Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
  • Alternative view 1 of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
  • Alternative view 2 of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran

Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran

4.6 55
by Roxana Saberi

View All Available Formats & Editions

On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage—a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated,


On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage—a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated, and cut off from the outside world. For weeks, neither her family nor her friends knew her whereabouts.

After a sham trial that made headlines around the world, the thirty-one-year-old reporter was sentenced to eight years in prison. But following international pressure by family, friends, colleagues, various governments, and total strangers, she was released on appeal on May 11, 2009. Now Saberi breaks her silence to share the full account of her ordeal, describing in vivid detail the methods that Iranian hard-liners are using to try to intimidate and control many of the country's people.

In this gripping and inspirational true story, Saberi writes movingly of her imprisonment, her trial, her eventual release, and the faith that helped her through it all. Her recollections are interwoven with insights into Iranian society, the Islamic regime, and U.S.-Iran relations, as well as stories of her fellow prisoners—many of whom were jailed for their pursuit of human rights, including freedom of speech, association, and religion. Saberi gains strength and wisdom from her cellmates who support her throughout a grueling hunger strike and remind her of the humanity that remains, even when they are denied the most basic rights.

Between Two Worlds is also a deeply revealing account of this tumultuous country and theongoing struggle for freedom that is being fought inside Evin Prison and on the streets of Iran. From her heartfelt perspective, Saberi offers a rich, dramatic, and illuminating portrait of Iran as it undergoes a striking, historic transformation.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
“Saberi tells the chilling story of her 100 harrowing days in Evin Prison with finely etched detail and heroic candor in an unforgettable chronicle of an all-too-common assault against universal human rights, justice, and truth.”
Susanne Pari
“A spot-on chronicle of the paranoia and utter buffoonery of the Iranian government and its apparatchiks. . . . Saberi spent five months in Evin Prison fighting for her life. She would say that she fought for her soul as well. Her redemption is this compassionate and courageous memoir.”
Shirin Ebadi
Between Two Worlds is an extraordinary story of how an innocent young woman got caught up in the current of political events and met individuals whose stories vividly depict human rights violations in Iran.”
Guillermo Arriaga
“A compelling and painful story about a young woman tangled in a legal system that was deciding her fate in an almost labyrinthic and surrealistic way.”
Reza Afshari
“Saberi’s moving descriptions of prison scenes and judicial settings offer one of the best accounts of what takes place in the darkest corners of the Islamic Republic. Authoritarian regimes have yet to learn not to imprison, on spurious charges, talented authors and journalists, contributing to the enrichment of prison literature.”
Eileen Flynn
“Saberi shows us she is neither a delicate beauty queen nor a fearless reporter. And this is why her story is so powerful. . . . Through this complex self-portrait, she hopes more of the world will demand an end to the human rights catastrophe in Iran.”
Elham Gheytanchi
“With no factional axe to grind, Saberi’s English-language memoir provides a candid, timely look at the injustices suffered by prisoners of conscience within Evin’s walls. … Ultimately, Saberi’s memoir brings us up-to-date on the state of Iran’s prisons, and the picture is grim.”
Karim Sadjadpour
“An incredibly riveting account of every journalist’s worst nightmare come true in Iran. In poignantly telling her own story, Roxana Saberi takes us inside the world of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, introducing us to a remarkable cast of women who have been otherwise forgotten.”
Elise Auerbach
“The author vividly conveys the fear, confusion and uncertainty experienced by an innocent person trapped in a repressive system where human rights norms have no meaning. Despite her ordeal, she draws strength and inspiration from other women prisoners of conscience detained with her in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.”
Hadi Ghaemi
“To read Roxana’s re-telling of her ordeal is to take a rare and eye-opening walk through Iran’s horrible human rights record. … A powerful testament to the fortitude of human soul and its ability to survive the most daunting of situations.”
Joel Simon
“A story of redemption and grace. . . . Saberi’s principled stand and her willingness to speak out about her ordeal has made her an ambassador for press freedom and human rights. . . . This compelling and moving account is a tale of resistance.”
Roger Cohen
“The most compelling passages are about a form of religious experience - the struggle of this young American-Iranian as she moves from false ‘confessions’ calculated to secure freedom to fierce truth-telling that grants her an inner liberation so powerful that even death is no longer frightening.
Salter Reynolds
“Saberi recounts the stories of her fellow prisoners, human rights workers and others, many of whom were arrested for their religious or political beliefs. . . .She was saved by international attention to her case and makes a plea for increased international vigilance.
Heather Horiuchi
“The author writes eloquently of both the brutality and beauty - in bonding with her cellmates, and even connecting with her guards - she experienced in Evin. And most importantly, in telling her own story, Saberi has raised critical awareness of so many other political prisoners who remain silenced in captivity.”
From the Publisher
"A powerful and deeply moving portrait." —Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Feature Story News
“A compelling and moving personal story about triumph over adversity and a unique portrayal of Iran’s judicial system, life in Evin, the system’s callousness, and the daily injustices. Her measured assessment of the Iranian experience is a further tribute to her profound understanding of the country and its people.”
Time Out Doha
“Eminent reading. . . . Between Two Worlds is about courage in the face of adversity, about overcoming fear in the pursuit of truth and faith in God in the most trying circumstances. These virtues stood her through the prison ordeal and now in telling her story.”
"Saberi tells the chilling story of her 100 harrowing days in Evin Prison with finely etched detail and heroic candor in an unforgettable chronicle of an all-too-common assault against universal human rights, justice, and truth." blog
“I highly recommend Between Two Worlds, no matter how much or little you know of the situation in Iran. Seasoned activists will see. . . why they do what they do; the casual reader will glean a sense of what the citizens of Iran face daily.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A powerful and deeply moving portrait." —-Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Meet the Author

Roxana Saberi has reported for ABC Radio, the BBC, Feature Story News, Fox News, NPR, and PRI. She lived in Iran from February 2003 to May 2009 and currently resides in the United States.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Between Two Worlds 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
CactusWolf More than 1 year ago
For over three months in 2009, I watched closely the detention and subsequent release of American journalist Roxana Saberi from Iran's hellish Evin prison. Less than a year after her release, she penned her experience in a book that was not only a great tale of survival, hope and courage, but also a true testament to the unrelenting human spirit and experience... In doing so, going far beyond a cultural description of Iran and the political nuances often lost in translation when re-conveyed in the west. Saberi writes the book with the expertise of a skilled writer and not that of a journalist, which is often the missing factor in books written by trained journalist. I attribute this accomplishment to her having had a profoundly genuine experience as a human being, fully going through the stages of fear, enlightenment, courage and ultimate redemption in the form of bravely recanting her false confession and standing up to her tormentors. The details of this book, such as being threatened with life in prison or "worse" (I can only speculate) and her eventual release, contain the full arch of a hero's journey, showing clearly that Saberi is a nothing short of a courageous warrior for humanitarian causes, namely the plight of the Iranian people living under an oppressive regime that's hiding behind a pretentious cloak of religiousness and justice. As an American humanitarian of Japanese/Iranian decent, Roxana Saberi is well suited to shed light on the complex day to day lives of Iranians, her own nightmarish incarceration in Evin prison and the paranoid Iranian regime feeding on its own fabricated fears. All the while, her sense of humor shines light on the situation whenever possible and her insight enlightens all those willing to listen with an open heart and mind. While Roxana's work and courage is admirable in countless ways, her true contribution to humanity -in my opinion- is the inspiration of others who love, cherish and respect freedom, not to mention the proliferation of hope and courage in the face of adversity. One encouraging example of this, the best that I can imagine, comes from 12-year-old Dylan of San Francisco, CA who said: "I just read your book, Between Two Worlds, and I would like to let you know that you have inspired me and when I grow up, I would like to be a journalist. Thank you so much for writing this amazing book! I hope you understand the impact you have made on the world because of your book and your actions." I could not have said it better myself, as Saberi has inspired even me into writing my own story of witnessing a revolution, living through the 20th century's 3rd bloodiest war and my ultimate survival and liberation.
SleeplessinCA More than 1 year ago
Having two young children, I have not read a book (other than parenting books) from cover to cover in a few years. I purchased "between two worlds" the day it was released and could not put it down...finished it in 4 days! Roxana's book is not only a chronicle of her life in Iran and captivity at Evin prison, but also informative about Iran as a country, it's history, culture, and how the islamic regime came to power. It is not overwhelming in that context, but enough knowledge to shed some light on how things 'came to be' as they are, and to what extent. Saberi's writings beautifully paint a landscape of who she is, her love of Iran and its people, as well as that of America, and her love and admiration for her family and friends. That care and admiration extends to the amazing women she meets in Evin prison. All of this sets the stage for how Roxana gains the courage to be true to herself, and to those suffering and fighting for basic human rights in Iran, despite the dreadful conditions, intense psychological pressure and threats she is under. Her story is carefully, compassionately and whole-heartedly written. I commend Roxana for coming forward with her story, for sharing her knowledge and passion with others. I truly believe that her sincere nature, combined with her knowledge and determination, can turn her horrific experience into something meaningful for the rest of us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was shocked when I heard Roxanna, a wonderful person I had known in college, had been jailed in Iran. She is still the remarkable person I knew then. I am thankful she is free today, and admire her for using her experience to do good for others. What a cautionary tale against tyrannical goverment she has written, may it be something we never know here in the US!
Diab More than 1 year ago
Best book I read in years, I felt like watching a live event not reading a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written personal account, but well documented and informational of the current political prison situation in Iran.
Schihaserl More than 1 year ago
this book was one of the dozen others I read before I went on a trip to Iran on a tourist visa in October/November 2010. I did not only read about the history of Persia/ Iran, but also many other accounts of Iranians and this ordeal of Roxana Saberi. It was a fascinating insight of the part of Iran I was lucky not have encountered. It kept me reading late into the nightand I recommend it highly. Well written, suspenseful and very informative.
DanGeo More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful and moving portrait of one women's fight for the souls of Iran's people against the tyranny of a government who has forgotten it's people. It reflects on the individuals who she met along the way who taught her about faith in God and the sacrifices it takes to find illumination.
Vkad More than 1 year ago
Thank you Roxana for sharing your experiences in this captivating publication. It provides real insight into the human rights challenges faced by all people in Iran and was such an enlightening read. I found the way that Roxana recounts her experiences captivating and a breeze to read. I could not put this book down until I had read the very last word. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who has a relationship with Iran and who wants insight into what it is like for those who are innocent yet imprisoned. Between Two Worlds inspires me to work hard every day for the rights of others, in the hope that they too will one day be freed. A must read for every journalist!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MomOfThreeLittleKittens More than 1 year ago
I read this book as I wanted to learn firsthand the experiences that an American-Iranian woman had to share about the Iranian culture and her incarceration as an innocent American. Immediately, I felt the vulnerability that Ms Saberi experienced throughout her incarceration as her story is brought to life in every page. Her inner-strength is admirable as she demonstrates her intelligence and uses her captors' own games of manipulation against them. I was captivated by the stories of the other female prisoner's and ached at the violations of basic human rights that are absent in Iran. I highly recommend this book; it will remind you of the good that exists within many Iranian citizens (NOT the government!) and ignite a passion to advocate for justice, and for human and women's rights.
Cat_Kuma More than 1 year ago
The juxtaposition Saberi creates between people and governments is inspiring and dares to challenge our perception of any one country, one people, one religion or one culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
luvbooks11 More than 1 year ago
I had the privilege of reading "Between Two Worlds" by Roxana Saberi. I use the word privilege because that's how I felt reading this very intimate account of Roxana Saberi's experience in Evin prison. Evin prison is notorious; the Iranians are also notorious for what they do to prisoners to punish or break them. It's well-known throughout the world, but especially in Iran. I can't imagine the terror she must have felt being incarcerated there and cut off from everyone she knew and not knowing her fate. Saberi is very modest about her personal strength and experiences. Even though I knew the outcome, my heart was in my throat reading the book. I highly recommend this book -- it's difficult to put down. Thank you, Roxana for sharing your intimate thoughts, fears, hopes, misery and experiences. You are amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
victoriadancer More than 1 year ago
This is a very inspirational book that Miss Saberi wrote sharing with all of us her story during her captivity in Iran. In the book, you will almost sense her hope and faith and the strength she carries on to be strong and fight through her struggles. The book is very entertaining and it is difficult to put it down. I read this book for my non-fiction report and I was really moved by Roxana's words and story. This book changed me and made me see the issues in the world that I never knew were there. Now I feel the urge to help many others who are still imprisoned and to promote human rights all around the world. I encourage everyone to read this book.
Guil_Vasq More than 1 year ago
"Between Two World's" is an intense book about Ms Saberi's captivity and trial in Iran for espionage. Ms Saberi's news caught my attention when I first heard of her story on the media. I have always been interested in Iran and the entire Middle Eastern region as well: the history, culture, religion and politics. So when I heard she was writing a book, this became a list on my many books I wanted to read. The way she wrote about her struggles in depth, was truly captivating. It was really easy to read and the way she expressed her feelings and struggles each day. I found myself so often becoming enraged at the human rights abuse that Iran's hardliners were doing to her. If anyone is familiar with Iran's hard line regime, you will know their treatment towards innocent people is so horrifying. I would highly recommend this book; this is a very gripping story about her struggles there in Iran's notorious Evin prison. It was a very intense book for me. I do believe Ms Saberi's arrest and imprisonment was for a purpose. So she could continue the fight as a human rights advocacy for Iran. I wanted to make this short, because I could go and on about the book. I cannot imagine the psychological torture she had to endure. And recanting her confession like she did showed her courage, strength and determination to do what was right. Despite the consequences she faced. If you are concerned with Human Rights Issues in Iran and in the Middle East as I am, you will truly be inspired by this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I followed Ms. Saberi's case closely from the moment it was reported. For those of us watching this from a distance and with the opportunity to see the posturing from the Iranian government - we could only imagine her personal terror. Ms. Saberi's writing draws you into this very personal drama, the perpetual torment from her captors, the relationship with her cellmates and guards and how she reveals her personal conflict as she strategized and struggled to navigate the maze that was being built around her. I thank her for sharing the story of the events around her experience, for deepening our understanding of the human rights conditions in Iran and for leaving us with an inspiring message of hope and an example of the strength of the human spirit. Ms. Saberi has become a voice for many who no longer have one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago