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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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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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Brilliant Book filled with insights

This book was deeply insightful, captivating, and poignant!

it is an absolute read for everyone, even more so in the current times where polarization is all around us

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Incredible woman.

Am honest look at the uglier sides of both Islam and the "west". Brave woman.

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Great Book, Terrible Narration

I cannot believe this narrator could not pronounce a single German word, including "die" - "the," in a book that is written by a German author and that takes place not only in the Arab world but also in Germany and Austria. What were you thinking!!

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Please read!

Moving, beautiful, and informative. I am ever grateful to the author for her work in journalism and for this book. She's now a hero of mine.

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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.

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Wonderfully written and intriguing!

This book is truly amazing, and the fact that it's a true story makes it even better. Souad Mekhennet brings her personal story to the narrative of how Islam is shifting and changing cultures across the globe. It opened my eyes to the West's role in this, and reminded me that every deed, both good and bad, wise and unwise, has both short and long-term consequences. I loved it.