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

by Jean Sasson | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0451212924 Global Overview for this book
Registered by EMA375 of Santa Clarita, California USA on 5/8/2006
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13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by EMA375 from Santa Clarita, California USA on Monday, May 08, 2006
From Amazon:
Sasson, author of Princess: A True Story of Life behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (1992), first met Mayada in 1998. A year later, Mayada, granddaughter of a revered Iraqi hero who fought with Lawrence of Arabia, a former journalist, modern businesswoman, and the mother of two children, was arrested and imprisoned on allegations that her business was printing antigovernment flyers. Sasson relates Mayada's imprisonment with 17 "shadow women," similarly falsely accused and imprisoned and subjected to torture and cruelty under the regime of Saddam Hussein. To distract themselves, the women tell each other stories of their lives, and Mayada discloses her high-born, privileged lifestyle even though her family were not members of the leading Baath Party. She recalls her mother's acquaintance with Hussein's wife and their mutual dislike. Mayada also tells of interviews with the cruel and erratic Ali Hassan al-Majid, Hussein's cousin and the man who would become known as Chemical Ali. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cruelties suffered by the Iraqis under Hussein.

Journal Entry 2 by EMA375 from Santa Clarita, California USA on Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Bookring Members (started TBD):
BOKWORMY PORTUGAL (SHIP INTL)
Mary-T GERMANY (SHIP INTL)
CosmicGirl SERBIA (SHIP EURO)
Drusillamac SCOTLAND (SHIP INTL Surface)
ScottishHoosier SCOTLAND (SHIP INTL)
Rossella05 UK (SHIP UK)
j4neyo UK (SHIP INTL)
aussie-rose AUSTRALIA (SHIP AUST)
dopsis AUSTRALIA (SHIP AUST/INTL)
Sherlockfan NEW ZEALAND (SHIP INTL)
charlenemartel CANADA (SHIP US/CAN)
hobbit NY (SHIP US)
SqueakyChu MD (SHIP US)
taaza WI (SHIP US)
booklady331 FL (SHIP US/CAN)
Ilios FL (SHIP US)
dittybopper LA (SHIP US/CAN)
Karenlea CA (SHIP US)

Please Return To:
EMA375 CA

Journal Entry 3 by EMA375 at Bookcrosser in Lisbon, Post-International -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (5/25/2006 UTC) at Bookcrosser in Lisbon, Post-International -- Controlled Releases

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Sent Air Mail 4-7 days. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 4 by BOKWORMY on Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thanks EMA375 just received it in the mail!

Can´t wait to read it *-)

Hugs from Lisbon X

Journal Entry 5 by BOKWORMY on Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thanks EMA375 just received it in the mail!

Can´t wait to read it *-)

Hugs from Lisbon X

Journal Entry 6 by BOKWORMY at on Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (6/14/2006 UTC) at

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Sending it to the next person on the list CosmicGirl.

I found Mayada´s story very touching!

Thanks for sharing this book with me.

Journal Entry 7 by EMA375 from Santa Clarita, California USA on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Lets try this one more time! The version version was lost in the mail so I've replaced this book and sending it off to Mary-T. I haven't heard from CosmicGirl so I'll skip her for now.

Journal Entry 8 by Mary-T from Bretzfeld, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Sunday, September 03, 2006
Mayada arrived safely yesterday. Thanks so much for sending and also for the bookring itself! :) I was surprised when I saw this big hard-cover...
Although I can't wait to read Mayada's story - I have to read some rings before... but I promise to try to be fast and so I hope I can send the ring on soon.
To be continued...

4.10.06
Interim update...
sorry that I keep the book here so long... It's not forgotten! It's just that a lot of books are here right now - but I hope to read this soon and then I will send it off immediately!
If this is not OK for anyone... just let me know!

25.10.06
Thanks for sharing this book.
As I already know from other books where a Hussein family member takes part - you have to expect a lot of cruelties. I will never understand how these people manage to treat others like this. Unbelievable.
I liked the style of the story regarding some parts.
Other parts were less "interesting" to me.

Since the original book-ring arrived with CosmicGirl now - I approached the next person on the list. As soon as I have an address.. I will send it off.

Journal Entry 9 by ScottishHoosier on Saturday, November 25, 2006
Came with the post this morning - thank you EMA for arranging it all and sharing your book, and thanks, Mary-T for sending it on.

Gotta finish another bookring first.

Journal Entry 10 by ScottishHoosier on Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I am so sorry that I have kept this book for so long. I have many excuses, including the holidays, but I really should have done better.

This was a very interesting book to read, and you learn a lot about Iraq's history. I am interested in learning more about the Ottoman Empire and Mayada's ancestors Sati Al-Husri, Jafar Pasha Al-Askari and her mother Salwa Al-Husri. The book ends with the "liberation" of Iraq, and I would so like to know what Mayada has done since. Did she find any of the other shadow women? Has she returned to Iraq (I hope she hasn't done so permanently, the way things are there right now)? What happened to the brave Samara?

I suppose that we all knew life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein wasn't nice nor pleasant, but I never would have imagined that the torture and murder were so widespread. Yes, I knew he'd gassed the Kurds. I knew that wholesale villages were rounded up and people shot dead. I didn't know that 14 year-old boys were picked up off the street because they looked at someone and ended up tortured and dead.

It is a well written story which is quite captivating, even though many parts are very, very disturbing. Still, I am glad that I read it.

Thank you, EMA375 for sharing this book. I have already pm'ed Rossella05 for an address earlier this morning. I hope to move it on by the end of the week.

Journal Entry 11 by ScottishHoosier on Monday, February 12, 2007
Rossella05 has asked to be skipped as she is in the process of moving. I've pm'ed j4neyo now.

Update: Just received a reply, so will try to get it off today. More later....

Journal Entry 12 by ScottishHoosier on Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Got it in the post this morning. Running kids around yesterday afternoon got in the way of posting it then.

Journal Entry 13 by j4neyo from Whitchurch, Shropshire United Kingdom on Sunday, February 18, 2007
Arrived safely in the post - many thanks to ScottishHoosier!

Journal Entry 14 by j4neyo from Whitchurch, Shropshire United Kingdom on Saturday, February 24, 2007
A grim insight into life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Have pm'd aussie-rose to send it on.

Released 13 yrs ago (3/5/2007 UTC) at Grahamstown in A bookcrosser , -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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Posted to aussie-rose in Australia

Journal Entry 16 by aussie-rose from Keith, South Australia Australia on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Look what came in the mail today - along with TWO other rings!

How can this happen to me! LOL!!

One book is not as urgent to send on but this one and another are of equal 'value'. I am almost finished my current 'read' and then I will have to flip a coin to see which ring goes first! I'll do my best to get it read within the month! :-)

Journal Entry 17 by aussie-rose from Keith, South Australia Australia on Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Wow...I could hardly bare to put this book down!

Although the atrocities mentioned in this book weren't a new revelation to me it's a heartbreaking tale of the hardship and toture that many people suffered under Saddam's regime! It's also a story of hope that despite the horrific circumstances, people could still care for each other and that a few were fortunate enough to escape. I wish the story gave information on the fate of Samara.

A moving, distrubing and eye-opening book! Thanks for the chance to read it!



UPDATE: Posted to dopsis March 30th. Sorry about delay!

Journal Entry 18 by dopsis from Albany, Western Australia Australia on Saturday, April 14, 2007
This arrived on Wednesday...looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing:)

Journal Entry 19 by dopsis from Albany, Western Australia Australia on Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Jean Sasson's writing style makes this drag through parts, although I'm glad I stuck with it. What an horrific story. Despite not liking the style of writing, I'd certainly read a sequel- I really want to know what happened to Samara and the other shadow women.

Have pm'ed Sherlockfan for an address and will send it on once received. Thanks again for sharing:)

Journal Entry 20 by wingSherlockfanwing from Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Monday, April 30, 2007
Arrived today, safely.
Thanks very much Dopsis, and for the bookmark, postcard and stickies in with it. What a beautiful place King George Sound looks to be. I've not experienced a lot of WA, Perth, FreeMantle, New Norsica and the Margaret River wineries but that is all. Loved my visit across there but is was a long time ago. It was just after an Americas Cup time and the place was really buzzing. Hope it will be buzzing here soon but at the moment isn't looking so good.

We here in NZ are, of course, buzzing with the excitement of hosting the 2009 BC Convention in Christchurch. Lots of planning to do. At the moment it is pretty much simply brainstorming but once London in April 2008 is out of the way we'll have to get into serious publicity.

Journal Entry 21 by wingSherlockfanwing from Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Thursday, May 10, 2007
Enjoyed isn't the word to use for this book but it was certainly extremely interesting while being totally appalling. I knew a little about the atrocities in Iraq but hadn't realised the extent of them, nor the totally mindless way in which people were imprisoned on trumped up charges, nor the obvious enjoyment that the guards or army official gained by torturing people.

The wonderful relationship between the women in Cell 52 was quite inspirational. I also found the construction of the book interesting with the individual stories of the shadow women and Mayada's life before prison being interwoven seamlessly. Like other journallers before me I too wondered what happened afterwards for any of those shadow women who escaped alive.

I've pm-ed Charlenemartel but haven't yet heard from her. I'll send a reminder as the book should be on its way

Released 12 yrs ago (5/11/2007 UTC) at Friend in Friend, A Potential Bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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Posting off to Charlenemartel tomorrow.

Journal Entry 23 by charlenemartel on Thursday, June 14, 2007
This was waiting for me at the post office yesterday evening. I plan on reading it in the next week or so and mailing it out within a month.

Thank you for sharing, and thank you so much Jan for the precious note!


Journal Entry 24 by hobbit from Riobamba, Chimborazo Ecuador on Saturday, May 17, 2008
Received today, thanks!

Journal Entry 25 by hobbit from Riobamba, Chimborazo Ecuador on Monday, July 07, 2008
I always find it disturbing to be reminded of cruelty, yet it's necessary that we understand what's happening in the world rather than closing our eyes. And this book did help in that regard.

I hope that the respect for human rights spreads. Thanks for sharing this book with me. I'm looking now for the address to send it on.

Journal Entry 26 by hobbit from Riobamba, Chimborazo Ecuador on Monday, July 07, 2008
Both SqueakyChu and taaza asked to be skipped but booklady331 replied quickly with her address so, since I had to go to the Post Office this afternoon for other reasons, I packaged it up quickly and sent it off.

It's media rate so it may be a bit pokey.

Journal Entry 27 by wingbooklady331wing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Monday, July 14, 2008
book arrived today. I love the cover. I will finish up my current book then read this. Thank you EMA375 for sharing your book with us.

Journal Entry 28 by wingbooklady331wing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I LOVED The book. What horrible things people suffered under Suddam Hussein. Makes me proud of the forces who took him out of power. Going to mail off to the next person.

Journal Entry 29 by wingbooklady331wing at By Mail, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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off to Ilios who is next on the ring.

Journal Entry 30 by wingbooklady331wing at By Mail, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (7/30/2008 UTC) at By Mail, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases

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Bookring -- of to Ilios

Journal Entry 31 by Ilios from Tampa, Florida USA on Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I just got this in the mail with another ring. I will get to it ASAP. Thanks for sharing this! I will update this entry as soon as I am done.


UPDATE 8/22/08

I finished reading this book a few days ago and wanted to take some time to "digest" the contents before writing a journal entry.

Jean Sasson always brings out powerful stories that usually are not told because they come from the people at the bottom of the totem pole: women in the Middle East. This book shares the experience of Mayada, who goes from darling of the Hussein regime to prisoner subjected to torture. Both situations, ironically enough, are brought upon her through no doing of her own. The facts alone are grisly enough. However, what it most terrifying of all in my opinion is the senselessness of it all (one day you receive and award, the next you are tortured) and the vicious ways in which the Hussein regime instilled terror in all levels of society. Hussein really managed to bring "1984" to life in the most horrific way.

Now that we are in the Olympic season, reading this book reminded me of the stories of the Iraqi soccer team whose members were tortured by Udai (or the other brother, whatever - both were sadistic monsters) upon returning from one of the Olympic Games because they had lost matches. It was nice to see that nobody would have to endure that this year.

I read "Princess", by the same author, and although the story was fascinating, just like this one, I am bothered again by Ms. Sasson's style. The storytelling is choppy and the transitions not very smooth. I wish the delivery was better.

As for the future of this book, I checked dittybopper's bokshelf and it has a request to skip her from rings and rays due to an illness in her family. Healing vibes are on the way to your family, dittybopper! I am contacting the next person in line today, to get this book moving ASAP.

Thank you again for sharing this with me.

Journal Entry 32 by Karenlea from Glendale, California USA on Thursday, October 23, 2008
A huge thank you for sharing this book! I again, apologize for hanging on to it for so long.

This was a very upsetting book to read, not that I expected it to be light reading...I think the hardest part was how arbitrary punishment was doled out. I cannot imagine living in a society where I would have to be constantly fearful of my life. The letter at the end of the book was even sadder. It was hard to read it and not know what happened to the rest of the shadow women.

Journal Entry 33 by EMA375 from Santa Clarita, California USA on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Arrived home safely. Thanks for all those who participated.

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