Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein Paperback – Sep 7 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
When author Sasson (Esther's Child; Princess Sultana's Circle; etc.) was assigned Mayada Al-Askari as a translator on a 1998 trip to Baghdad, she had no idea she would form a lasting friendship with this fluent English-speaker and member of a prominent Iraqi family. When Sasson returned to the United States, the two women wrote letters and telephoned each other weekly until, in 1999, Mayada was arrested by Saddam Hussein's secret police for allegedly printing anti-regime pamphlets in her Baghdad print shop and imprisoned for nearly a month in Iraq's brutal Baladiyat Prison. Sasson's candid, straightforward account of Mayada's time among the 17 "shadow women" crammed into Cell 52 gives readers a glimpse of the cruelty and hardship endured by generations of Iraqis. Mayada stares down this ugliness as soon as she's yanked from her meticulously run shop into the prison's interrogation room: "She saw chairs with bindings, tables stacked high with various instruments of torture.... But the most frightening pieces of... equipment were the various hooks that dangled from the ceiling. When Mayada glanced to the floor beneath those hooks, she saw splashes of fresh blood, which she supposed were left over from the torture sessions she had heard during the night." Sasson's graceful handling of such stomach-turning material, including an overview of Iraq's political and social turmoil, is a tribute to her friend, who escaped to Jordan with her children soon after her release from prison. Although Mayada's story has a happy ending, the unclear fates of her cell mates serve as a painful reminder of how many innocent lives were cut short by Hussein's regime.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sasson, author of Princess: A True Story of Life behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (1992), first met Mayada in 1998. A year later, Mayada, granddaughter of a revered Iraqi hero who fought with Lawrence of Arabia, a former journalist, modern businesswoman, and the mother of two children, was arrested and imprisoned on allegations that her business was printing antigovernment flyers. Sasson relates Mayada's imprisonment with 17 "shadow women," similarly falsely accused and imprisoned and subjected to torture and cruelty under the regime of Saddam Hussein. To distract themselves, the women tell each other stories of their lives, and Mayada discloses her high-born, privileged lifestyle even though her family were not members of the leading Baath Party. She recalls her mother's acquaintance with Hussein's wife and their mutual dislike. Mayada also tells of interviews with the cruel and erratic Ali Hassan al-Majid, Hussein's cousin and the man who would become known as Chemical Ali. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cruelties suffered by the Iraqis under Hussein. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
However this time, and unlike some previous work I read by the same author, I felt that this book lacks in substance a bit, some points have not been explained clearly and, in my opinion, the frequent descriptions of Mayada's fortunate background blur some more fundamental issues.
Then I was lucky enough as a journalist to meet Mayada...after I read Jean Sasson's book about her life.
Sasson depicts Mayada in the book as a true gentlewoman who traces her lineage back to remarkable gentlemen and women of the educated elite in the part of the world where civilization first emerged. In person, she proved to be that bright and gentle woman.
Mayada, through the book and in person, is an excellent spokesman for the injustices of the just-ousted regime in Iraq, for the justice represented by our unilateral action in Iraq and for the promise of a democratic stronghold in the Middle East.
After reading the book, even as a seasoned journalist, I have a different frame of reference when I hear, see or read the sensational reports intimating that our U.S. actions were or are based on eroneous grounds.
Mayada - a jounalist herself - calls it "a good thing." Knowing her story now, I agree. Read the book and you'll watch history unfold from the viewpoint of someone who has been there.
The book is about the title-character, Mayada. She came from a prominent Iraqi family. Mayada owned and managed a printing shop. And under the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein she was accused of breaking the law and thrown in jail.
Mayada's basic human rights were violated while she was in jail. She met several women in her jail cell, the shadow women as they are called. They shadow women are all so brave and harrowing. Each shadow women has her own story of despair; one worse than the next.
The fate of the shadow women is unknown, but if you read this book you will find out what happens to Mayada.
Mayada is probably Ms. Sasson's best work to date. It is thought-provoking, intense and written in great detail.
I hope that Ms. Sasson will write a follow-up story to Mayada. For more information about Jean Sasson and her books please visit her website: [...] and if you're interested in human rights please visit [...]
Most recent customer reviews
This gave insight into what life was like under Hussein's reign of terror. We have no idea how lucky we are to be able to walk free and have an opinion and a voice on any topic we... Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2014 by anniegale
I read this book in a few days. Very interesting but sometimes a painful read. Incredible how the people of Iraq suffered. Highly recommended.Published on Jan. 10 2011 by Deb & Noel
Jean Sasson has given a voice to one of the most oppressed groups in the world today - Arab women. First with Princess and now with Mayada. Read morePublished on July 6 2004
As a huge fan of Jean Sasson, I keenly anticipated the release of Mayada, Daughter of Iraq. It was definitely worth the wait. Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by mariya ali
MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ: ONE WOMEN'S SURVIVAL UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN, is yet another page turner by Jean Sasson. Read morePublished on April 2 2004 by Blair Spurney-Rogers
Other reviews of this book may lead you to believe that it leans one way or the other on whether we should have gone to war with Iraq. Read morePublished on March 23 2004 by Beth
After reading the Princess Sultana Trilogy and developing a keen interest in the lives of Middle-Eastern women I knew I had to read Mayada's story. I could not put the book down. Read morePublished on March 7 2004 by Leah Christensen