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Rosewater: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival

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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,253 ratings  ·  399 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, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published June 7th 2011)
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Nikki Henderson I didn’t find it graphic at all. I almost wanted more details about the abuse and less details about the Iran government.

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Diane
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
Idarah
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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 fee
...more
Kristy K
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book everyone should read. Bahari, a journalist who was raised in Iran but became a Canadian citizen and later worked in London, goes to Iran to cover the 2009 elections. There, while reporting on the post-election protests, he gets arrested and accused of being a spy. He then endures months of harsh and vicious interrogations in an Iranian prison.

Bahrari alternates between telling of his time in prison and talking about his family and upbringing in Iran during the regime change. So m
...more
Hana
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Christine
This is Bahari’s account of being imprisoned during the Green Revolution in Iran. While the book was not gripping, it was a rather interesting book. Bahari becomes the third member of his family to be imprisoned in Iran. There is a sense of distance in his narrative of the imprisonment, most likely for his sanity, but Bahari does seem to be frank. He doesn’t come across as holier than thou or anything. Just an everyman who found himself in a horrible situation.
Quite frankly, I think Bahari shoul
...more
Seymour
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
lisa_emily
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
Ray
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristen
Jan 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was so disappointing. I was eager to read it because Jon Stewart's new documentary "Rosewater" was based in this authors story. He comes across as whiny and arrogant and self righteous and overly dramatic. Plus he finally gets out of prison after 100 days and promptly abandons his 84 year old widowed mother who put up her home for his $300000 bail. He flees the country leaving his mother to face the Iranian authorities for his jumping bail.
Yes, he was in jail, it was hard and he got sm
...more
Bettie
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tova
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a mess. I'm crying is 12 am and I'm sick. Oh and I have a huge test, a presentation and a huge project due this week. RTC ...more
Monica
This was a good story and interesting book. The subject matter on the Iranian system of government was fascinating. I learned a lot and would recommend this book to anyone to try to provide some understanding of the Iranian people.

I felt that the book suffered because Bahari is a journalist, not a writer. His storytelling is lackluster. After reading this book, I cannot begin to understand the horror that Bahari endured. And I really should be able to. Bahari fills the book with proclamations o
...more
Jodi
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laleh
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Linda
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nancy
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This gut wrenching book opened my eyes to many injustices in Iran. Going into the book I knew that people were randomly arrested for insane reasons, tortured, often killed, or served lengthly prison sentences. But what I didn't know was how utterly clueless the interrogators were. If their techniques were not so cruel they would be laughable. Maziar Bahari is an excellent journalist and the book was well paced and never dull. I will be purchasing Jon Stewart's movie "Rosewater" to see ...more
Kalen
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
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. ...more
Ronnie
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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? ...more
Serge Boucher
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An Iranian journalist documents the 2009 presidential election protests, gives an interview for an American comedy program, and then spends 118 days jailed and tortured by the regime on accusations of spying and treason. An incredible, absurd and terrifying story, all the more so for being true.
Jo
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it before the film is released. Jon Stewart's directorial debut. Great for a better understanding of Iranian life. ...more
Nitya Iyer
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5star
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
Melissa
This story not only conveys the anticipation, hope, disappointment, disillusionment, torture, and survival of one man, but with the wonderfully interwoven histories and generational stories, of the entire population of a country. A great story in its own right, and an even better story if you want to understand the psyche of a nation.

Personal disclaimer: This is a book I've been meaning to read for a long time. I remember the story, the arrest, some of the aftermath of the story and added this b
...more
Brian
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: fresh air
(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
Anu Sidhu
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first came upon this book via Jon Stewart, and knew I had to read it. A horrendously beautiful depiction of the corruption and violence amidst the 2009 elections in Iran. Maziar Bahari- an Iranian-Canadian journalist-documents this time with a focus on the Green Movement, an effort for change to a more democratic Islam. HIs captivity by the Islamic Republic, however, perhaps best illustrates the fear and tragedy ordinary Islamic citizens are faced with on a daily basis. For three months Bahari ...more
Shahrun
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Kristin
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
Laurie
VERY intense, never mind I tend to be 'over-the-top' empathetic at times, so this was almost too much for me. I had to start rotating reading this with Jane Austen's 'Emma' to balance things out.

Love the detail, his writing style, and his sense of humor (p 101 'I remembered my father telling me about a prison guard he'd encountered who thought every foreign word with the "sh" sound meant hashish, including "Chicago" and "champagne." Maybe Rosewater believed anything that included the letters 'p
...more
Kathy
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Allison Boyer
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm thankful I got to see Jon Stewart' movie based off this book last summer and that I received a free copy of this book recently. I feel that books like this are the reason books are so important. Bahari uses this book to not only talk about the injustices caused by the Iranian government but also teaches history, which can be just as important. Many pages are spent detailing Iran's history and specifically how their government works and how religion fits into it. Not only does this help set u ...more
Kate
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Maziar Bahari, and can vouch for his continued efforts to do exactly as he planned - bring attention to those still suffering in Iran and those wrongly accused and imprisoned, especially those that lack his high profile and international network. The subtitle "a family's story.." is an accurate one, given how much he ties his own story to the earlier imprisonment of his sister and father under other regimes, and the strength and suffering of his mother and ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Rosewater by Maziar Bahari 4 39 Apr 30, 2015 05:22AM  
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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.

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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
49 likes · 9 comments
“We were all caught in that uncomfortable zone between trying to save our lives and betraying ourselves.” 11 likes
“Jafaa. In Persian, this very poetic word refers to all the wrongs you do to those who love you.” 9 likes
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