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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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From Amazon

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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Most helpful customer reviews
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. That life was gone in an instant when Malika's father, General Oufkir, was implicated in an abortive coup against the regime. The General was summarily shot; Oufkir's wife and six children -- the eldest, 19-year old Malika, and the youngest a baby only three - were rounded up, placed under house arrest and then dispatched without legal recourse to a series of remote desert prisons, each more isolated, squalid and inhospitable than the last.
Their jailers had their instructions: " Subdue the Oufkirs. King's orders".

"Stolen Lives" is Malika's story of 15 years incarceration in some of the worst hell-holes on earth, where the family endured cold, near starvation, vermin, petty jailors, disease and despair. Realizing that they would never be released; that they would die there, forgotten, the now grownup children dug a tunnel, using little more than their bare hands, and four of them escaped. Pursued by police and rebuffed by old friends, they reached Tangier and broke their story to the foreign press. Eventually the authorities were embarrassed into freeing the entire family.

This is a story of ingenuity, perseverance and unbelievable courage in the face of horrific odds. The events described are beyond shocking; it is considered inhumane to confine animals or the worst criminals in such conditions. It is unspeakable that these acts were perpetrated on children, and incredible that they survived.

What kind of regime imprisons children for the sins of their father? "That kind of thing can't happen here", you say. After all, "Liberty" and Freedom" is enshrined in our Constitution/Bill of Rights.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected May 17 2002
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. The book didn't quite measure to my standards though. First, I felt the story could have been better told if it was told as a "story". It was to some extent, but not quite, because she was narrating and not just leting the story come about. Second, I guess it was just hard to feel a lot of pity for her, after reading about the hollocaust & other cases of more "extreme" punishment. Don't get me wrong, a great injustice was done & it's horrible, because these people are scarred forever. But especially the first few places they were held, wasn't quite like the prison I expected. It was more of a house arrest. Also, it did leave you hanging- why did her father start a coup?? It was an alright read. It was just hard to stay interested at a lot of points. However, I wish Malika & her family all of the justice & happiness they deserve.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of personal triumph April 12 2002
"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 for the sins of their father.
It was interesting to learn about the traditions in Morocco. It's amazing that she was basically just taken away from her parents at a young age in order to become an adopted daughter of the king, since he had a daughter the same as as Malika and the daughter needed a playmate. Malika gives an interesting account of the ways of the court- the traditions, the festivals, the reverence paid to the king and the concubines. As a child, she never had a normal life- she was essentially a prisoner inside the court. I would have liked to have read more vivid and detailed accounts of the court- not gossipy, just from a cultural standpoint. I had a hard time picturing many of the scenes she described due to vagueness.
After her father, a revered military man, was executed after leading a coup against the king, he was executed and the family sent into exile, even though the family had nothing to do with the coup. The conditions were incomprehensibly inhumane. I'm amazed that Malika is able to talk about it so freely, for she even admits she's haunted by the demons. It's difficult to even empathize despite her account, for I've never experienced anything like she went through. It's a story that sounds more like 15th century Europe than 20th century Morocco. Her youngest brother was only 3 when they were imprisoned. She describes how amazed he was with the world when a few of them were able to escape. For instance, he finds something hard on the ground but didn't know what it was- it was simply asphalt.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story that deserves a better telling. March 30 2002
By mirope
"Stolen Lives" needs to be evaluated on two different levels - the moving tale of a family imprisoned under the worst conditions for 20 years and the way this amazing story has been memorialized by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi. The subject is engrossing and important, but the book itself is not well-written. This accounts for the disparity in ratings that the book has received.
It is fascinating to read about Malika'a unique and frequently heartbreaking life. The eldest daughter of a Morococcan general, she was taken from her family and adopted by the King. Western readers will find the tales of her life in the royal household surprising and enlightening. Not only was the lifestyle outrageously lavish, it was also consisted of customs and traditions that are completely different from our own. Malika was allowed to return to her own family as a young teenager. She only had a few years to get to know her father and enjoy life outside the confines of the palace. Her father before General Oufkir was implicated in a coup attempt against the King and was assassinated. The rest of the family - Malika, her mother, her oldest brother, three young sisters and three year old baby brother were summarily imprisoned. For twenty years they lived in increasingly brutal and inhumane conditions, persecuted by the King for their father's crimes and forgotten by the world. Thanks to their uncommon courage and ingenuity, the family was able to survive and eventually escape. It's not easy to read about many of the horrors and indignities that were heaped upon the Oufkirs, but it's important that the world know about their story.
Unfortunately, the book is not worthy of this amazing story. It was written by Malika with the assistance of Michele Fitoussi.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It would be unbelievable if it wasn't true
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. Read more
Published on March 4 2012 by Mackenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in ages!
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... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2009 by Tara
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable, harrowing true story
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... Read more
Published on July 30 2008 by I LOVE BOOKS
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
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 1 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 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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