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Slave: My True Story

(Slave/Freedom #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  9,155 ratings  ·  599 reviews
Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende.

Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Ar
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 27th 2005 by PublicAffairs (first published 2002)
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 ·  9,155 ratings  ·  599 reviews

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Petra X $200 for an exhaust leak! Daylight robbery
I read this book a long time ago when I was living half the year in London and I am connected by less than six degrees to Mende Nazer who was a slave not so long ago - she is now only 37. Slavery still thrives in many Middle-Eastern and some African countries. But this was London.

I lived in Cavendish Road, in NW6 and every day I would take my son for walks in the neighbourhood. Around the corner was Willesden Lane which like my road is mostly mid-Victorian large houses. In Willesden Lane were tw
Sleepless Dreamer
My original intention was to find a book that would describe Sudan positively. I fear I've failed at that. 

So Slave: My True Story is an autobiography of Mende Nazer. Born in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, when she was about 12, she was kidnapped by Arab slave raiders and sold to a wealthy family in Khartoum. Eventually, she was taken to London and manages to escape, after seven years of slavery. 

This book is roughly split into three parts. The first part details her childhood in the Nuba Mountain
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A harrowing and extremely eye-opening true life story of a childhood stolen by modern slavery which is still pervasive in North Africa and the Middle East. Mende Nazer lived a rural, happy childhood in a village Nuba Mountains in Sudan. At the age of twelve she was kidnapped by marauding Arab raiders, who put the men of her village to death, raped the woman and captured the children into slavery. She was raped by the Arab slavers and then sold in Khartoum to a cruel Arab family. There she was be ...more
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: issues, feminism
This was a very difficult, though very worthwhile, book to read. It took me many, many, months to get through because the subject is so intense and often extremely disturbing.

That said, I am grateful for what Nazer has shared in this work. It was truly an eye opener. There remains much injustice in the world and books like this can help us to reveal those injustices so that we can take action to end them.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book. Everyone should read this book! We live in a country of great freedom that we take for granted. My heart goes out to Mende.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, especially the guilty
Recommended to Magdelanye by: cover
Something about the dignity and courage of Mende Nazar as she recounts her appalling story grabs hold of your heart, allowing you to read on when it is almost unbearable.
Mende is calm and unflinching as she simply recounts the events that shattered her world,a remote Nubian village in the Sudan. She gives a vivid description of her community and her life as an adored and coddled child of a loving family. This comes to an abrubt and violent end when the village is attacked and burned by Arab rai
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of us think of slavery as something in the past. A subject relagted to history books and a subject that most find difficult to come to terms with. How could some one own another. But as i was about to find out with this book it is a trade that is still alive and flourishing. Unlike most storeys of slavery this one come streight from the source. Mende was captured a held as a slave for so long she did not believed she would every feel what freedom was like again.

The book starts us of with
Keren Threlfall
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-reading
Slave is the true story of Mende Nazer, a Sudanese woman whose childhood ended when she was captured and enslaved around age 12. One thing that made Mende’s story particularly stand out to me is that we are about the same age. Her slavery did not take place in the huts and villages of Sudan, but in the relatively modern city of Khartoum, where her well-to-do captors had most of the modern conveniences that we do (electricity, washer/dryer, stove/oven, etc).

In this book, Mende recounts the story
Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had trouble putting this book down when at first I started. It is the incredibly gruesome story of Mende, who's abducted by raiders as a 12 year old and sold into slavery to a cruel, inhuman woman, who does her level best to break the spirit of Mende. However, there's always enough human kindness around for Mende not to lose her sense of her own humanity completely, and in the end she escapes with the help of strangers.
Every page of the book is alive with Mende's simple and vibrant way of tell
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
had to read this for a class and i really enjoyed it.

mende's story is powerful and her quiet strength is admirable in every way. even after everything she was going through she was always kind to those around her.
Tanya Patrice
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a book - I cried and my heart broke. The language of the book is easy and simplistic. The story is told, with no literary embellishments and in the author's own voice - she is not a writer and so there is a matter of fact style (it was told to Damien Lewis, a journalist who helped Mende during her escape and who penned the book, but I'm glad he kept it simple). The book has 2 halves. The first is about Mende's life growing up in a small village in the Nuba mountains of Sudan; and then life ...more
sam sam blank
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mende's story is an amazing story that will not only captivate your mind, but also clench your heart. As a avid reader of non fiction books, this is the type of book that keeps my interest at peak! This story was told exceptionally well, with the help of, Damien, it allows the reader to develop a vivid mental picture of Mendes experience. I could almost taste and smell her surroundings. It touches on some unbelievable rituals and horrendous violations that continue till this day. Mende still mai ...more
Liz Butler
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs-bios
This is an amazing autobiographical book about a girl ripped from her family at the tender age of 12 and sold into modern day slavery. It is mind boggling, gut wrenching and heart breaking. Yet, it is impossible to put down!

You can't help but love this girl and feel hopeless every step of the way. My heart ached during each episode of abuse and humiliation she encountered throughout her years as a slave. And I found myself becoming very frustrated and angry with her abusers, to the point of que
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a very tough book to read. I cannot believe the way we treat our fellow humans. It really gets me down. I don't think I would have been able to finish this book today. It was an excellent memoir but the sadness and the graphic details of the way she was treated. How can people do such things? How??? ...more
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read it. Better yet, read this along with Who Fears Death and see how much your world bends.
The story is what you expect but that doesn't take from the shock of it. The brutality...there were so many moments where I was speechless. Mende endured, that is true true strength.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I read other reviews of this book I knew I had to read it. Living in America all my life I couldn't imagine that there is still slavery going on in the world, just that it happened many generations ago (that is something that we were taught in school). How could this still be going on??
I LOVED this book, it goes threw Mende's life from the beginning to she was abducted and sold into slavery and how she finally broke free from all the abuse and even how it still affects her
Mari Anne
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Finally a memoir that lived up to its title! Powerful, shocking, heartbreaking... amazing. This story of a young Sudanese girl ripped from her family and sold into slavery sounds like a story from the 1800's but shockingly this happened in 1993! The story of Mende Nazer is a modern day horror story; not one of an era we had thought (and hoped) was gone for good.

This memoir is well written and fascinating. The beginning of the book does a great job of setting the scene and showing us Mende'
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book really moved me. it is the account of a woman from Sudan who was sold into slavery at the age of 12. she remained a slave until she escaped in london when she was in her twenties. what made this book so powerful is that she describes not only the pain of being a slave, but also her life with her family prior to the attack on her village where she is stolen. there is a graphic account of genital circumcision that made me cringe. i can't imagine going through such a thing. i recommend th ...more
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
The more you read from this book, the more you really wish that there was a way of tracking down the slave trader who stole Mende and the other children from their Nuba village and then putting a bullet through his tiny, stone-like heart — and then finding Mende’s former “master” and doing the same to her.

We can read about modern-day slavery from experts like Kevin Bales, but reading a first hand account by someone who has actually endured enslavement in this day and age is another experience al
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
First, I feel like a real shit for only giving this 3.5 stars. In my defense, it's because there wasn't ENOUGH book for me. Mende tells of at least 7+ years kept as a slave in about 150 pages. I didn't necessarily need graphic details, but I did want to get to know her more, see her strength, know how she developed her survival instincts, etc. Unfortunately the most horrific scene contained in this novel (other than the village raid and kidnapping) is the mutilation she endured during her female ...more
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I often find myself drawn to women's issues books. Mostly about women fighting for their rights or overcoming tragedy. When I read the premise of Slave, I was so baffled. How could this happen? How could, in this time, someone be kidnapped and sold as a slave? Mende's story is heartbreaking and infuriating. As I read on, I could hear her voice and my heart just reached out to her. ...more
Faith Spinks
After one of my friends moved to South Sudan I came across this book and was interested to learn more about the history of that region. This book is well written but not easy to read. Not easy because of the honesty and the pain which Mende recounts of her story. But most definitely wirth the read!
Sabrina Laitinen
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story about an amazing woman. This book will boggle your mind. It really makes you appreciate the freedoms we have, and so often take for granted. I think this should be a MUST read for EVERYONE!
Maya B
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a very compelling and thought-provoking story. This book is a true testament to what happens to thousands of girls in third world countries. A story of modern day slavery.
Betsey Brannen
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in less than 24 hours, if that tells you anything. A quite compelling story that brings to light the Arabic slave trade still common today.
Mocha Girl
Oct 13, 2009 rated it liked it

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Slavery Still Exists!!, January 29, 2004

In Slave: My True Story, Mende Nazer's spirit echoes that of Sojourner Truth's during her journey from slave to freedom fighter. The singular difference in their heroic efforts is the span of more than a century. One would like to believe that humanity would choose to eradicate slavery everywhere, but Nazer is living proof that the horrific institution is thriving in the new millenniu
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it

This memoir is very compelling. The story of the author being captured and sold into slavery in Sudan is jarring because it’s a modern story (she escaped in 2002), and it’s a dramatic contrast and juxtaposition of her life in the African bush before being enslaved in the city of Khartoum. The story is a remarkable testament to her resilience and persistence despite utter powerlessness. The language is fairly simple because there was a big translation challenge between Mende and the jo
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As much as women have found a bit of liberation and a stage to amplify their voices; there is still a long way to go. There is still so much to overcome in order to truly free women and girls, in a lot of countries.

Slave is a brutal reality of what still takes place in many countries. There are still many cultures that perform female genital mutilation, young girls are still given away and forced into marriages without their consent and many other customs that mistreat females.

There is also the
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Amidst all the crisis that are taking place in the world, slave trade continues to havoc in parts of Africa, with children getting abducted in large numbers. Sometimes these incidents make it to the news but most of the time they go unreported. [The most recent news report is from Libya where the auction was held in open, much to horror of the world.]

Mende Nazer managed to escape a rich Arab family and sought asylum in Britain. This book is her memoir as she recounts the events leading up to her
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
2004- Most of us associate slavery with the days of the American Civil War. Yet, in many parts of the world today, slavery isn't dead. In this novel, we meet Mende, a young Sudanese tribal girl growing up happily with her family. The first third of the book explores Mende's childhood among her tribe, the Karko of the Nuba Mountains. Then one night, everything changes. Her village is attacked by Arab raiders. Huts are torched, men killed, women raped and children rounded up to be sold off later a ...more
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”Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende.

Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her “Yeb

Other books in the series

Slave/Freedom (2 books)
  • Freedom: The Sequel to Slave

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
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“I have realized that for those who live in the West, freedom is so often something they take for granted. It has always been there for them. It is their unnoticed, unrecognized, constant companion and friend. But for those of us who come from countries like Sudan, freedom is wonderful and precious.” 19 likes
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