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The Fox Hunt: A Memoir of Yemen and My Odyssey to America

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,266 ratings  ·  214 reviews
“Nail-bitingly suspenseful. ... Inspiring. ... Essential reading.” — Booklist, starred review

The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West.

Born in the Old City of Sana’a,
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by William Morrow
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As a young child growing up in Yemen, Mohammed Al Samawi was curious and was always asking questions. His family was devoutly Muslim. In school, it was stressed to students that Christians and Jews were their enemies, and that they could never be trusted.

As a young university student, Mohammed was given a copy of the Bible to read by a professor whom he befriended. This led to Mohammed’s quest to meet and talk with people of other faiths. He wanted to learn about and understand the teachings of
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If anyone deserves to get the life he has prepared for and does by example strive toward with work/goals continually forward, it is this author. He is also a born capitalist in his soul, IMHO. Not to mention that his intellect is coupled with a personality born whole and then honed by his family for "fellow well met" associations supreme. His background and physical state could have made him bitter and vengeful. Instead, he is kind. Also holding continual voice with action example to get the exp ...more
sophie.connects.the.dots (on hiatus)
I was hesitant about a review initially because how to you rate someone's life??

That's kind of what it feels like. Writing a review just sounds worse.

But this isn't a review about how many spelling mistakes the book had (none, he's all good) or whether I liked his sentence choices. I can say he hooks readers very well with his storytelling, and he is a very kind, open writer/person. He's so very open-eyed and concerned about others around him, and I was smiling at such a nice person throughout t
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wia-book-club
This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read – and it is a true story! Across the top of the front cover of the book is a very powerful description – “Four Strangers, Three Faiths, and One Extraordinary Escape to Freedom”.

Mohammed Al Samawi grew up in Yemen being taught to hate Christians and Jews. But then he met Luke, a Christian professor, and they struck up a friendship. With sincere concern for Luke, Mohammed presented him with a copy of the Quran. Luke agreed to read the Quran
Joel Wentz
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's a lot to love in this book, and many reasons to recommend it (especially to American/Western readers). The first half is a fascinating, first-hand account of growing up in a conservative, closed Muslim country (Yemen). Al-Samawi writes honestly and graciously about his experiences, giving deference to the good things from his upbringing and critiquing the problematic parts. I found myself totally enthralled by the cultural differences between my childhood and his - the extreme deference ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible story! I’m not sure how to put my thoughts into words. Really makes me think what I would do in his situation, how about in the situation of his friends he asks for help. I would have zero idea of how to begin. Below are some of my favorites of his thoughts. He is a talented writer. Really makes you think and feel anxious to help but I’m not sure how...

”What is to become of a whole generation of young people who will grow up in a war zone?”

“When lives are filled with doubt
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an autobiography of a man's escape from his war torn country of Yemen. In the beginning, as he goes through his childhood, this felt like it was going to be a chore to get through. I was ready to toss 2 stars at it. It felt overly dramatic and I think it was because of the narration.

But the second half picked up considerably. It still felt dramatic but for good reason. The suspense was well written. His escape has an incredible feat and it was made possible by friends and of course, fri

I didn't know much about the causes of the war in Yemen until I read this book.  It still doesn't make much sense to me because it boils down to "Those people look different than us and think differently than us."  It is that kind of mindset that Mohammed Al Samawi was working against prior to the war. 

The stars of this story of the activists around the world who play a high stakes game of Six Degrees of Separation.  Who do you know?  Who do they know?  Can you get one man from Aden to Africa?
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy in a giveaway -- and I'm so glad I did! This was a very well put together story of a refugee's experience in faith, friendship, and international affairs. There was a lot of explanation of the war in Yemen, which was a little slow at times, but helped me (as someone who was not fully aware of the tensions in the country) understand what was happening on the ground. An important read to learn more about what refugees go through! ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Nice message here about tolerance and that people are people are people regardless of their religious beliefs and their geographic location.

I think the book was highly edited for an English speaking audience. The author's English is excellent but from the email excerpts provided within the book I don't see how he's fully responsible for the final product. (The Americanized writing was well above my ability but that bar is relatively low.) I didn't have any trouble with that but it stoo
Caleigh Rutledge
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tlc-book-review
An important read for today's conflict in Yemen. 4 stars because the harrowing story is, I feel, just the beginning for this author's contribution to his country.

I reviewed an early copy of this book as part of the TLC Book Tour - please find my full review available APRIL 17, 2018 at http://www.literaryquicksand.com/2018...
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
Mohammad grew up in Yemen and was taught that Westerners and Jews were evil and an enemy to all Muslims. A college level course provided him a fateful interaction with a Western man that led to his continued education in other religions, cultures and nationalities. This is a moving memoir that not only details his scary situation as Yemen disintegrated into civil war but also the importance of making connections. A group of the connections and friendships that Mohammad forged during his NGO peac ...more
Liza Wiemer
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is being turned into a movie and I can't wait to see it play out on the big screen.

Death to America
Death to Jews
Death to Israel
These are some of the phrases Mohammed was used to hearing as he grew up in Yemen.
But a series of events changed his perspective.
And his life was saved by some wonderful young 20-something-year-old Jewish Americans in a harrowing tale that will keep you turning pages.

A book like this reinforces what we all know—hatred has no place in this world
Leslie's Bookcase
I liked the story much more than actually reading the story, which got tedious at times. However the situations described in Yemen is valuable information, and this particular rescue heartening. I literally just read an article by Nicholas Kristof on this situation, which I urge you to read at this point, possibly instead of this book if reading this book is not in the cards for you: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/op... ...more
Oct 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2021, own
Engrossing memoir that shines a spotlight on the war in Yemen as well as what people can accomplish when they bridge their differences and come together in pursuit of a goal, however unlikely it may be. The first half at times had my attention wandering, the second had me glued to the page.
Sep 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible story of a courageous man! Through his own story Mohammad gives a peek into life in Yemen before and after the start of the civil war.
Ankit Patel
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me understand the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni civil war, both of which I embarrassingly knew little about. Mohammed's first hand account of his very dangerous involvement in peacekeeping and escape out of Yemen helps put a perspective on what individuals with less stable or oppressive societies have to endure. This book was a complete eye opener. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about the Middle-East , why refugees seek asylum, ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous memoir. The author was raised in an educated, affluent family in Yemen. Despite this he was raised from an early age to hate Jews and to distrust all non Muslims. At 23 he accidentally read the old testament. This brought him to reassess his views and then to work with interfaith groups. When he brought the message to Yemen his life became endangered. Fortunately the interfaith friends he made came to his rescue. You can hear him interviewed below and it's delightful.

Vicky Hunt
The Power of Many/ The Power of One

A powerful memoir about the life of a refugee from Yemen, this book is filled with the details of life in another world... another religion. While I found it immersive, I read it in segments, because I felt the need to verify much of what I was reading about the specifics and details. It is all very well described, and seems to be the true experience of one man in the Arab world. But, naturally the time period was embroiled in much politics... all life is it se
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. Interesting to see that what the author was taught about Christians and especially about Jews in his schooling in Yemen is the same as Ayaan Hirsi Ali reported about concerning Somalia, the same as Palestinian Media Watch reports about schools and media in the West Bank, and so on. This is something Americans are generally ignorant of, and need to know.
However I found it difficult to maintain interest in the details of the author's social media contacts with interfaith individuals
Gillian Morris
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this in less than 24 hours. A screenwriter couldn't have woven a more edge-of-your-seat thriller - and this actually happened. I was lucky enough to meet Mohammed soon after he made it to the US, but had no idea of the extent of what went on to make his escape possible. I finished the book with a richer picture of Yemen and the Middle East in general, but more importantly, with a profound sense of what extraordinary things can happen when people take a chance on someone. ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I didn’t know this to be a true story, I would have thought it was a great novel by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Daniel Silva and other suspense writers I enjoy. The fact that this Mohammed al Samawi’s actual story makes it amazing.
This should be a must read book for anyone interested in building cross cultural understanding. Mohammed’s story puts real people to the headlines of a story about which many Americans, I’d wager, know only the basic facts, if that.
Riya :)
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my favourite biographies of the year!

Mohammed Al Samawi has written a thrilling novel, intertwined perfectly with context about the Yemeni civil war. His life experiences honestly reads like a fiction story.

Highly recommend ✨✨
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
"The Fox Hunt" is the story of Mohammed who dreams of making his home country of Yemen a better place where more young people can succeed and be safe. Yemen is embroiled in a brutal civil war where the lines between the various sides and outside influence from brutal terrorist groups are blurred. Mohammed finds himself in a situation where he needs to desperately get out of the country where there seems to be no clear exit. He will largely have to rely on fate and the kindness of almost stranger ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
#MohammedAlSamawi is an earth-shattered memoir and I am greatly contented for having access to a book like this. I was absorbed reading Mohammed's story concerning how he escaped from Yemen during a horrible militiamen war between AQAP Sunnis and Houthis—it reads like a Thriller, which made me feel extremely anxious. My affection for this book is legitimately related to Mohammed's personal growth, to his awakening as it relates to breaking ignorant mindsets towards Westerns, Judaism and Christia ...more
Linda C
Mohammed Al Samawi is a Zaidi Muslim growing up in Sana'a, Yemen. He is handicapped in his right hand and leg and therefore has been the butt of bullying and has led a rather academic life. He has been taught that Jews and Christians are the enemy. At university he studies business and then in order to improve his English enters a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program.

His teacher becomes a friend and gives him a Bible. He is amazed at the similarities between the holy books an
Katie Peach
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mohammed Al Samawi's journey as a refugee is a powerful lesson that shows us what can happen when people work together to help someone in need. Many of the people who helped Mohammed leave Yemen were only acquaintances but felt that they needed to help him. Mohammed worked for NGOs in Yemen and had a passion for interfaith dialogue. Mohammed grew up with a hatred towards non-Muslims, but was given a Bible by his English teacher and quickly became interested in the similarities between Islam, Jud ...more
John Shedd
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book, and good lessons to all of us to do what we can to help others in difficult situations.

Also one of the first times that I've ever admitted there may be some value to social media. But at the same time, one could argue that social media posts may have been a reason for some of his troubles to begin with.
"An army of hate is being raised across the Middle East. I believe that an army of understanding and action can take on that army and defeat it.
I'm a living example of the power of human connection." (p. 307)
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
3 and 1/2 stars.
Very interesting for me, particularly the beginning. It did get tedious in the details in the latter half that wasn’t necessary even to appreciate his ordeal.
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