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Saved by Her Enemy: An Iraqi woman's journey from the heart of war to the heartland of America

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  49 reviews
For her entire life, Rafraf, a devout Muslim, had been told that Americans were the enemy. Her understanding of the world, of her place in it, and of the United States had been steeped in the culture of Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Yet, in the midst of insurgents attempting to kidnap and kill her, she found herself on the receiving end of lifesaving help from tho ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Howard Books (first published 2010)
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Crystal Starr Light
"Suddenly, I realized why I was in Baghdad. My purpose was to get Rafraf out"

NOTE: I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program

Don Teague was an American NBC correspondent on assignment in Baghdad, February 2004. Rafraf Barrack was an Iraqi translator working for NBC. When a bomb explodes a school that both happen to be reporting at, Don realizes that he needs to get Rafraf, an intelligent young woman, out of Iraq.

I Liked:
The first thing that really impressed me was how Teague wrote i
A Fascinating Look at the Iraq War

Don Teague was an NBC correspondent assigned to Iraq twice - once during the invasion and once during February 2004, the beginning of the insurgent bombing spree that was finally ended by the famous "surge." His translator during this one month hitch was a beautiful and rebellious young Iraqi woman named Rafraf Barrak.

Teague is an 11 year veteran of the National Guard (helicopter pilot) and knows enough about fighting and war to be very respectful of the danger
Seems to be a little high-horsey-"America, fuck yeah!" so far, but I'm enjoying the perspective of an Iraqi woman from the onset of the Bush Jr.'s war.

Post-script: While it was a quick and easy read, it was heavy on Christian God speak. The author strained to credit God for his own good deeds, but the self-congratulatory undertones were a bit much.
Aug 29, 2012 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Brett
I was teetering between 4 and 5 stars on this book. I'd definitely recommend it to a friend but I don't think it fell into my 'best book I've ever read' category which is reserved for 5 stars only. It was a very good, well written, true story and a pretty amazing one at that. I think the book moved at a good pace so not too much time was spent telling one particular part of Rafraf and Don's story. It was told without digging into political and social motivations for the war in Iraq but rather na ...more
Suzanne Barrett
This is a wonderful sharing of experiences by Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak as they recount the history of their first meeting to their journey together in Iraq and later in the United States. It is an improbably journey for Rafraf was a Muslim who grew up knowing they were her enemy yet forced to work for them to help feed her family and Don Teague was a noted CBS reporter who has regularly appeared on Katie Couric's CBS Evening News.

Working together in Iraq, they became friends, but the bond wa
This is a wonderful sharing of experiences by Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak as they recount the history of their first meeting to their journey together in Iraq and later in the United States. It is an improbably journey for Rafraf was a Muslim who grew up knowing they were her enemy yet forced to work for them to help feed her family and Don Teague was a noted CBS reporter.

Working together in Iraq, they became friends, but the bond was formed when both narrowly escaped death due to a malfunction
Nancy Kennedy
While a war correspondent for NBC in Iraq, Don Teague came in regular conact with a young Iraqi woman, Rafraf Barrak, who worked as a translator for the network. As violence escalates in her country, Barrak's life is endangered and her death becomes almost a matter of time. Teague begins a herculean effort to get her out of the country and safely to the United States.

This book is a neatly told account of the mounting climate of danger and oppression in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While Barrak is devo
Tim Bancroft
I decided to read this book after hearing Don Teague (the author) on the radio. This book was outside my normal areas of interest and I never would have picked it up had I not heard the author describe his experiences. That said, I'm glad I read the book. The story reminds me a little bit of the guy on the beach picking up starfish that have washed up and are now dying in the sun. He's picking them up one by one and throwing them back in the sea. Someone approaches him and asks why he would both ...more
Transformative memoir, written mostly in Don Teague's journalistic tone. Teague was a foreign correspondent sent on an assignment to Baghdad in 2004. During post 911, at a time when Baghdad was chaotic and the division between Americans and Iraqis was very clear. He met Rafraf, the young translator assigned to his team. Meanwhile, Rafraf was faced with a conflict: continue to be threatened by her community because she worked for Americans, or keep the paycheck that helped support her family and ...more
Liberty Sage
It was good. Not necessarily written in story form, however. It is more of a documentary or a list of events and facts. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the Iraqi war from both sides. It was very interesting and has a satisfactory ending...
Susan Beals
Wow! This book read so fast! I couldn't put it down! I love that it's written from both the point of view of the NBC News correspondent and also the young Iraqi woman who worked for them as a translator.
MariAn Nyce
Dec 05, 2012 MariAn Nyce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to MariAn by: my sister-in-law, Lorene
It depicts the war in Iraq quite realistically - the horrors, displacement of families due to loss of jobs during this time. Rafraf was nearing her last semester of university - smart, good in English translation, which then took her into that world. Despite the risks, her father's hesitantcy (she earned much more than he could provide for the family) she did not comply with his wishes to STOP! The risk became her and family on a list to murder. The title gives you a clue as to the end result, b ...more
This was a very interesting book for me to read. In it I learned much about the Iraqi's view toward the US and other people in the world. I learned how grateful I am to live in a free country. Even with all the problems in America, our country is worlds better than many other countries and cultures. I learned, through Rafraf, what a culture shock America can be! I could have imagined it before reading this, but this book made me see challenges that I could not have guessed.
It's a very interesti
Kristin Little
Pretty good. Rafraf's back story was told well and her time in Iraq was well-chronicled. I was disappointed that there wasn't more on here story after coming the U.S. The book was also a little vague on why it was so crucial that she get to the U.S. It's strongest point, however (at least in my opinion) was on highlighting the cultural differences between Saddam's Iraq and the U.S. Seeing Rafraf's eyes open when she is introduced to the internet and drive-thrus was really interesting. A good rea ...more
Saved by Her Enemy is a heart felt account of Don Teague's compassion that knew no limits in his desire to help an Arab girl on the verge of being the next casualty in the war in Iraq.

It's an inspiring read about the dangers inherent in an war zone and how compassion can lead to mountains literally being "cast into the sea", in this case allowing Rafraf a new life of freedom in America with a new family that took her in and loved her as their own.

Thanks Don for a wonderful read and for your wond
Very interesting perspective of the history we remember vividly with the attack of Iraq. This book describes the on the ground life of people in Iraq and what it was like to be a reporter as the danger increased after the fall of Sudam Hussein. It focuses on a female Iraqis interpreter, Rafraf, whose world view of her country and her Muslim faith transforms during this time. It is personal and historical, and a truly wonderful story of how the impossible can happen.
The story is about an amazing young woman and the courage it took to make decisions and follow through to achieve what she knew must be better. I liked reading this book, written by both the woman and an American news correspondent she ended up working with who befriended her. Reminds me again of how blessed we are in the USA to be able to raise our children in a democracy, to teach them they can think for themselves and aspire to anything they want to achieve.
Another wonderful story! It is very interesting and very uplifting. This history gives insight into the war with Afghanistan that may not be understood from all the news we received. IT is a very human and personal journey and shows a different perspective than what we have seen. I loved it! I think it should be read before reading Kabul Beauty School because this happens during the American invasion, and Kabul BEauty School comes afterwards.
Marci Romney
Fascinating book that takes you to the heart of the conflict in Baghdad. This book is surprisingly religious, but not overly so. Extremely pro-American in its views. Matt and I read it out loud to each other on our recent road trip and I enjoyed both the book and Matt's ability to explain current Iraqi politics. :)

Next up is one that I'm guessing will have a quite different bent - Son of Hamas.
Kara Schiller
This book was very interesting to read because it showed you two very different perspectives from the beginning of the war in Iraq. The female character was living a traditional Muslim life in Iraq. When she became a translator for NBC, she discovered how many opportunities there were outside of her country and how many lies the government had been telling her as she grew up.
I didn't like this book as much as I liked 'Son of Hamas', but it was super interesting to get the journalists point of view. Highly educational in learning about the Iraqi war. Very interesting and heart breaking at times. I found the bits about being in Iraq and the cultural differences much more interesting than when the book took the sharp turn of Rafraf being in America.
It was nice to read an account about the war that wasn't focused on violence, death or hatred. Although I sometimes felt that Teague's religious views were taking over parts of the story, overall I enjoyed reading about Rafraf's struggle to overcome hardship and start a new life, and the integral role that Teague played in ensuring her success.
Margaret Dillon
The story of a young Iraqui woman and her friendship with a Christian journalist. He enabnles her to relocate to the USA and so escape almost certain assassination for her cooperation with the Americans. She struggles with the sterreotype of Americans she has been taught to believe and the reality she meeets as she interacts with them.
The truth will truly set you free! NBC News correspondent befriends and Iraqi translator while on assignment and brings her to America to save her life. Interesting how she doesn't hate Americans so much after she realizes she's been told lies all her life. Her take on Americans and America are interesting too.
Pretty good read, pretty quick. Drives home, again, the point of how little these extremists care for human life in general, and women's lives in paticular. Not as good as some others I've read, maybe because there's no introspection from Rafraf, just the story of her escape. But still a good read.
Nan Rasmussen
This was a very interesting read. It was not extremely well written, but the subject was so interesting-----gave me a little bit of understanding of the middle eastern mind and of the conflicts. I can't imagine the mindset of news correspondents who put themselves in such danger just for a story.
Roscella Beck
A very interesting book. It told of the lives of Iraqi citizens and how they reacted to the Americans invading their country. Learned about their culture and beliefs. About how dangerous it was to be in Iraq after Saddam's death. Good story. Made you realize to trust and believe in God.
Apr 12, 2011 Jacqui rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jacqui by: Don Teague
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction
An amazing story of a woman in Iraq who met a journalist from the United States during a time of war in her country. I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration, watching the actions of Mr. Teague as he goes about to tumble down obstacles in order to help this woman.
Wiorth a read. I'm glad I got this recommendation from friends as I don't think I would have picked it up on my own. I enjoyed it, but felt that Rafraf held back a little. I wanted to really hear what was ruminating in her head and heart and she shared more factually.
This book is wonderful. I was so surprised by how the Iraqi people viewed us under Hussain. I was also shocked to experience first hand how little access to the outside these people had. An eye opening read and worth every minute.
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