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A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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In this jointly authored memoir, three young, globetrotting journalists recount their two-year imprisonment in Iran. Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd inadvertently hiked into unmarked Iranian territory where they were arrested and taken to a prison to be interrogated. The book details how the three rebelled against captivity by relying on one another for support and coordinating group hunger strikes. The trio describe with forceful detail how, despite frequent moves between prisons, they developed intense and diverse relationships with their captors. Even so, Iranian civil servants accuse the three of entering Iran on behalf of the CIA and Israel. Upon an unexpected release, Sarah uses her newfound celebrity to recruit help to secure the release of Shane and Josh, but this proves difficult and all the more pressing as Shane and Josh’s trial date looms. This engaging story portrays the horrors of imprisonment and the danger that awaits any intrepid traveler who becomes mired between the antipathy of two governments. --Steve Uhrich
"Riveting and necessary and illuminating in countless unexpected ways. The hikers have pulled off the almost impossible task of making from their hellish experience something of beauty and grace." — Dave Eggers
"A Sliver of Light weaves a spellbinding tale of hard-won survival at the intersection of courage and love — the love of friends struggling to support one another in wretched circumstances, the unyielding bedrock of mothers' love for their long-lost children, and the fiercely tested love of three people for the family of humankind. It is a triumph of writing born of a triumph of being." — Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
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The message of this book is not to be forgotten. We must work to free those wrongfully imprisoned, eliminate solitary confinement, and put an end to holding prisoners anywhere without charges or scheduled release dates. People should not be used as political pawns, and we must all remember that the citizens of a country do not always agree with the political opinions of their leaders.
One reads along with the prisoners and the how they cope with the hopelessness of being in an irrational long term imprisonment.
The whole story just felt heavy: too politically correct, heavy-handed, unfinished, unshaped, undirected. I understand that captivity in Iran is no picnic, but the title suggested that the authors must have made something of their experience. Instead, they still seemed to be as confused and angry (and trying ever so hard not to admit it) as if they were still imprisoned. Perhaps, as they hinted, that's because the experience so changed them that they are and always will be imprisoned by it. If so, I'm sorry; it limits the usefulness of their suffering to them and to the rest of us, and it must have distorted what seem to have been brilliantly promising futures.
Perhaps, as others have hinted, they really are protesting too much, and the effort continually to disguise their political connections and activities simply bears too heavily on what might have been an exciting and enlightening story. Perhaps the love of the Middle East, which they profess aggressively, put them in such conflict with their resentment of Iran's treatment of them that they are, in fact, unable to be more coherent. For whatever reason, the book just left me with more questions than answers and the feeling that it didn't do what it set out to do and could have done..for authors or readers.