Middle Eastern Memoirs: Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari

When it comes to books about Iran, my public library has a great selection from which to choose. Over the years I’ve discovered a ton of great books about Iran simply raiding the shelves. It’s this kind of casual exploration that’s led me to books like Ronen Bergman’s The Secret War with Iran: Israel and the West’s 30-Year Clandestine Struggle, Greenhaven Press’s anthology Iran: Opposing Viewpoints, Robert Baer’s The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower and Dore Gold’s The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West. Of course,  when it comes to books about Iran I have a soft spot for anything written by Iranians. Hooman Majd’s The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran is one of my all time favorites. Reza Kahlili’s A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran made my “Best of” list for 2011. Amir Taheri’s  The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution I found uncompromising but at the same time smart and insightful.

Not long ago while plundering my public library I came across another book about Iran, this time Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival

In his 2010 memoir Bahari, a former Newsweek correspondent, recalls his time spent covering the 2009 Iranian election and the protests dubbed the “Green Revolution” that quickly followed. In an effort to discredit the political opposition by linking them to Western intelligence services, Bahari, plus several  opposition leaders were thrown in Iran’s notorious Evan Prison. After being interrogated, threatened with execution, forced to make false confessions and beaten for over 100 days he was eventually freed. Bahari credits a worldwide array of journalists, leaders and loved ones campaigning on his behalf that eventually won his release.

Just as with Tokyo Vice, a movie adaptation is on the way. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is producing and directing a movie based on Bahari’s memoir. Titled Rosewater, filming began in July with Gael García Bernal of The Motorcycle Diaries cast as Bahari. If the movie end up being half as good as the book, it should be a fine film. Can’t wait to see it.

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5 Comments

Filed under Area Studies/International Relations, Current Affairs, Iran, Memoir, Middle East/North Africa

5 responses to “Middle Eastern Memoirs: Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari

  1. I heard the NPR interview as well and thought the story sounded fascinating. I had no idea they were making a movie of it. Now I am intrigued to both read it and see it

  2. Pingback: Middle Eastern Memoirs: And Then All Hell Broke Loose by Richard Engel | Maphead's Book Blog

  3. I’ve read a few of the books that you listed in this review, but I’ve got some catching up to do. 🙂 I saw the film version of this book, which has since been re-named, “Rosewater.” Recently I was able to get a copy of this book as well…but, shame on me, I’ve still got to read it. Great review…again.

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