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Publisher's Summary

For her whole life, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for the Washington Post who was born and educated in Germany, has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing - Muslim and Western. She has also sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures, which too often misunderstand each other.

In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner "Jihadi John", and then in France, Belgium, and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization.

Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines as she shares her transformative journey with us. Hers is a story you will not soon forget.

©2017 Souad Mekhennet (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The thrilling narrative brings up critical, persuasive insights while trying to answer the questions of where terrorism comes from and why it's so difficult to eradicate." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandy
  • Coconut Grove, FL USA
  • 10-31-17

Narrator

Such a riveting story, but would have been so much more authentic if narrated by someone who sounded more like the author instead of someone with an American accent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A timely book with poor narration

Loved the balanced content. it is timely because the author looks beyond the events she has covered- she strives to understand the sociological and political reasons on an individual level. An important book for Muslim and other immigrant parents raising children in the West. There are many memorable lines such as:

"People who see themselves as victims often do not notice when they become oppressors"

"Children inherit their parents' hatred"

"Religion does not radicalize people, people radicalize religion"


The book is filled with Arabic terms and names that the narrator simply cannot pronounce - her pronunciation, while wrong, is not even consist from one sentence to the next. This makes the performance irritating at times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DHL
  • WASHINGTON, DC, US
  • 08-13-17

Amazingly Badass and Beautifully Told!

Brave. A story that raises cultural consciousness,eyebrows and awareness for what really happened behind "enemy" lines. A must read for every aspiring journalist who needs to understand what it means to hold a confidence, work hard to seek the truth and believe in your ability to understand a world beyond cultural borders.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting perspective worth listening to. Poor narration.

I have heard the author on the radio. Listening to her narrating the book would have made me much more authentic. It is un aceptable for a narrator not to learn how to pronounce the few German words prior to recording and for the author not to hear the narration and scream. To hear the name of Der Siegel magazine massacred was painful. Other than than I truly enjoyed and learn from the work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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eye opening

must read/listen to anyone who cares about the future world. loved it and am buying the book do I can also read it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing, life changing, book

This is an amazing book that gives you a new perspective on Middle Eastern conflicts and terrorism. She went behind the lines and interviewed countless men, women, and children who are affected by these conflicts and twisting of religion/ideology. This book gives you a more complete understanding of how the world has gotten to its current state, and if that doesn't convince you, its also a very well written book that is impossible to put down. Thank you Souad for your great work!

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  • S
  • USA
  • 07-09-18

Insightful

A very intelligent and unique account of the situation. I would recommend everyone to read this book. One of the best books I have read. Thank you Souad Mekhennet, your work is so important. You are a real inspiration.

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Living History

Very interesting and informative story!
Kirsten Potter’s narration is outstanding!
I highly recommend this audiobook.

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    4 out of 5 stars

eye opening

story gives insight into life of a Muslim journalist with all the risks and understanding of religious radicalization; reader is good except for an embarrassing mispronunciation of some German words - no excuse to mispronounce Der Spiegel!!

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great tale of how we found ouselves here;

This is an important book to understand the anatomy of terrorisem. Souad deliver a stunning account of real terrorist leaders, and their logic, while she reminds us of the root of the problem. As the daughter of work based immegrant you can see the racesem she faced through her life and you discover that the same cercumistances led many in a completely different direction. They became haters and she tries in the book to build a bridge of understanding. I loved the book and performance.