated at America's finest universities, turned increasingly radical and apparently to an active role in terrorism directed against the United States. Scroggins' long, painstaking and risky investigation of Al-Qaeda networks in Pakistan is gripping, and reveals the serious threat that Islamist radicals can still pose.

The book's discussion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is equally absorbing. With the encouragement of Dutch officials to claim that she was fleeing Somalia, she was able to claim refugee status in Holland after leaving her home in Kenya -- a bureaucratic lie that later helped see her leave the Dutch parliament.
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Gray Campbell on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In the genre of 'Parallel Lives', Deborah Scroggins' Wanted Women stands as a remarkable double-biography of Aafia Siddiqui and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Reading the scurrilous reviews of Scroggins' book on Amazon, however -- reviews that are obviously the work of hired hands -- I was struck by the laughably one-dimensional character of the commentators' criticism. Hostile reviewers of Scroggins' book claim that the author equates Siddiqui and Hirsi Ali as moral forces. But Scroggins never makes such an assertion, clearly stating that the subjects of her study are opposites -- not twins -- on the global stage. Scroggins' method is comparison, not equation. Above all, the hostile reviews included in these pages are indicative of an increasingly desperate attempt to salvage the reputation of a remarkable -- if fallen -- political star, one whose influence was immense, but whose power has now dramatically waned. Wanted Women is biographical dynamite -- but not because it drafts comparisons of an unfair and incendiary nature. The book is investigative journalism at its most clear-eyed and precise. It is also biography at its most thrilling. (NYC)
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