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A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  532 Ratings  ·  92 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
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Viking (first published October 25th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,345)
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Paul Pessolano
Jan 26, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it it was ok
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
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
Mar 05, 2016 Brienne rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 12, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
FASCINATING story of escape from a terrorist kidnapping deep in the mountains of Afghanistan. Such guts to do what he did- and survive!
Garwen Jackson
Jan 18, 2011 Garwen Jackson rated it liked it
Good story, but David had been kidnapped before . . . hello?
Sep 10, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it
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
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.
Apr 01, 2016 Raela rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 12, 2012 Ktolsson rated it liked it
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 22, 2014 Bethany rated it really liked it
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
Lauren Hopkins
Aug 31, 2011 Lauren Hopkins rated it really liked it
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
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it really liked it
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,
Jan 23, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
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
Feb 01, 2011 Marlene rated it really liked it
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
Anne Maesaka
Aug 20, 2015 Anne Maesaka rated it really liked it
Interesting book about a journalist for The New York Times that is kidnapped when he attempts to meet with a Taliban leader. David, the journalist, has only been married for two months when his kidnapping takes place. Story is told from his point of view and his new wife's point of view. Delves into the political situation in the Taliban controlled territories between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Much more than a book about a kidnapping for ransom.
Aug 01, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing
I usually read fiction so this was an interesting change for me. I'm amazed at how a book whose ending you already know- David obviously survives and goes home to write a book- can be so suspenseful! I enjoyed the combination of the two different perspectives and thought it was and informative and engaging way to learn more about the history and culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Jun 20, 2013 Gordon rated it really liked it
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
Marty Halyburton
Lessons under adversity

Both the hostage, David, and his wife, Kristen, tell a very powerful story. David's story is enhanced by his knowledge and understanding of ethnic, tribal and religious factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan which all Americans need to understand.

The lessons learned are valuable for anyone facing difficulties in life.
May 18, 2011 HippieMommy rated it liked it
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
Milan Homola
Sep 12, 2012 Milan Homola rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it
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
Wes F
May 24, 2014 Wes F rated it really liked it
Very good read with some excellent insights into what goes on in a kidnapping situation. I thought having the two perspectives (David--the one kidnapped, and then his wife--back home) was a great way to give a well-rounded sense of all that transpired in this complex scenario, with so many different players.
Mar 16, 2015 Whitney rated it it was amazing
This is a page turner. David and Kristen are excellent story tellers and their interwoven voices make for an interesting read. Part historical non-fiction, part love story, part memoir this is a wonderful story of survival.
Jan 10, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 28, 2016 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Great book, highly captivating tell all of a wife and husbands story through the Taliban. I first heard about it listening to Serial Season 2. Absolutely a page turner and a great way to learn about the Taliban.
Feb 25, 2016 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written book that narrates the kidnapping of a journalist, but it is also a story of hope, patience, frustration and heroism.
Jan 31, 2014 Sarah-jane rated it liked it
I would have given this book a higher rating but I listened to it and the narration was not very good. It was difficult to be engaged all the time with the droll voice. The account was well documented.
Andrea Gebler
Apr 19, 2014 Andrea Gebler rated it it was amazing
Remarkable story, I loved hearing both sides. This reminded me of "somewhere inside" by Laura & Lisa Ling. I am still wondering though, what happened to Tahir after being reunited with his family?
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
Feb 01, 2016 Anniepeaches rated it really liked it
This book reads like a novel but is unfortunately nonfiction. The story will keep you wanting more, and I appreciated the history David provided to give context to the events. Kristen's writing at times made me cringe but both viewpoints offer honest emotions and keep you wanting more. I cannot imagine going through an ordeal like this and I praise their strength.
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