Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein

Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein

by Jean Sasson
4.3 24


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Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein by Jean Sasson

A member of one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq, Mayada grew up surrounded by wealth and royalty. But when Saddam Hussein’s regime took power, she was thrown into cell 52 in the infamous Baladiyat prison with seventeen other nameless, faceless women from all walks of life. To ease their suffering, these “shadow women” passed each day by sharing their life stories. Now, through Jean Sasson, Mayada is finally able to tell her story—and theirs—to the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451212924
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/07/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 224,735
Product dimensions: 5.35(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.84(d)
Lexile: 1040L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jean Sasson is a writer and lecturer who has lived in Saudi Arabia and traveled extensively in the Middle East.  She is the author of four internationally bestselling books on the Middle East, including The Rape of Kuwait, Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, Princess Sultana’s Daughters, and Princess Sultana’s Circle.  Jean now lives in the deep South, although she still visits the Middle East frequently.

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Mayada, Daughter of Iraq 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jean Sasoon has to be one of my favorite writers. She writes an unbelievable story of loss, frustration and courage. At moments I couldn't stop crying. Every woman in the US should read this book, it puts America into perspective and reminds you that people call this country 'Heaven' for a reason.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most heart wrenching book I have ever read!. Mayada....Please find the shadow women..AND LET US KNOW!! Read this book and know what horrors exist. You wont be able to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book and was completely taken by it. I have a VERY difficult time finishing a book - being a mom of 3 small children. I picked this book up and everything went on hold so I could finish it. Now that is getting lost in a book. :-) I absolutely LOVED it - A must READ. Mayada is also a perfect gift idea for a female icon in your life. Enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book written about a real Iraqi, telling us things we could never have known. I've read all Sasson's works, but this one is the best--and we need this knowledge at this time in history. If you are interested in hearing about Iraq from an Iraqi, then this is the book for you. Would make a good gift for all the soldiers in your life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Middle Eastern based book about a journalist who is arrested for doing nothing wrong. I can't put any of Jean Sasson's books down. This book does flip back and forth a lot, but the way it's written out makes it an easy read. Not for those who get riled up because of injustices in society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This sobering book takes you through a life that I can't even imagine. Living in NYC, we've been given just a small taste what living in fear is, but what these women in Iraq endure is truly what no human should have to go through. As I was reading this book, I wanted to be able to tell myself that 'it's just a book', but when you are reading a piece of non-fiction such as this, reading about the horrors makes you feel the need to do more. I've definitely learned something from Mayada and her strength, and I hope to appreciate my life and freedom every day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mayada, Daughter of Iraq is the tragic true-story of life under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Jean Sasson has painted the portrait of an amazing,strong,privilaged, and intelligent Iraqi woman and her struggle with false accusations of governmental betrayal.The intensity of the torture sessions leave you feeling nunb. Sasson's dynamic worldliness and intense passion shine in what is arguably her best work yet.Her ability to write from the heart of her subject is astounding and moving. The book was difficult to even read due to the unbelieveable violence and injustice. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to survive such an experience and tragically, many did not. However, one amazing woman, Mayada, did survive to tell their story. Mayada had direct contact with Saddam prior to her imprisonment and tells the truth of the man behind do much death, oppression, and injustice. Men and woman are raped, brutilized, and mentally abused. the secret police were not only murderers, but sadists. They violated not only the bodies of their victims but their minds as well. Woman were forced to listen to the screams of their children being tortured and some even witnessed their daughters being raped(some of these children were as young as three years old).Men were even raped for hours by multiple guards for praying. Rape is considered a deep dishonor in their country. Sasson's compassion and beautiful humanity reflect her true passion for justice. As I read this book I felt as if I was living their story. Sasson's insight and depth is inspiring. Her capabilities as a writer are endless and more importantly her value as an individual is unmatchable. Mayada helps us as Americans to truly understand the degree of oppression that was suffered by these people. As Americans we have the privilage of living ina country that loves and supports us. Not everyone has that privilage. This true-story means so much to me because it has inspired me to open my mind and to nemore understanding of others who are different than me. Mayada is an immensely important book because it conveys reasons to support the war in Iraq in an objective manner that allows you to make your own decision and draw your own conclusions. Sasson's ability to capture the honesty, realness, and beauty of these people is uniquely her own. This riveting true-story is special because it instills a feeling of acceptance and tolerance.I truly love this book, for I was greatly affected by it. Jean Sasson reminds us all that genuine goodness and love of humanity may shine in even the darkest of situations. Regardless of what hard times we may go through, one should never lose their strengh of emotion and even more importantly their strength of will. In life, we must always possess the courage to give and the grace to receive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is not about movie heros this book is about everyday real heros. it shows u that not all Arabs are bad, and not all Muslims are terrorists, that despite the corrupted and brutal governments, people are still good, people always dare to dream! it shows u also that how Human can be cruel and animal like. I had to put the book down and walk away take a deep breath n come back to continue reading hours later. if this book did not get to u then nothing will
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is another example of how bad Saddam Hussein was during his rule. He constantly accused people[women] of crimes they never committed. And the women were subjected to horrible torture that was always bad but not enough to kill them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it first came out because I always read Jean Sasson's books. She is a writer who seems to truly care about the subjects she writes about, and I'm not surprised as I knew her in college, although not well, and she was a animals rights person at that time. The review from 'India' interested me because he/she seemed to take offense that the book was not a politcal book and didn't go into all the ins and outs of politics, when it comes to the Middle East and Iraq and Iran in particular. However, I wonder if the reviewer read the book because there is a section where it makes clear the author is aware and not keen on the fact that America encouraged the war (after it had begun) and did send arms TO BOTH SIDES! Also, I don't understand the comment about the author not being educated. Where does that come from? As said, I knew the author in college and she was known to be very intelligent. No one writing reviews should put down such comments unless they are 100% certain of their facts and 'India' obviously has no awareness. However, the most important thing is that the book lets us readers know about the personal lives of Iraqis. I don't know of any other book doing that at this very important time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm an opponent of George Bush's decision to send our troops into a foreign land and depose a dictator. After reading this book, I feel definite sympathy for the Iraqi people and know that terrible sacrifices from Americans have helped an entire nation of people. I will be a little quieter with my criticism from this point on. (On this one point only, of course.)
Anita-2674 More than 1 year ago
Another outstanding book once again by author Jean Sasson, who wrote the story of her close friend Mayada, in "Mayada-Daughter of Iraq". Sasson excellently described raw details of Mayada's horrifying experiences when she was imprisoned in Iraq's worst prison, after being falsely accused of printing pamphlets against the government in her print shop business. The portrayal of the "shadow women" inside the prison cell with Mayada, and their individual sufferings, tortures, and fears shows readers how other people in Iraq were also affected by Saddam's ruling. Sasson proved as usual her amazing writing talents and her sharp ability to spark in readers powerful emotions, awareness, understanding, and compassion for those who suffered under Saddam's reign of terror. I recommend all readers to read this book and all others of Jean Sasson and disregard the ignorant reviewers who are against the truth being exposed!!!
Elika13 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read about Iraqi women, it made me want to find more books of this sort. Its sad and inspirational, how she managed to get through a life like that is amazing. I read it years ago but it still sits in mind. I'd read it again if there weren't so many other stories that need to be read out there.
JayHay More than 1 year ago
This story is somewhat engaging as it places the reader in the shoes of a true daughter of Iraq. Mayada tells an excellent story of the horrors of the Saddam Hussein regime and the aftermath of his rule. While the book details torture methods that have been widely shared it captures the human spirit of cooperative survival. Each of the Shadow Women relies on the others in order to survive the heinous nights of the Baladiyat prison but they find in Mayada a renewed sense of hope.
While, under normal circumstances, I would consider an account like this to be extremely inciteful, the reader must take with a grain of salt Mayada's connections in the former Iraqi regime. While she may have been able to escape the prison because of her connections, those Shadow Women that remained were forced to endure the horrors because they did not share Mayada's good fortunes. Good fortunes are extremely relative in this horrific account in the young lady's life.
I do respect Mayada's courage in talking about the trials and tribulations of even a priviledged person in Baladiyat. Her struggles no doubt, inspire many in their darkest depths to have cause for hope. It is because of the willingness of people like Mayada that we make the case for humanity to continue our efforts against the inhumane activities of ruthless tyrants.
All-in-all, Mayada is a good read for someone desiring a first-hand account for the experiences of individuals in the prison of Baladiyat and life under the Saddam Hussein regime.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
Powerful story of women imprisoned at Baladiyat under Saddaam's regime. His and his copatriot's cruelty is unimaginable and heartbreaking. My only criticism is that at times, Mayada tries too hard to ensure the reader understands that although rich and privileged, she was not involved with the ruling class and their cruelties. Ignorance and protectionism kept her hands clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Mayada" is the fascinating true story of a woman from a prominent Iraqi family that was thrown in prison during Saddam Hussein's brutal reign of terror. Mayada's story, as well as the stories of all of the shadow women will engulf the reader because ...(continue) "Mayada" is the fascinating true story of a woman from a prominent Iraqi family that was thrown in prison during Saddam Hussein's brutal reign of terror. Mayada's story, as well as the stories of all of the shadow women will engulf the reader because it is so fascinating and tragic. The author Jean Sasson is an expert on the subject of women's rights and the Middle East. Jean Sasson lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 10 years (later writing the Princess Trilogy, about a Saudi Princess that the author befriended during her time in the Kingdom). Most recently I have read Jean Sasson's newest book, "Yasmeena's Choice" which I highly recommend. Like, "Mayada" this is also a tragic and gripping tale. But it is so unique and a story that truly must be told. It is about a woman named Yasmeena that was taken prisoner during the Gulf War by the Iraqi military and held captive. Her story of war rape is one that will haunt the reader because it is so graphic, but one that must be reported. The book also includes a special chapter in it written exclusively by Mayada.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unable to read the entire book and had to skip parts. The horrors that one human can impose on another are neyond disturbing a must read book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is of continuing trials and tribulations of the people of Iraq particularly of the womanhood. Prose is lucid and quite fast paced and tells the story of a upper middle class Iraqi woman under Saddam's rule. Saddam was a most bestial of all rulers of our generation. His sons were homicidal maniacs and I am sorry to say richly deserved the macabre manner of their death . Hope Saddam is richly rewarded for his not so puerile deeds. On the other hand Sasoon ( not properly educated I guess like Jackie Collins) is far from being a great writer. Prose though lucid is hardly inspiring. Though she seems to criticize the foreign policies of Britain and France some 80 years ago she forgets to mention that Iran - Iraq war was instigated by Jimmy Carter to avenge the American Embassy Hostage debacle in Tehran. Jimmy Carter should be hanged alongside Saddam for being personally responsible for equipping this dictator with millions of dollars worth of guns and ammunition to attack Iran and later on Kuwait. Sasoon should heed to both sides of the coin and shouldn't present a bigoted, partial analysis of what has happened in Iraq. Prez Bush despite his numerous faults needs to be congratulated for his stance against Iraq but somehow the Prez of Pakistan has been able to hoodwink him and all other Western leaders (and the pressurized Indian leadership too!). The fact remains Sasoon has presented a sanitized version of Iraq and cleverly subtracted the terrible foreign policy decisions of the American Government in late 1970¿s and early 1980¿s. I think policy makers of that time need to held accountable for their decisions - not forgetting arming Pakistan which lead to the absolute disintegration of Afghanistan; totally criminalized Pakistan and made her an important exporter of terrorism all over the world including India and eventually the Twin Tower bombing in New York. A chain of events, which alas, haunts us till date, and has, unfortunately, shows no sings of an early demise.