Gripping account of journalist Garen's kidnapping in southern Iraq and his fiancée's efforts in the U.S. to secure his release.
In the summer of 2004, Garen and Carleton, professional as well as romantic partners, were gathering footage for a documentary about the looting of Iraqi historical sites. At the end of the project, Carleton left the country while Garen stayed behind to close up shop. The day before he was scheduled to leave, however, things went wrong. While in a local market, Garen made the mistake of opening his mouth, revealing himself as a foreigner. In moments, an angry mob coalesced and he and his translator were taken prisoner. Garen and Carleton tell the remarkable story of the men's kidnapping, their families' desperate efforts to have them freed and their astounding release just over a week later. Carleton and Garen take turns relating their experiences through the days of captivity. While Garen is hustled into a hut in a scrubby no-man's land, Carleton, in her last few moments of blissful unawareness, goes to the gym and checks her e-mail. Garen gives an hour-by-hour account of where he was taken, how he was treated, how he hoped to escape. Carleton, meanwhile, assembles a massive team of colleagues in Iraq, well-connected former classmates from the Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (there's a graduate degree that was worthwhile), and, soon enough, the FBI—all working feverishly to reach the sheiks who could then reach the kidnappers. The authors do an admirable job of leading the reader through the chaos of their days, and although the ending is a foregone conclusion, their story remains extraordinarily compelling.
An incredible tale told with intensity by two very lucky people.