The Desert and the Sea

977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast
Narrated by: Corey Snow
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (628 ratings)

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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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What listeners say about The Desert and the Sea

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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.

10 people found this 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.

7 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this 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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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!!

3 people found this helpful

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Exceptional Memoir

This is a fascinating story about the three years of Moore’s captivity by Somali pirates. Moore is a journalist and a gifted storyteller. Moore used his journalist tools of observation, interviewing techniques, and his interest in people’s stories to help him survive and then write an excellent memoir. The author provided a first-hand account of the Muslim pirates, the beginning of Al-Shabaab and the rise of ISIS which revealed the various faces of Islam. I was interested in his analysis of the political and economic problems of Somali. The book is well written; in fact, Moore’s storytelling gift made it read like a page turning novel. The story of his capture, starvation, isolation and injuries made this into a nail-biting thriller. He made this so real I almost felt the flies crawling on my face. The book is just over twelve hours. Coray Snow does an excellent job narrating the story. Snow was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and is now a full-time audiobook narrator. Snow specializes in science fiction, fantasy, military and history audiobooks. He has a voice that is easy to listen too. He has a reading rhythm appropriate to the story.

6 people found this helpful

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all the stars deserved!!!!

This is a exceptional piece of true life literature. It really depicts and informsthe listener of his plight, journey and human interaction w the pirates and the other abducted . Excellent!!!

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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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great detail and what a story.

loved it. found out about this from the joe Rogan podcast I am glad I heard this story

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr Woc
  • 12-06-18

Good

Heard the guy who wrote the book on adam Buxtons podcast and was interested in the story, I enjoyed it :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-29-18

loved it so good recommend 100% great story

loved it a story of a man that went through the he'll and survived great book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicky Ramone
  • 12-01-19

Very interesting story, well written, well narrated

I am only reviewing Part One ofthe Audiobook download, but as I start Part Two I cannot imagine the story could lose its hold on me, that the quality of the writing would suddenly deteriorate or that the narrator would suddenly become dull or irritating. As I said in the headline, all three of these vital elements are excellent. The author, who went through this ordeal, tells us some of Somalia’s recent history but in small informative chunks that never feel like a history lesson. His portrayal of the different captors and fellow captives is alsodone well. I am really enjoying this book, hoping of course that nothing remotely similar ever happens to me. Onlyone thing: I hope by the end wewill hear a bit more about how his mother handled things and how the negotiations that finally led to her son’s freedom unfolded.... anyway, let’s see!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-17-19

Superb listen

Excellent story. Really enjoyed it. What an ordeal to go through. Well written and presented

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  • MR L EVANS
  • 02-12-19

wow. what a great story.

An amazing story and sometimes hard to come to terms with just how different some parts of the world can be.

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  • Egg321
  • 01-11-19

Epic

This book provides an incredible ‘POV’ realism to the true terror of modern day kidnap and piratism. Michael Scott-Moore brings to life his experiences vividly.

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  • bigsdavey
  • 12-21-18

brilliant

amazing story and very inspiring, griping from start to finish, really recommend this. narrated perfectly

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  • zoona
  • 12-05-18

fascinating insight

I have no frame of reference to really understand what hostages go through, but this was a fascinating insight into what happens to people. the big picture, but also the mundanity of life with strangers.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-03-18

good but too long

Was good but too long. Wonderful story but dragged on for a bit too long

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-07-20

A phenomenal account

What are the chances that a very talented writer and storyteller (who was already well acclaimed for his literary achievements) would be taken hostage by pirates.? Well they’re pretty decent chances considering where the author was at the time of capture. But this is an exceptional story retold by an exceptional storyteller. Although quite different in some ways, I put it up there with ‘Canoeing the Congo’ as the best nonfiction account I’ve heard as an audiobook. Incredible circumstances recorded in an incredible story. Since finishing this audiobook two months ago I still often think of Michael, Roley, and everyone else that endured the reality of modern piracy.