- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061965286
- ASIN: B004E3XI76
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 159 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #977,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 30, 2010
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“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 )
From the Back Cover
In early 2009, Roxana Saberi, an American journalist born to Iranian and Japanese parents, was forced from her home in Tehran, secretly detained, and falsely accused of espionage—then sentenced to eight years in prison. Between Two Worlds is the gripping and inspirational true story of her harrowing imprisonment and the faith that got her through it, until an international outcry helped secure her release.
Along the way, Saberi gained strength from other prisoners—brave women jailed for their pursuit of human rights such as the freedom of speech and religion. This memoir of her struggle to be true to herself regardless of the consequences also offers penetrating insights into Iranian society, the Islamic regime, U.S.-Iran relations, and the historic changes sweeping Iran today.
Between Two Worlds is a timeless, universal story of the trials and triumphs of the human spirit, as well as a dramatic, illuminating account of the ongoing battle for freedom in Iran.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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I remember picking this book off the non-fiction new release shelf of my public library in 2010 and thinking about how brave I was. I’d just started reading non-fiction, and I hadn’t even made it to memoirs. I’d mainly dabbled in true crime narratives, which was as close to keeping with my weekly diet of forensic and coroner programs. Saberi’s beautiful face called to me. I’ve always had an interest in Middle Eastern culture, especially that of Iran and its ancient roots going back to Cyrus. Unfortunately, I didn’t get past page 90 before I had to return the book and later forgot about her–that is until two years ago when I found a copy of her book in new condition. Score! Now I've finally finished it!
Saberi, of both Japanese and Iranian heritage, accepts a job as a journalist in Tehran for an American reporting group. Raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Roxana jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her Iranian roots and culture. Knowing minimal Farsi and next to nothing about the culture/regime, she is soon adopted into the city, and falls in love with its people, by extension her people. While there, she decides to write a book about Iran that will give outsiders a true view of life there from various points of view. She interviews hundreds of individuals from all parts of the country, and from all walks of life. After six years and with her book nearly complete, Roxana is set to return home to the United States, work on getting her book published, and decide what direction her life will next take. What she isn’t prepared for is sudden detainment, interrogation, and imprisonment at Evin prison under trumped-up charges of espionage just months before her departure.
One of my favorite summer reads last year was Maziar Bahari’s Then They Came for Me, about his imprisonment at Evin prison following his journalistic reporting about the 2009 campaign elections. This one was equally wonderful in that it was told from a female journalist’s perspective. Unlike Bahari, Saberi was not kept in solitary confinement for her whole stay, and as a result, her accounts about the various female cellmates warmed and broke my heart. All of these women were courageous, and I found this book to be uplifting. I experienced similar feelings to Saberi upon her release by proxy, having met each of these women.
"My tears were of both joy and sorrow: joy at my freedom but sorrow for the prisoners of conscience I was leaving behind, who were being punished simply because of their peaceful pursuit of basic human rights or for their beliefs."
It's apparent that Roxana Saberi was being used as a pawn in a much larger game: the competition between the hard-liners in Iran and the neo-conservative hawks in the United States. Given the U.S. Government's record of interference in Iran, including the 1953 CIA coup against the democratically elected Prime Minister Mossedegh, our support of Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war leading to the deaths of 240,000 Iranians, in some sense I do understand Iran's paranoia concerning free-lance American journalists residing in Iran. Nonetheless, there was no excuse for holding an innocent young American captive for many months, even as the Iranian government appeared to recognize that Roxana was no spy after all.
Having visited Iran recently, I found this book to be a fascinating and well-written account of a innocent person being caught up in events few could have foreseen. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in the dynamic events of modern day Iran.