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Publisher's Summary

Michael Scott Moore, a journalist and the author of Sweetness and Blood, incorporates personal narrative and rigorous investigative journalism in this profound and revelatory memoir of his three-year captivity by Somali pirates - a riveting, thoughtful, and emotionally resonant exploration of foreign policy, religious extremism, and the costs of survival.

In January 2012, having covered a Somali pirate trial in Hamburg for Spiegel Online International - and funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting - Michael Scott Moore traveled to the Horn of Africa to write about piracy and ways to end it. In a terrible twist of fate, Moore himself was kidnapped and subsequently held captive by Somali pirates. Subjected to conditions that break even the strongest spirits - physical injury, starvation, isolation, terror - Moore’s survival is a testament to his indomitable strength of mind. In September 2014, after 977 days, he walked free when his ransom was put together by the help of several US and German institutions, friends, colleagues, and his strong-willed mother. 

Yet Moore’s own struggle is only part of the story: The Desert and the Sea falls at the intersection of reportage, memoir, and history. Caught between Muslim pirates, the looming threat of Al-Shabaab, and the rise of ISIS, Moore observes the worlds that surrounded him - the economics and history of piracy; the effects of post-colonialism; the politics of hostage negotiation and ransom; while also conjuring the various faces of Islam - and places his ordeal in the context of the larger political and historical issues.           

A sort of Catch-22 meets Black Hawk Down, The Desert and the Sea is written with dark humor, candor, and a journalist’s clinical distance and eye for detail. Moore offers an intimate and otherwise inaccessible view of life as we cannot fathom it, brilliantly weaving his own experience as a hostage with the social, economic, religious, and political factors creating it. The Desert and the Sea is wildly compelling and a book that will take its place next to titles like Den of Lions and Even Silence Has an End.

©2018 Michael Scott Moore (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Wow!

I kept forgetting this is non fiction! Absolutely amazing to the end. Probably my favorite book this year. Great job Michael, and thanks to Joe Rogan for introducing me to this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A+++

Wow! Discovered Michael Scott Moores story from him being on Joe Rogans Podcast and what an amazing book to listen to. Makes me look at life completly diffrent. not gonna lie, I did have tears in my eyes the last couple chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Relevant & Philosophical

This articulate and reflective memoir is colorful in its language but relevant to our time and worth yours.

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So interesting

I heard the FreshAir interview with Micheal Scott Moore and I immediately got interested. I didn’t know what to expect from this novel. It is just a Fascinating listen. So much mundane crap love through is so interesting and unusual in our normal western lives. I really enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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Compelling

Great tale of an intriguing modern-day struggle between pirates and the crushing industrial ships that pillage the sea legally.

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What a story, a little repetitive but RECOMMEND.

Slow in parts but gripping story.
Recommend if you like human endurance narrative books or travel miss- adventure.

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How he survived as a captive in Somali

Michael Scott Moore describes in detail his 977 days in captivity after being kidnapped by Somali pirates. He was held for ransom by the pirates who were demanding 20 million dollars, much more than his family could afford. He talks in detail about the mental and physical stress and pain he endured. He contemplated suicide often and had given up hope after thinking he would be rescued which failed to occur. He explains how he endured and survived. I found it interesting to gain some understanding of what I would consider to be an unendurable trial. It was well written and the narrator did a fine job. Well worth the credit to buy it.

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parallel worlds

I really enjoyed how this author was able to meld his story and experience as a hostage with his story and experiences in his childhood. I also really enjoyed how he took us on his emotional and psychological Journey not just his physical Journey. This book is definitely worthwhile reading. You will get intmate details on an experience most of us will hopefully never have. The most surprising part of the story for me was how uplifting it was at times. I really expected for this to be a pretty solemn raed but it had me thinking about all kinds of things from self-indulgence to understanding other cultures.

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Incredible story!!

I loved the raw description of the struggle of resistance of the human spirit against all odds as described by the feelings of the writer. Inspiring all of us to think why if we are so intelligent we are so capable of harming one another. Religions and religious people of different types ignoring the message of their respective guidance and some how justifying their nepherious acts against others on the pursuit to satisfying their own greed. And as the writer notes, no much has changed throughout time. Thank you for sharing Michael, you survived to bear witness and through your story perhaps inspire many more to better? More appreciative?... I have!!

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Absolutely excellent. Written with heart acuity and great insight. Exploring the self realization from extreme sufferings

Narrator was captivating. He became the other characters. His accents were true to the pirate or prisoners. Well written

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  • Richard
  • 08-14-18

absolutely fascinating

This is a unique and fascinating story. It's well written and eye-opening. YOU MUST LISTEN TO THIS!
Also go to youtube and search for his interview with Joe Rogan. That's how I heard about the book. Well done Michael.