Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,284 ratings  ·  190 reviews

When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he’d be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, end...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Random House (first published May 19th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Then They Came for Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Then They Came for Me

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod SerajiReading Lolita in Tehran by Azar NafisiRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Omar KhayyamNot Without My Daughter by Betty MahmoodyMurder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
Iran and Iraq, Ancient and Modern
13th out of 256 books — 79 voters
I Am Malala by Malala YousafzaiIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingThe Reason I Jump by Naoki HigashidaLean In by Sheryl SandbergThe Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
Books Rec'd By The Daily Show
21st out of 292 books — 110 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
My first job out of college was at a weekly newspaper, and the office receptionist had a passion for writing and supporting Irish political prisoners. In my naivete, I couldn't imagine her efforts making a difference. And why were they being held prisoner, anyway? Surely they had done something to deserve their punishment.

Now that I'm older and more worldly, I understand that tyrants frequently imprison the innocent and don't care about justice -- they care about consolidating power and squashin...more
“Mr. Bahari, let me advise you on this matter,” he said before exiting the room. “In our judicial system, it is the interrogator who makes the final decision. It is better if you cooperate with us, rather than rely on anyone outside of this room. You are here, and here, I am the only one who will make decisions about your life.” – Rosewater

This morning's headline about the beheading of a British aid worker by the terrorist group ISIS filled me with dread, but especially honed in on this feelin...more
Amerikalı komedyen Jon Stewart olmasaydı (ki kendisinin bu kitabı filme çekmesinin ilginç bir hikayesi var) ne gazeteci Maziar Bahari'den haberim olacaktı ne de yıllar önce İran'da yaşanan ve okurken beni fena duygu hallerine sevkeden İran'ın Gezi Parkı ruhundan. Hani bazen aynı apartmanda yaşadığımız komşumuzdan bihaber oluruz da dışarıdan birilerinden onun başına neler geldiğini öğreniriz ya, bu da öyle bir şey işte.

İran'da 4 ay hapis yatan Bahari'nin kitabında sadece korkunç tecrit anıları de...more
2013 is the year I catch up on the non-fiction books I’ve been meaning to read for the last few years. So many great non-fiction books came out in 2012 that I had not gotten around to reading that I vowed I would get on the wagon and made a list of over a dozen to read, I’ll probably add more to this list as the year unfolds. This book I’ve had in fact special ordered and it had been sitting on my shelf pleading to be read for the last several months.

I heard Mazair Bahiri interviewed on Fresh A...more
Sara Sg
I would very much like to give this book a 3.5 rating. But because I can't, I'll go for the lower.

Maziar Bahari writes about his 118 days in Evin prison following the post-election uprise in Iran in June 2009. He intertwines the story with his family's, especially his father's and older sister's, -both gone now-, stories of resistance and imprisonment at different periods in Iranian politics. At the same time, his British wife in London is five months pregnant, adding up to the turmoil.

For what...more
This is an excellent book which gave me a glimpse into the lives of the everyday Iranian. I was moved by the love of the family members in this book and by the deep commitment that they to each other. I absolutely love Mr. Bahari's mother! She says what's on her mind.

I gained a new appreciation as well for the younger Iranian population who just want to live in a war-free nation and to be able to raise their children in peace. They are tired of the politics that make their country look ignorant...more
I think everyone needs to read this book in order to get a better understanding of what is behind that tiny word, "Iran", when the newsreader says it.

Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek journalist, was arrested following the Iranian election in 2009. Beatings and solitary confinement ensued as the regime attempted to extract a confession from him that he was a spy.

In spite of the agonising circumstances, he had been expecting to return to the side of his pregnant fiancée in London in a matter of days, Ma...more
I first became interested in "Then They Came for Me" by Maziar Bahari, after hearing that Comedy Central's Jon Stewart was taking a break from his popular comedy news show to direct and produce a movie based on this book.
Stewart's interest in the story stems from the fact that Bahari was arrested by Iranian authorities shortly after being interviewed for Stewart's TV show, "The Daily Show", which did a brief segment with Bahari about the 2009 Iranian presidential election. Shortly after doing t...more
D. Scott Meek
Sep 19, 2013 D. Scott Meek rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to D. by: no one
A gripping tale by Maziar Bahari that is unfortunately true.

Following the election of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic of Iran is thrown into chaos. The election results are incredulous, and Mr. Bahari, intrepid (perhaps a little too much so) reporter, ignores warnings by his motorcycle driver and his connected friend Amir that he is being followed and watched while he crisscrosses Tehran to interview important members of the budding Green Movement and even cover the riots in...more
"Then They Came for Me" is targeted for non-Iranians who would like to know about the crazy and complex labyrinth of Iranian political and security systems. It is also a personal story: How Maziar Bahari and his family suffered tortures and imprisonment from the Iranian regime over the years.

I liked the way he depicts a frame of "here and now" (from the streets of Tehran to his horrible moments of solitary confinement to his interrogations) and then takes a step back and tells us stories of his...more
The first time I read Maziar Bahari's "Then They Came For Me" was in 2012. I started the book on the train ride from London to Paris and finished it in a Parisian cafe that evening. It is powerful and haunting and brought me to tears; however, it is such an important story and one that, as an Iranian/Canadian, is near to my heart.

The book chronicles Maziar's trip to Iran during the fateful 2009 elections. A journalist for Newsweek magazine, Maziar reported on the elections and on the subsequent...more
Read it before the film is released. Jon Stewart's directorial debut. Great for a better understanding of Iranian life.
Mar 20, 2014 Kristin added it
Shelves: iran
This was a great and important book, as well as a great read. It should be mandatory reading for all Americans. It's disturbing to know how much Iranian officials hate America; how deeply many of them are in the service of the actual forces of evil in the universe; how mind-bogglingly stupid they are; how profoundly they continue to oppress their people; and how strong and indomitable is the spirit of the Iranian people in the face of this oppression. My amazement grows all the time at how much...more
First I have to tell you that I got a copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads Giveaways, in exchange for an honest review. (This review is all my own opinion!)

As soon as I discovered this book I knew it was important for me to read it. I found it was a very emotional experience. I cannot remember the last time I have read anything that made me cry so much or so angry. Although I wish that Mr Bahari and his family did not have to suffer this horrific experience, I am so grateful that when...more
Nitya Sivasubramanian
I'll admit, i opened this book intending to love it. Although I blame Bahari for Jon Stewart's absence on The Daily Show, I'm almost as excited to watch Rosewater as I was to read this book.

Maziar Bahari was an accredited journalist for Newsweek in Iran when he was arrested and thrown into the notorious Evin Prison. But before that, he was also the son of Iranian activists who discussed politics and history at the dinner table and were imprisoned under the Shah's regime. He was the brother of a...more
(5.0) Powerful story well told

I'd heard Maziar on Fresh Air and wanted to hear more of the story of his imprisonment in an Iranian political prison. I was pleasantly rewarded. I'm not sure how much of the quality is due to his co-author, Aimee Molloy, but I'm curious about other books she's worked on (though none actually sound that interesting to me now).

Maziar comes from a politically outspoken family so it was not so much an accident or misfortune that he was imprisoned, more his birth right....more
I really enjoyed reading this book, although I found it profoundly disturbing. Let's just say it's not recommended bedtime reading. I learned a great deal about what went on in Iran politically during the 2009 elections, and the subsequent protests by the people. Bahari was an Iranian-Canadian journalist covering the election for Newsweek, when he was arrested and jailed (his British fiancee was five months pregnant at the time). He spent four months in prison, being interrogated, beaten and tor...more
Aug 31, 2014 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Daily Show - the book Rosewater is based on.
In a nutshell, the Iranian-born London-based journalist who authored this book was arrested for being a spy. He was accused of passing secrets to Jason Jones of The Daily Show. He was held and interrogated for 4 months in the same prison where his father had been imprisoned during the reign of the Shah of Iran and his sister during the times of the Iranian Revolution.
I said many prayers of gratitude that I live in the country that I do while reading this book. Even with all our supposed trouble...more
Fascinating but disturbing account of Bahari's six-month imprisonment in an Iranian prison at the hands of the Revolutionary Guard. His story ironically humanizes his captors, rather than demonizing them. Very welcome insights, especially having taught a remarkable recent Iranian immigrant teen this past year, whose family left his much-loved home country due to religious persecution. We talked a bit about this book; his assessment of what's what in "his country" was quite grim, but not surprisi...more
Cody Thomas
You know, a person living in America is truly blessed. It's easy to get caught up in politics, but really compared to other parts of the world, our debates are so silly. They look so small and trivial compared to places like Iran, where this memoir takes place.

I don't even know how I found out about this book. I think I saw it somewhere online, so I read the sample. I was hooked. I don't even usually care for memoirs, but this one was just so interesting.

This is the story of Maziar Bahari, a C...more
A beautiful memoir! Maziar Bahari is an excellent writer, and does a wonderful job of bringing the reader into his emotions and experiences throughout the book. (And there's also plenty of background information for those of us who aren't as informed about Iran as we should be!) His story really brings home the importance of freedom and democracy, as well as the difficulty and complexity of achieving them.
Read this book. Horrifying story put into the context of Iran's religious and political history. It is never, ever dry or plodding--Bahari is a fantastic storyteller. For anyone who watched Iran's 2009 election unfold online or followed (the best you could) the story of Bahari's subsequent arrest, this is a must-read.
This book reads like fiction, but it's not. It's a real page turner. Bahari gives the reader an insider's view of political intrigue in Iran during and after the last election of Ahmadinejad. It also left me asking, can you ever really know what's happening behind the scenes of any government?
Dawn Marie
This is a very enlightening book as it gives you a rare glimpse into what life is like for the average citizen in Iran under the current regime. The politcal system is truely a disaster and as always the average person is the one who suffers. Iran is a very scarey place.
Rosemary Daly
Maziar Bahari is an Iranian born journalist who worked for Newsweek. His family members had been persecuted under the Shah and again under the Ayatollah. While in Iran covering a story, he was arrested, held captive, and tortured for about 4 months before being released. The book is riveting. His story leaves me shaking my head in horror over governments and humanity. This story is not limited to the government of Iran: look at the genocides of Rwanda, Burundi, and Malaysia. Do we not learn ANYT...more
John Stewart takes the summer off in 2013 to work on a movie based on this book. His connection to the story came from a Daily Show piece wherein Jason Jones went to Tehran in 2009 to answer the questions "What makes these people so evil?" and "Why is [Iran] so terrifying?". Jason Jones met with Maziar Bahari, a Canadian journalist in Tehran covering the Iran elections - where the nation is deciding between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi.

Shortly after the election, which has clearly been rigged for Ah...more
Chris Gagne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

I learned of Then They Came for Me via The Daily Show, which I love. Being a sane person I find it incredibly ridiculous for anyone to think Jason Jones is an American spy. While that is not what led to Bahari's arrest they did in fact show the video from The Daily Show as proof of his dealings with Americans and spies.

Overall I found Bahari to have a likable and relatable voice. His story was not told as though he were outside of it, in a clinical way, but that he was clearly entrenche...more
I give Bahari a lot of credit for his bravery. Writing this book meant potentially putting loved ones in danger. Reliving the time in prison must have been difficult, and one can feel the pain in his narration as he ruminates over how this has changed his feelings toward his country and his place in the world.
That being said: I wanted more.
Is that cold and callous of me? Have the years of vying for headshots in Xbox games ruined me? No, I don't think that's what is it.
As I said before, one can f...more
The author of this book is distractingly preoccupied with matters of his own purported superior logic and intellect. There are many subtle attempts at portraying himself as the cunning manipulator of his imprisoners, and it would appear that he was sure to include every single sarcastic self-serving comment that crossed his mind during his 118 day term at Evin Prison.

The manifold failings of the Ayatollah, Revolutionary Gaurds, Basij, Quds Force, Ahmadinejad voters, etc etc, are primarily moral...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
  • In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate
  • Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An Education in War
  • The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge
  • The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World
  • Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution
  • The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future
  • Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
  • Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran
  • Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril
  • My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran
  • My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices
  • Murder in the Name of Honor: The True Story of One Woman's Heroic Fight Against an Unbelievable Crime
  • Persian Girls: A Memoir
  • Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity
  • A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran
  • A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran
  • Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran
Maziar Bahari (born 1967) is an Iranian Canadian journalist, playwright and film maker. He was a reporter for Newsweek from 1998 to 2011. Bahari was imprisoned by the Iranian government in June 2009, but was released on October 20, 2009.
More about Maziar Bahari...
Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations

Share This Book

“We were all caught in that uncomfortable zone between trying to save our lives and betraying ourselves.” 5 likes
“Jafaa. In Persian, this very poetic word refers to all the wrongs you do to those who love you.” 4 likes
More quotes…