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Stolen Lives [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Malika Oufkir , Michele Fitoussi
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 2001 Wheeler Hardcover
Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir is the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the closest aide of the king of Morocco. Adopted by the king at the age of ve, Malika spent most of her childhood in the seclusion of the court harem. Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika and her family were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fteen years, the last ten of which they spent in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to make a courageous escape. Stolen Lives s a heartrending account of bravery in the face of extreme deprivation and an unforgettable story of a womans personal journey to freedom. A huge international best-seller in hardcover, Stolen Lives appeared on many best-seller lists including: the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, BookSense, the New York Post, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, and more.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Oprah Book Club® Selection, May 2001: At the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of General Oufkir, was adopted by King Muhammad V of Morocco and sent to live in the palace as part of the royal court. There she led a life of unimaginable privilege and luxury alongside the king's own daughter. King Hassan II ascended the throne following Muhammad V's death, and in 1972 General Oufkir was found guilty of treason after staging a coup against the new regime, and was summarily executed. Immediately afterward, Malika, her mother, and her five siblings were arrested and imprisoned, despite having no prior knowledge of the coup attempt.

They were first held in an abandoned fort, where they ate moderately well and were allowed to keep some of their fine clothing and books. Conditions steadily deteriorated, and the family was eventually transferred to a remote desert prison, where they suffered a decade of solitary confinement, torture, starvation, and the complete absence of sunlight. Oufkir's horrifying descriptions of the conditions are mesmerizing, particularly when contrasted with her earlier life in the royal court, and many graphic images will long haunt readers. Finally, teetering on the edge of madness and aware that they had been left to die, Oufkir and her siblings managed to tunnel out using their bare hands and teaspoons, only to be caught days later. Her account of their final flight to freedom makes for breathtaking reading. Stolen Lives is a remarkable book of unfathomable deprivation and the power of the human will to survive. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

While accounts of the unjust arrest and torture of political prisoners are by now common, we expect such victims to come with a just cause. Here, Oufkir tells of the 20-year imprisonment of her upper-class Moroccan family following a 1972 coup attempt against King Hassan II by her father, a close military aide. After her father's execution, Oufkir, her mother and five siblings were carted off to a series of desert barracks, along with their books, toys and French designer clothes in the family's Vuitton luggage. At their first posting, they complained that they were short on butter and sweets. Over the years, subsequent placements brought isolation cells and inadequate, vermin-infested rations. Finally, starving and suicidal, the innocents realized they had been left to die. They dug a tunnel and escaped. Recapture led to another five years of various forms of imprisonment before the family was finally granted freedom. Oufkir's experience does not fit easily into current perceptions of political prisoners victimized for their beliefs or actions. In fact, she was the adopted daughter of King Muhammad V, Hassan II's father, sent by her parents at age five to be raised in the court with the king's daughter as her companion and equal. Beyond horrifying images such as mice nibbling at a rich girl's face, this erstwhile princess's memoir will fascinate readers with its singular tale of two kindly fathers, political struggles in a strict monarchy and a family's survival of cruel, prolonged deprivation. (Apr.)Forecast: A bestseller in France, where Morocco is always a hot issue, this oddly gripping book should also do well here thanks to Oufkir's appearance soon on 60 Minutes and a five-city tour. Film adaptation is a distinct possibility, especially given the book's publisher.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It would be unbelievable if it wasn't true March 4 2012
If this had been a book of fiction, I would have found it hard to believe, but as it is not, that makes it all the more remarkable. I found the writing a bit uneven, but I think that might be due to translation. I can highly recommend this book. It certainly makes our daily problems seem trivial and it is a testament to the human spirit and the drive to survive, no matter what the conditions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars important chronicle of human rights violations Aug. 1 2001
Stolen Lives ´¿ Twenty Years in a Desert Jail is an important book. This is a compelling true story. It outlines the life of Malika Oufkir, daughter of Moroccan general Oufkir.
Malika Oufkir has lead a unique life. Her story does not begin with imprisonment. It begins with being taken from her parents at age five to live in the palace. She becomes the adopted daughter of the ruling monarch, Muhammad V of Morocco. Although it is never fully explained, it appears that Malika is brought to the palace to be the companion for the king´¿s daughter. She is distraught; her parents acquiesce. It is the first lesson in the power of the monarchy. Muhammad V dies and is replaced by his son Hassan II. You might expect Malika to be returned home. But no, Hassan might be offended if the it appears that the Oufkir family thinks less of him than of his father. And so, Malika stays in the palace. But this is just the beginning.
Eventually, Malika returns to her family as a young adult. Later General Oufkir, Malika´¿s father, who is also a high placed advisor to the king, leads a coup d´¿etat. He is killed. Now the family´¿s story of imprisonment begins.
The King has the family removed from Rabat by police. Throughout the story, the police, and army are used to keep the family imprisoned. Some knew the general and were sympathetic to the family. Others had lost family in the coup d´¿etat and were filled with hatred. The conditions for the family were continually reduced, until they were put in solitary confinement for seven years. The treatment of the Oufkir family reads like a Nazi concentration camp story, with brutal guards, arbitrary punishments, malnutrition, and the loss of humanity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable courage in horrorific conditions! July 7 2001
By K. Corn
Format:Audio Cassette
I saw an interview with Malika Oufkir on Oprah Winfrey's show and was so taken by her courage, her incredible spiritual strength and the unbelievable horror of her tale, that I felt I had to know more. I found this version to be an inspiring testimony to the human spirit but also an honest account of the terrible toll of this family's ordeal, leaving one brother "a permanent child" in Malika's own words, a brother who found adjusting to a normal, free life nearly impossible and who is still suffering the effects of his imprisonment.For their part, Oufkir and her sisters were left suspicious of men, emotionally scarred by what they survived...and yet they also managed to find the strength to serve as witnesses to their injustice and to find the courage to speak out. This is one of the most inspiring true-life accounts I've read in the last year and one I'd put on any "must read" list. If you dont know the details of Oufkir's story, here's a brief summary: At the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of General Oufkir, was adopted by King Muhammad V of Morocco, a man who wanted an available playmate for his young daughter. While in the palace, Oufkir led a life of a fairy princess, in total luxury --- until her father was found guilty of treason as part of a coup to overthrow the new regime (led by King Hassan II). Malika's father was executed and she, her mother and her brother and sisters were immediately imprisoned. From one day to the next, Oufkir went from luxury to a struggle for her very existence, living in conditions that you can't believe until you read about it. There were times when one or the other would try and commit suicide (her brother when he was only 7) or be forced to eat food drenched in rat urine. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Lives July 1 2001
This book is an excellent read - a little jagged around the edges perhaps, and there could be a little more dialogue and action. But it's a remarkable testament to the human spirit, will and perservance. It reminds me how lucky I am to live in the U.S. where we take so many freedoms for granted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in ages! Sept. 18 2009
By Tara
This is one amazing book. I don't want to give the plot away. Suffice it to say that it is a story of one incredibly brave family who faced incredible odds and managed to triumph. I cried several times while reading this book. There is a sequel called "Freedom" which is not to be missed!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable, harrowing true story July 30 2008
Meet the Oufkir family. This is the printed condensation of their amazing survival.

Malika Oufikir, aided by writer Michele Fitoussi, recounts the plunge from the heights of an extremely privileged, if secluded, life, mostly lived at the Royal Moroccan court, and a life which later landed herself and her family into gaol, in 1972. A drastic change for everybody -but "drastic" is almost a diminishing adjective for what they went through-, including the two family retainers who had volunteered to share their fate. This was the result of a failed military coup against King Hassan II, led by Malika's father, General Oufkir, who was shot immediately after. Wife Fatima and their six children, aged between 19 (Malika) and 3 and a half (Abdellatif) were sent to prison. Deprivations, humiliations, isolation -even among themselves, they were not allowed to see each other for many years- lack of hygiene, food, water, medicines and contending their space with various rodents, cockroaches, scorpions, in the chilling cold or the most stifling heat, inability to see the light -they were kept in almost total darkness-. Up until the day when, 15 years later, with the resilience of the totally desperate, some of them managed to escape, Malika included. The tale of their evasion is chilling from beginning to end. But it also led to the liberation of the others left behind. Nobody could believe that the Oufkir children had reemerged from nothingness, but they managed to alert the relevant authorities, international press and word went out. They were all subsequently moved to a different location where they were still imprisoned but at least with more dignity -if one may use this term in the circumstances-. This went on for another 4 years. And then... freedom finally knocked at their door.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a true story of unbelievable courage against horrific odds
Malika Oufkir's childhood was one of luxury and indulgence as the informally adopted daughter of King Muhammed V of Morocco and companion to Princess Amina. Read more
Published on March 22 2007 by Shemogue
3.0 out of 5 stars too much day to day
What happened to this moroccan princess and her family is horrific. People should know and understand that this type of thing still happens. Read more
Published on June 2 2002 by Victoria
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt like I was there!
I loved this book sooooo much. Even though it was an Oprah book, which I normally get bored with. I immediately sent it off to my mom. I felt her pain, lonliness and fear. Read more
Published on May 21 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Well, I was very excited to read this book & learn about Malika's imprisonment. I find it inspiring to read about people who have such courage & stength. Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by Theresa W
1.0 out of 5 stars Not such an accurate picture
First of all, I do not want my negative review of the book and my following statements to be misconstrued as support for the inhumane conditions that Ms. Read more
Published on May 2 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is a very well-written account of a fascinating life. The story really stuck in my head. To live through such torture and still be able to have a positive outlook is... Read more
Published on April 25 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of personal triumph
"Stolen Lives" is Malika Oufkir's personal account of her life as an adopted daughter of the king of Morocco, then later a political prisoner in Morocco as she and her family paid... Read more
Published on April 12 2002 by Elizabeth S.
3.0 out of 5 stars Tragic!
The story as a whole was very tragic and I felt for the captives but the writing left a little to be desired. Read more
Published on April 11 2002 by Charlie B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving
What an amazing story, despite been well written or not, it is worth reading. I could not put the book down. Read more
Published on April 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL!
This is a powerful.. powerful book that will grab you and not let go. Get this book today and let it grab you!
Published on April 7 2002 by "auntiehun"
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