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Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein
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Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,993 Ratings  ·  293 Reviews
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cruelties suffered by the Iraqis under Hussein (Booklist). Now in paperback-and updated with new material. A member of one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq, Mayada grew up surrounded by wealth and royalty. But when Saddam Hussein's regime took power, she was thrown into cell 52 in the infamous Baladiyat pris ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 7th 2004 by New American Library (first published April 1st 1995)
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Candice Sanderson
One of the hardest books I've ever read! I put down this book so many times because I was either crying to hard or just felt too sick to continue reading. Very powerful and heartbreaking. I think I was actually a little depressed while I was reading this book and I'm happy to have closed it but I can't ever forget this story and yet I know it's just the very tip of the iceberg in describing the atrocities of everyday life for Iraqis!
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why did so many Iraqis risk their lives by putting their finger on the ink pad, to vote for a new government? Read this memoir of this lady's life, prior to the war and you will soon understand the hideous events that were taking place under Saddam Hussein. Well written and very interesting.
Patille Madaghjian
Wow. This book has truly opened my eyes to see how much women suffered in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. Mayada is the granddaughter of the most famous and respected leaders in Iraq; Jafar Pasha Al-Askari, who was the Defence Minister and Prime Minister of Iraq, and Sati Al-Husri, who was one of the first Arab Nationalists and also a government minister. Her family is treated like royalty and so Mayada had lived a privileged life. Her world crumbles when she is taken to Baladiyat prison fo ...more
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I had mixed feelings about this book. Based on a true account, this book handles some difficult topics, such as the hardships of being a woman in Iraq and the terrible, excessive and unnecessary torture going on in the prisons of that country. While the importance of these themes should not be belittled, I feel the style of writing does not do the story justice.

The book attempts to be a personal memoir, based on real events from the life of an actual Iraqi woman that the author met in Iraq. But
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: My Dad
This book was so captivating that I blew through it in one day (in fairness it was raining outside though : ) ) I still think that A Long Way Gone ruined me so that no depressing memoir will ever disturb me again, this book came close. It's Mayada's account of being stuck in an Iraqi prison. She was lucky and had little torture and got out quite quickly but hearing what her cellmates went through was terrible! It's worth a read to understand why we put troops over there - regardless of whether o ...more
Jun 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant and eye-opening look at life in Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Mayada's chilling story offers a first-hand look at modern Iraq's turbulent history.
Mayada, a member of one of Iraq's most distinguished and privileged families, was whisked away from her office one morning by the secret police and thrown into one of Saddam's notorious prisons for a crime she did not commit. During her brief imprisonment, her life was changed forever by the courage of "the shadow women," fellow pr
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an eye-opening first-hand account of a woman who was from a revered Iraqi family. Her family connections, however did not save her from being taken prisoner and tortured by Saddam's regime. It's worth reading if you want to know more about Iraq's dark history under Saddam. An easy read in that it's one woman's story - a difficult read from the point of view that it's absolutely horrifying what people suffered under Saddam, Uday and Qusay.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable! I always knew that things were grim, but I guess I wasn't macabre enough...It's amazing that humanbeings can do this sort of thing with one another! It helped me understand Iraq's history a little bit more...I never realized that it wasn't that long ago that the breakdown of the empire happened and how drastically it affected that area of the world!
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
At Foster Library. A very eye opening book about the horrors the Iraq people have had to endure living under Saddam's reign. If Bush had made this book mandatory reading for all Americans, he would probably have received more support for the war.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Mayada Al-Askari. Mayada comes from a long distinguished Iraqi family. She grew up amongst the rise of Sadddam Hussein and his eventual control of Iraq. At first, her work as a journalist was praised by the authorities. As time went on, she found herself a divorced mother of two printing non-political brochures. Then in 1999, she became a target of Saddam’s secret police. Thrown in a cell with 52 other women, this biography details her background, history, tales of growing u ...more
I liked this book--Mayada's story is worth telling; however, I realized very quickly that Jean Sasson's writing style made me want to question parts of the story. Sasson writes in such a way that if seemed to me like I was hearing more of Sasson's voice and not much of Mayada's (which I suppose can't be helped since Mayada didn't write the book). I constantly wanted to ask if Mayada was really thinking the things that Sasson writes about--like the color of the sky when she's taking a walk, etc. ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iraqi-hist-lit
الكتاب من ناحيه المحتوي كان فضيع بكل ما يحتويه من القصص، مثلت العراق افضل تمثيل لدولة الاستخباراتيه درجه اولى!
كل شي تحت السيطره ،الكل مراقب، كل حديث ولو كان تافه مادام جُر فيه اسم القائد فهو جريمه يعاقب عليها القانون!!!

مياده العسكري روت لنا قصتها وعلاقتها وعلاقه عائلتها -خصوصا امها - بصدام و عائلته
تُسجن لمده اقل من اسبوع للاشتباه بها في اثاره فتن تحريضيه ضد الرئيس ف تتعرف في السجن على السجينات و تسرد قصصهم في الكتاب

بشكل عام الكتاب يُصور الحال العراقي في ظل حكم صدام و ناقش قضايا مهمه حدثت و اع
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't really follow politics much. I guess I've always been apathetic to things like that. When people would argue for or against the war on Iraq, I'd just stay out of the conversation and listen to whatever scandalous information they might share. After reading this book, I can say that I am fully for the war on terrorism. I'd take the veil anytime before I'd want to live under Saddam's cruel insanity. The Princess books also expound a little of the horrors the common people of Afghanistan go ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have any doubt that going into Iraq and releasing the people of their evil dictator was wrong, then read this book. I had no idea how hard it was to live in that nation, the constant fear and mistrust of everyone (even your relatives). If you had a disagreement with someone, they only had to report you to the secret police on a trumped up charge and you would be put in a prison to be tortured until you admitted to something that you were completely innocent of. I am so grateful to have th ...more
This book has truly moved me. It opened my eyes to life under the rule of Saddam Hussein; it is brutal. People were taken away from their families for no reason and were imprisoned for years. It seems like death was the best escape from all the brutal torment the prisoners went through. They were whipped, electrocuted, beaten , raped, and much more. This book reveals the truth about living in Iraq through the eyes of an imprisoned woman who went through hell to survive.
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again Jean Sasson has mastered telling a difficult story about a woman in the Middle East. If you choose to read this book, understand that the torture under Saddam Hussein is graphic and horrifying. Women, Men, children and babies were all tortured. Mayada has an amazing family ancestry and you were able to really appreciate the history of Iraq. If you want to understand life in Iraq, this is an excellent resource.
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
obviously, this is one woman's side of the story, but it opened my eyes as to the things that paople face in other parts of the world and under dictator rule. and she was one of the lucky ones.
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel the need with the war in Iraq to understand the mindset of the Iraqi people. This book is one women's biography under Saddam and although definitely not light reading, very well written.
Sueann allen
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From this book, you get an inside perspective on life with Saddam Hussein. It is a quick read and is very interesting.
♥ Marlene♥
Mayada. What can I say about this book? It is hard because I am in the minority thinking this is not such a great book.

Yes I do agree it was interesting to get to know a bit of gossip about Saddam Hussein but most interesting was of course the history of Iraq and I noticed many readers really thought that was interesting and I agree.

Why I did not like the book as much as others did is because of the way Jean Sasson writes. She seems to be more a romance writer and I have read other books by her
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My 2010 bookcrossing review:

Well, at times this was really uncomfortable to read.

It's the story of an Iraqi woman, Mayada, who comes from a very priviledged and well to do background. Which is probably the only reason she's around to tell her story. Accused of producing anti-government leaflets, she is dragged off to some kind of prison/detention centre where people were detained for all kinds of made up ridiculous reasons, and tortured daily by sadistic headcases who should have been tied into
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overall it's a great book and very well written. Jean Sasson is one of my favorite authors. It is an amazing book with intense insight into the life of Saddam Hussein (before and during his reign) as well as the lives of Iraqi citizens who lived through is dictatorship. I don't suggest this book to some one who is looking for a general overview of recent history of Iraq. I suggest it to some one who has already read that and wants to know more. I say this because this book is not the account of ...more
Sharina  MS
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

When the rulers use fear, paranoia, blackmail, terror to control their ppl, they'll never succeed in getting the loyalty and respect from their ppl. Iraq, under the tenure of Saddam Hussein seemed to be a living hell on earth, I cant even imagine living a minute in it.

Ppl are arrested out of suspicion, exposed to ridiculous, brutal and atrocious beasts are capable do that. in this story, there are too many beasts involved, over the helpless women in cell 52 and other men
Dianne Kaucharik
If you have ever questioned the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq by United States forces or pondered the impacts of his regime, this is a must read. If you have ever taken for granted the value of democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement that most Westerners and Europeans enjoy, this is a must read. While educational throughout, the book is frightening, horrific and sad. At times, I found myself holding my breath. I am so thankful to Jean Sasson for enlightening me about the Middle ...more
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm still wandering if reading a book like this at this particular time was a good or bad coincidence; but I gotta say that this book captivates you in a way that you'll want to continually read it till the end.

The book gives you an idea about how human rights were violated in Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein. It mainly tells you the story of cell 52 in Baladiyat prison where Mayada, a well known respected family member, shared other women imprisonment and torture. The book also illustrates
Jan 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an account of Mayada being unjustly put into an Iraqi prison under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Mayada shared a prison cell with about 12 other women, all of whom had a story to tell of how they ended up in prison (none of them had committed crimes), their families who had no idea where they were, and the tortures they endured. Mayada differed from these women in that she came from a well known and respected family and therefore didn't endure as much torture.

This story was an eye-op
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is hard to read in a way. It is pretty raw and doesn't sugar coat any of the atrocities perpetrated by Saddam Hussein and his henchmen. Given our present-day involvement in Iraq, this book was especially eye-opening and added a new perspective to the present day situation. It was in a filthy prison cell that Mayada first told her story and listened to the tragic stories of the cellmates who sought to comfort her. She had first-hand contact with Saddam and his low-class, incredibly crue ...more
Antara Banerjee
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Mayada' is so touching and immediate that one cannot but be aroused and moved. Jean Sasson has an uncanny way of drawing her readers to her accounts with such urgentcy that language seems to be of no consequence. However, that is the sign of a brilliant writer who moulds her language so masterfully that it melts into the background seamlessly while her narrative leaps out of the pages as though it were an account of the reader's own life.

The accounts such as of Sultana (Princess, Daughters of A
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why it took forever to read this, but it's really good. Within the confines of an Iraqi prison, readers learn about a woman named Mayada who hails from an important Iraqi family. As Saddam Hussein's regime takes over, however, Mayada and her family find themselves without "protection" and Mayada is imprisoned for a month with other women until she is released and able to flee the country for Jordan. Readers also learn the plight of Mayada's cell mates who are falsely imprisoned and brut ...more
Sarah Margaret
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
totally (re) challenged any ideas that i had about what it might have been like for women in the middle east (and -without intending on doing so- reminded me that I had absolutely NO IDEA what it is like [or has been like] for people outside of my culture). This was perpetually engaging and continuously surprising, and I read it within four days (even whilst studying for exams, and taking them). I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has any slight interest in a cultu
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Jean Sasson was born in a small town in Alabama. An avid reader from an early age, she had read all the books in her school library by the time she was 15 years old. She also began her book collection at age 15. When given the chance to travel, Sasson accepted a position at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, and lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 12 years. She ...more
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