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A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sidesby David Rohde
Synopses & Reviews
The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times reporter's abduction by the Taliban, and his wife's struggle to free him.
Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York Times reporter David Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas of Pakistan. For the next seven months, they lived in an alternate reality, ruled by jihadists, in which paranoia, conspiracy theories, and shifting alliances abounded. Held in bustling towns, they found that Pakistan's powerful military turned a blind eye to a sprawling Taliban ministate that trained suicide bombers, plotted terrorist attacks, and helped shelter Osama bin Laden.
In New York, David's wife of two months, Kristen Mulvihill, his family, and The New York Times struggled to navigate the labyrinth of issues that confront the relatives of hostages. Their methodical, Western approach made little impact on the complex mix of cruelty, irrationality, and criminality that characterizes the militant Islam espoused by David's captors.
In the end, a stolen piece of rope and a prayer ended the captivity. The experience tested and strengthened Mulvihill and Rohde's relationship and exposed the failures of American effort in the region. The tale of those seven months is at once a love story and a reflection of the great cultural divide-and challenge-of our time.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"New York Times" reporter David Rohde and his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, present the compelling and insightful account of Rodhe's abduction in 2008 by the Taliban, and Mulvihill's struggle to free him.
A groundbreaking look at Americaand#8217;s role in the Middle Eastand#151;from the Pulitzer Prizeand#150;winning author of A Rope and a Prayer
Distilling eleven years of expert reporting for the New York Times, Reuters, and the Atlantic, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde presents an incisive look at the calamitous privatization of the war on terror. Beyond War is a clarion call for change in American policies and attitudes toward a rapidly changing Middle East. Rohde argues that using lethal force is necessary at times, but economic growth and Muslim moderates and#151;not American soldiersand#151;will eradicate militancy in the long term. Vast mistakes have been made, but it is not too late. By scaling back our ambitions, focusing on economics and working with Muslim moderates, we will achieve more.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author examines the cardinal failing of Washington’s war on terror
This book distills eleven years of expert reporting for The New York Times, Reuters, and The Atlantic Monthly into a clarion call for change. An incisive look at the evolving nature of war, Rohde exposes how a dysfunctional Washington squandered billions on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, neglected its true allies in the war on terror and failed to employ its most potent nonmilitary weapons: American consumerism, technology, and investment. Rohde then surveys post-Arab Spring Tunisia, Turkey, and Egypt, and finds a yearning for American technology, trade, and education. He argues that only Muslim moderates, not Americans, can eradicate militancy. For readers of Steve Coll, Tom Ricks, and Ahmed Rashid, Beyond War shows how the failed American effort to back moderate Muslims since 9/11 can be salvaged.
About the Author
David Rohde, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica.
Kristen Mulvihill has been a photography editor and director at various women's magazines, including Marie Claire and Self. Most recently, she was the photography director of Cosmopolitan. They live in New York City.
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