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A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  546 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews

The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times reporter's abduction by the Taliban, and his wife's struggle to free him.

Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York Times reporter David Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas of Pakistan. For the next seven months, they lived in an alternate

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Published November 30th 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published October 25th 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Paul Pessolano
Reporters today put themselves at risk to get the big story. David Rhohde is one of them. He was doing a story on the Taliban and thought he needed more authenticity for his story. He decided, against his better judgement, to meet with a leader fo the Taliban. He knew the risk he was taking, and sure enough, he walked into a trap and became a kidnap victim.

"A Rope and a Prayer" is a story of what it is like to be a kidnap victim of the Taliban with everyday not knowing if it will be your last. Y
Dec 08, 2012 DocHolidavid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Rohde’s account of his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan with alternating accounts by his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, of her struggle in determining David’s predicament and location as she fights for his return through political means from her home in the U.S.

It is an account revealing the defiant, vengeful, aimless and ragtag nature of radical Islam cast in the backdrop of a good international historical explanation of prior circumstances.

It provides some insight into a culture in chao
Garwen Jackson
Good story, but David had been kidnapped before . . . hello?
Mar 05, 2016 Brienne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I have an interest in better understanding the political situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan and in how the West has impacted that situation. Am also very much taken with the second season of Serial, about Bowe Bergdahl who was captured by the Taliban and held in the same region as David Rhode (the author of this book) was.

Highly recommend. Insightful and nuanced, the authors resisted sensationalizing Rhode's experienced and made a valiant effort to relay the complexity of
Sep 10, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a timely read, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, with news of increased violence in the region and recent attacks on foreign journalists. A riveting story of a kidnapping told from two perspectives. The part of the book that resonated most for me was this: "I do not believe that religion itself is inherently divisive or destructive. For me, religion in moderation brings out our better angels.... Religion in extremes, though, frequently brings out our worst. It plays upon what is perhaps ...more
Jun 24, 2015 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can't really feel sorry for a reporter who makes an appointment with the Taliban and then ends up kidnapped. It's not as if they're known for their hospitality and love of Americans. However, David Rohde isn't asking for our pity; in fact, he is genuinely sorry for the consequences of his decision. This is insightful look into U.S. policy, private consultants, and ransom negotiations. And if that's not enough, it is a genuine love story between husband and wife in harrowing circumstances.
I liked learning more about the area and the players but the writing in general seemed flat. Im sure it was an extremely emotional experience but that did not come through especially from the wife.
Jan 12, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FASCINATING story of escape from a terrorist kidnapping deep in the mountains of Afghanistan. Such guts to do what he did- and survive!
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This narrative of the capture of New York Times reporter David Rohde by the Taliban is unique in that it presents not only the captive's experience, but that of his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, as well.

The two were newly married, and Mr. Rohde was in Afghanistan, hoping to snag one more interview for a book he was writing. After that, he promised his wife he'd come home and settle down. The catch is that the interview was with a Taliban leader in the dicey tribal border lands of Pakistan.

Of course,
Theo Cage
Interesting take on an actual Taliban kidnapping as seen from both the hostage and the family.
Apr 01, 2016 Raela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, nonfiction
In November 2008, David Rohde was a New York Times reporter when he was invited to interview a Taliban commander in Afghanistan and was subsequently kidnapped along with two Afghan colleagues. This book is the fascinating story of his seven months of captivity from the alternating perspectives of David and his new bride of only two months at the time, Kristen Mulvihill. After this book, readers will realize they had almost no idea of the intricacies of such a situation and their imaginings of th ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this book as 3+ if possible. The narrative was too matter of fact for my taste. The alternating chapters relating the experiences of David, the kidnapped journalist, and his wife Kristen, is a great way to allow the reader to experience both sides of the story. However, I'm not sure the true personality of either writer comes out. David tells how he tried to out smart his kidnappers, he emphasizes his fondness for Tahir, one of two men kidnapped with him, but his deepest feelings, if th ...more
Lauren Hopkins
Aug 31, 2011 Lauren Hopkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insight into a journalist's kidnapping by a Taliban faction in Afghanistan and the tribal villages of Pakistan. Rohde provides information about his side of the ordeal while Mulvihill (his wife) details the lengths to which she and their family went in order to get him home; the chapters alternate between the two which makes for probably one of the most complete accounts of this sort of ordeal. Mulvihill's side is mostly personal, telling of how she copes with her husband's disappearan ...more
Feb 01, 2011 Marlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was very informative about what is going on in Afghanistan, as well as being the story of David Rhode's kidnapping. David Rhode was a war correspondent who felt a need to get one last interview, one with a Taliban, for a book he was writing. That proved to be fatal. It was a set-up and he, along with an Afghan journalist and driver, was kidnapped. The story shifts back and forth from David's side of what was going on to his wife's side and what she and David's family were doi ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book - and it's duality in storytelling. The experience of a New York Times journalist being kidnapped is told through two perspectives, his and his wife's - who fought continuously for his release. It was an interesting perspective, David fighting endlessly to retain sanity amongst a physiological 'warfare' and his wife struggling to remain present in two worlds, one of a kidnapped situation and the second a life in NYC holding a job as Cosmopolitan. In truth, I read this book beca ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
I started this book because a dear friend's brother-in-law and sister-in-law wrote it. I finished it because I couldn't put it down! The story is told alternately by each author and describes the kidnapping and captivity of David by the Taliban whilst writing a book about Afghanistan. David is a reporter for the NY Times and has spent a lot of time in the region. He had an interview lined up with a Taliban leader, in order to round out his book. The leader betrayed him and kidnapped him, his int ...more
Milan Homola
Sep 12, 2012 Milan Homola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could be the fastest I've ever read 345 pages. I really enjoyed this book. It touched down for me on so many levels. It has the compelling story of kidnapping from both the kidnapped perspective and the family trying to save him. It also surprised me with how much it taught me about the history, culture, and current situation in Afghanistan/Pakistan. As a History student its great to learn more about the history of a region all the while reading a real life compelling story. The other day a ...more
I'd really like to give this book 3 1/2 stars, but that's not an option.

I first heard about this book on NPR, and I was instantly drawn to the story. I downloaded the sample on my Kindle, and I was sucked in. Then, I realized that the book was one of the more expensive releases on the Kindle, so I ordered it from the library. Having a gap in there between reading the first part and coming up on the waitlist at the library probably made it feel like the story dragged on more than it actually did
Jun 20, 2013 Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intelligent and thoughtful story about the kidnapping by the Taliban of David Rohde. I explains in some detail the events of his seven months in captivity as well as the experience of his wife's struggle to free him. It is told in a simple back and forth narrative written in an easy to read style.

I found the characters engaging and remarkably cool and capable,the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan confused and complex. How one can navigate the Afghan problem with multiple ethnic, r
Jan 10, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book about the ordeal one journalist and his wife live through when he is kidnapped by the Taliban while on assignment. The story is told by both David and his wife, Kristin, as the narrative switches back and forth to detail the seven months of his captivity. it's sensitive to the varying emotions and actions of each as well as to what they each had to absorb from the situation they were presented with. There is a great deal of history and general information provided about t ...more
Chris Taylor
Pretty interesting read about a journalist in Afghanistan who was kidnapped by the Taliban and miraculously escaped after months of captivity. Chapters alternate between his account of events in Afghanistan and Pakistan and his wife's account back in the States. Interesting read, although I'll say I was more interested in his chapters because it gave a view into a culture and society that I'm totally unfamiliar with. That, and, her accounts were a little girlie at times, and felt like they distr ...more
Shirley Freeman
After 2 months of marriage, NYTimes reporter David Rohde was kidnapped and held for 7 months and 10 days by the Taliban. The book alternates between his story of his ordeal and his wife, Kristin Mulvihill's, story of trying to get him released. He includes some history of Afghanistan and some current events reporting. Her story was quite interesting also. I especially enjoyed the way she contrasted her daily job of working with high maintenance celebrities at Cosmopolitan magazine with her other ...more
Kellie Doyle
May 31, 2016 Kellie Doyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journalist at heart, I was enthralled by New York Times reporter David Rohde's story about his kidnapping by the Taliban while in Afghanistan conducting interviews for a book. Interwoven with his own narrative are facts about the history of the war in the Middle East—very interesting and important for everyone to know. I was a little disheartened by some grammatical errors I caught (former English teacher) and felt like the book could be maybe 50 pages shorter, but overall I felt more informed ...more
Karen & Gerard
This non-fiction book is my pick for my March book of the month and here are the reasons why:
(1) It is the true story of David being kidnapped and held for over six months!
(2) It’s the story as told by Kristen, newly married, sharing her feelings as her husband was being held.
(3) It gives really wonderful insight into the Taliban and what they think and believe.
(4) The writing is so very good that I got the sense of what David and Kristen went through.
(5) Has a great ending too!
I highly recommen
Feb 06, 2011 Marie4118 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written account of the recent kidnapping of a journalist in Afghanistan and his wife's efforts to get his release. It described parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan that we read about every day so i have a lot better picture of the area. His wife was able to have access to high-power people because of the paper for whom her husband worked -- Richard Hollbrook, Hillary Clinton, etc -- but oddly enough (this isn't really a spoiler) her husband was finally able to escape. A good story a ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Nov 22, 2012 Elizabeth Theiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New York Times war correspondent David Rohde ignored all advice and arranged an interview with a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, leading to his kidnapping along with his driver and an Afghan journalist. A Rope and a Prayer is his and his wife's story of the seven month captivity and daring escape. Along the way, I learned a bit about the Taliban, Pakistani politics, and the the radical Wahhabi beliefs of Rohde's kidnappers. None of this tale gave me much hope for the future of the region or for a ...more
Jul 08, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling and well-written report on a journalist held by the Taliban for seven months before he was able to escape. Every other chapter is his story; the other is written by his newly-wed wife and their families. I didn't read in detail all the depth of how Afghanistan, Pakistan and Taliban interacts and has changed over the years with various inside and outside influences. Nonetheless, there are some fine perspectives here, as well as about hos our government agencies work with civilians and ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often don't mind the dated nature of books I'm reading, but this story of the kidnapping of a NYT journalist by Taliban-connected militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2008-09, which was published in 2010, felt out-of date. The emotional, personal part is timeless, of course. But the broader picture has moved so much, from the rise of ISIS/Daesh to the shooting of Malala Yousafzai to the death of bin Laden, that I was constantly on the internet looking at what's happened since. That said, a ...more
Michele Sonkin
Aug 13, 2013 Michele Sonkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and found the topic riveting. But I also admit that I skipped passages now and then, mostly the ones from David's point of view. That's just because he goes into a ton of detail about the Muslim religion, Middle-East culture and the Taliban. I wasn't interested in knowing quite so much, but others might be. I was interested in his story much more than I was about the geography and history lesson.
Feb 08, 2011 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this. He does a very detailed review of the history of the region but there was something missing from this. It was scary but in a very unemotional way. Like they were telling someone else's story. (This true story of being kidnapped by the Taliban is told from the husband and wife's perspective.) Not sure what to say on this one. It had potential but didn't end up being great.
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