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Prisoners of Hope: The Story of Our Captivity and Freedom in Afghanistan Paperback – December 16, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the eagerly anticipated story of the two Christian aid workers from Waco, Tex., who were imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan shortly before the September 11 attacks on America. Because so many Americans followed their plight in the press, the behind-the-scenes details of their 105-day ordeal will inevitably be riveting. Unfortunately, the narrative is told in a weaving fashion that shuttles back and forth between Curry's voice, Mercer's voice and their joint perspective. Moreover, much of their story of monotonous prison life does not lend itself well to straightforward chronological narrative. Instead, the book is organized loosely by themes, places and people, and often leaps ahead of itself in confusing ways. Despite these frustrations and a surprisingly weak fade-to-black ending that barely mentions God or the faith that has sustained the missionaries throughout, the book is compelling. Readers will learn of the individual paths that led Curry and Mercer first to Christ and then to Kabul. Especially heartbreaking are the stories of all the Afghan families who were relying on the women for life-saving support and who were abruptly cut off at the time of their arrest. Perhaps most powerful is the honesty with which Mercer discusses her spiritual difficulties in captivity. This is not the story of larger-than-life heroines whose faith never wavers in the face of persecution; readers are allowed glimpses into Mercer's very real despair and the rift it caused in the group of prisoners. This gritty sense of the real life of ordinary, believing Americans keeps the pages turning.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry decided to go to help people who needed help. Their faith led them to Afghanistan. One woman who knows them best put it this way: they had a calling to serve the poorest of the poor, and Afghanistan is where that calling took them. And Heather and Dayna's faith in God sustained them throughout their ordeal. It's a wonderful story about prayer, about a faith that can sustain people in good times and in bad times. Their faith was a source of hope that kept them from becoming discouraged. I talked to them right after their release, their freedom, and I sensed no bitterness in their voice, no fatigue, just joy. It was an uplifting experience for me to talk to these courageous souls." –President George W. Bush


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (December 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578566460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578566464
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This story is our story, the story of the privileged people of the United States who followed the unfolding news events surrounding these two captives with prayer mingled with confusion. Why were they in Afghanistan to begin with? What had they done to warrant imprisonment? This book reveals the answers through Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer's heartfelt sincerity and honest story of fear and faith--and it challenges Americans to examine what they truly believe about freedom, including the freedom to worship.
Though every reader will of course know the ending of this story before they begin, I can't imagine anyone not being moved by the compassion of these two women who simply wanted to demonstrate Christ's love in tangible ways to people who've been ignored by most of the world. Their desire to serve, to create opportunities, to care for the neglected people of Afghanistan reveals a selflessness to which we should all aspire. This is not a story of missionaries bent on converting the masses; it's a tale of two who longed to give their lives in meaningful service to meet the needs of others--and along the way share a glimpse of the faith that has given them hearts full of love.
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Format: Hardcover
Having followed the story of their arrest on the news, I eagerly snatched up this book. Once I got into its pages, I could see that many will be offended by this story. Why? Because they will not understand it. You can understand what drove these women only if you have experienced similar faith and have lived a similar ministry.
I can understand where Dayna and Heather are coming from. We get their religious background, how they came to know and love God. We see how they felt drawn to Afghanistan to help the downtrodden. I was touched by their ministry to the poor. So much of it was practical, such as giving clothing and food. But the two also realized how these people, living under so hard a regime, needed hope. So the two walked a fine line, giving hope without actively converting.
Maybe some will see Dayna's and Heather's weaknesses, as when they were imprisoned and discouraged. But I saw their strengths, how they never stopped loving, how they continued to minister--giving food, clothing, etc., to fellow prisoners. I saw how they continued to give hope, teaching songs, telling stories,... Even cold, ill, or hungry, they still put others before themselves. And I was touched at the goodness of the Afghani people, their hospitality.
Dayna and Heather displayed no bitterness or resentment in their story. We see this story as part of their personal spiritual growth. I feel those who know them are lucky.
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By A Customer on June 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a moving story - thank you Dayna & Heather.
Ultimately this is not about Afghanistan, 9/11 or events in history but about two young individuals hearing God's voice and heading the words, "Go!" A very compelling story that will lead you to ponder how you would respond to the same. Pardon the pun, but it is indeed a captivating read.
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By A Customer on June 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Some people may have a problem with the fact that Heather Mercer and Dana Curry are Christians, but I don't think anyone can doubt that they are dedicated and courageous souls. My daughter, whose a big admirer of these girls, gave me this book for father's day and I wasn't sure I would really like it, but I have to say that I found it really interesting. It almost felt like an adventure story at times, kind of exciting with their arrest and with US troops coming in to Afhganistan. And through it all they just held themselves together with prayer and their faith in God. I hope my daughter doesn't take off like they did, but I do really think they're brave for putting their lives in danger like they did for what they believe.
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Format: Hardcover
The vicious attacks by some of these reviewers is truly frightening. No matter what someone may think of the particular beliefs of these two young woman, who can doubt that they are especially virtuous people? They are attractive, educated, talented women who freely chose to live in a hostile and poor country to minister to the people's phsyical and spiritual needs.
The writing is fair. Their story is pretty interesting. They give us a decent window into a world that all Americans need to better understand. But the best part of the book to me is their deep love and respect for the Afghani people. These are pretty rough people that very few Westerners would dare visit, never mind live among. But these two women clearly fell in love with the Afghanis. Really interesting to see how this happens.
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Format: Hardcover
I am surprised at some of the negative reviews this book has received. I found it so interesting I couldn't put it down. I didn't find that their mission was about forcing religion on anybody. These courageous young women chose to go into a war torn country run by terrorists to help what they considered to be the poorest of the poor. They did not force religion on anybody, they only shared when asked, and always made it clear that it was very risky. They did a lot of charitable work, and a lot of their work was not focused on religion at all. They helped handicapped children, helped widows get pension, even helped a family start a business. They volunteered at a hospital, even learned to speak in the common used language. They donated food, read to children, and prayed for others when asked. This book was not about two women forcing Christianity on Muslims, it is about two courageous women, going to help opressed and starving people in a war torn country with the risk of their lives. I am sure not many U.S. citizens are willing to do that.

I also am speaking objectively when I say I don't believe they were forcing their religious beliefs on the Muslim community because I do not share the same religious beliefs that these women do. I still found it a fascinating book, and commend their courage.

One poor choice was their faces on the cover. They are so darned pretty and middle class looking that you find it hard to believe the suffering they went through in a Taliban prison. Just a thought!!
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