A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

2.7 36
by David Rohde
     
 

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The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times reporter's abduction by the Taliban, and his wife's struggle to free him.

Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York Times reporter David Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas of Pakistan. For the next seven

Overview

The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times reporter's abduction by the Taliban, and his wife's struggle to free him.

Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York Times reporter David Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas of Pakistan. For the next seven months, they lived in an alternate reality, ruled by jihadists, in which paranoia, conspiracy theories, and shifting alliances abounded. Held in bustling towns, they found that Pakistan's powerful military turned a blind eye to a sprawling Taliban ministate that trained suicide bombers, plotted terrorist attacks, and helped shelter Osama bin Laden.

In New York, David's wife of two months, Kristen Mulvihill, his family, and The New York Times struggled to navigate the labyrinth of issues that confront the relatives of hostages. Their methodical, Western approach made little impact on the complex mix of cruelty, irrationality, and criminality that characterizes the militant Islam espoused by David's captors.

In the end, a stolen piece of rope and a prayer ended the captivity. The experience tested and strengthened Mulvihill and Rohde's relationship and exposed the failures of American effort in the region. The tale of those seven months is at once a love story and a reflection of the great cultural divide-and challenge-of our time.

Editorial Reviews

Philip Caputo
…a harrowing narrative of two captivities…an important and valuable story of love, faith and courage.
—The Washington Post
Anna Badkhen
A Rope and a Prayer is a firsthand account of one war-zone assignment gone devastatingly wrong. In this book David Rohde, a correspondent for The New York Times, and his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, take turns recounting in meticulous detail his 7 months and 10 days in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and her harrowing negotiations for his release. Their intertwined stories reflect two intensely personal consequences of myopic, lopsided international meddling in the brutalized and neglected region that straddles the border between Central and South Asia.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
"A love story, as well as a political drama...A Rope and a Prayer should be required reading."
The New York Times Book Review

"Vivid...A fine read."
Time

"An important and valuable story of love, faith and courage."
The Washington Post

"Gripping."
The Boston Globe

"[A] singular and harrowing account of a journalist's captivity in the most important place on earth, and what it means to be the one left behind."
The Daily Beast

"Equal parts love story and international intelligence thriller, this memoir delivers a crash course in resilience and loyalty."
Allure

"A gripping, true-life romance."
The Observer's Very Short List

"Vivid...A fine read."
Time

"Truly remarkable and bold...A painstakingly reconstructed, harrowing account."
Kirkus

"Equal parts love story and international intelligence thriller, this memoir delivers a crash course in resilience and loyalty."
Allure

"A gripping, true-life romance."
The Observer's Very Short List

Kirkus Reviews

From a New York Times journalist and his wife, a blow-by-blow chronicle of his kidnapping in Afghanistan in November 2008 by the Taliban, hisseven months of captivity and eventual escape.

Pursuing an interview with a Taliban commander for a book he was writing about the American effort in Afghanistan, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Rohde made an imprudent arrangement to meet the leader outside of Kabul and was kidnapped, along with an Afghan journalist, Tahir Luddin, and their driver, Asad Mangal. Kidnappings were not uncommon, and in his rush to get a good story, Rohde recognized that he had put Tahir and Asad at a huge risk. Moreover, he was recently married. His wife, photo and fashion editor Mulvihill, took over the ransom negotiations in New York, quietly advised by Rohde's brother Lee, representatives at the Times, the FBI, an outside security firm (American International Security Corporation) and numerous ex-hostages and their families. In alternating chapters, husband and wife chronicle their parallel ordeals. Rohde and the two other hostages were moved to remote tribal areas in Miran Shah, the so-called Pashtun belt making up the intractable border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaeda maintain their training camps. The men cooked, cleaned and prayed, wiling away the time discussing religion and playing Checkah [sic] with their captors. The couple spoke rarely over carefully monitored phone calls, and the Taliban sent several alarming videos. The kidnappers wanted millions for the hostages, as well as an exchange of prisoners, but no one could agree to terms over the ensuing months. Rohde and Tahir's escape in June 2009 was truly remarkable and bold, and his unique take on the hard-line Islamist movement provides many astute observations.

A painstakingly reconstructed, harrowing account by a seasoned expert in the region.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101445396
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/30/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,207,145
File size:
554 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A love story, as well as a political drama...A Rope and a Prayer should be required reading."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Vivid...A fine read."
-Time

"An important and valuable story of love, faith and courage."
-The Washington Post

"Gripping."
-The Boston Globe

"[A] singular and harrowing account of a journalist's captivity in the most important place on earth, and what it means to be the one left behind."
-The Daily Beast

"Equal parts love story and international intelligence thriller, this memoir delivers a crash course in resilience and loyalty."
-Allure

"A gripping, true-life romance."
-The Observer's Very Short List

"Vivid...A fine read."
-Time

"Truly remarkable and bold...A painstakingly reconstructed, harrowing account."
-Kirkus

"Equal parts love story and international intelligence thriller, this memoir delivers a crash course in resilience and loyalty."
-Allure

"A gripping, true-life romance."
-The Observer's Very Short List

Meet the Author

David Rohde, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for helping uncover the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia for The Christian Science Monitor and his second in 2009 as part of The New York Times’ team covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.

David and Kristen both grew up in New England and graduated from Brown University. They live in New York.
Kristen Mulvihill has been a fashion and photography editor at various women’s magazines, including Marie Claire and Self. Most recently, she was the photography director of Cosmopolitan magazine. She is also a painter and illustrator.

David and Kristen both grew up in New England and graduated from Brown University. They live in New York.

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A Rope and a Prayer: The Story of a Kidnapping 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
True story of kidnapping shows in detail and the psyche behind it as well the spirit and love. Must read!
cabPA More than 1 year ago
I learned many things about Afghanistan and the eastern culture. I believe we need to know about other people in other cultures and how they react to situations and think about our culture---right or wrong--they have an opinion about us.
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