Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s contested presidential elections for Newsweek magazine. He thought he’d be returning in just a few days to Paola, his pregnant fiancée. Instead, he was incarcerated under false charges of espionage in Evin, a state prison notorious for its role in Iran’s history of torture and oppression. His release came four months later, only after a global campaign supported by Hillary Clinton.
Suffering regular beatings, forced confessions, and threats of execution, Bahari draws strength from the similar experiences of his family in the past: his father was imprisoned by the shah in the 1950s, and his sister by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. He dreams of being with Paola in London, and imagines all that she and his resilient eighty-four-year-old mother must being doing to fight for his freedom.
Exposing the contradictions at the heart of Ahmadinejad’s paranoid regime, this moving memoir is also a beautifully written portrait of modern Iran that carries a vital and troubling message as other countries in the region strive for democracy.
Praise for the book:
“A profound, yet intimate insight into modern day Iran, told through Bahari’s own and his family’s experience of living through it. A wonderful book.”
- Jon Snow, Channel Four News
“What makes Bahari’s account so readable is not only his sense of fair play — he tries to understand the motivations of the regime, and of his torturer — but also his keen sense of fun and humour.” – The Sunday Times
“A superb account … Insightful and brave.”
- Jane Corbin, journalist and reporter for BBC’s Panorama
“A beautifully written account of life in Iran, filled with insights not only into the power struggles and political machinations but into the personal, emotional lives of the people living in that complicated country. Maziar Bahari is a brave man and a wonderful storyteller.”
- Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World