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Between Two Worlds is an autobiography. In part, it is also Salbi's tribute to her mother, a beautiful bird in an invisible cage. One thing learned in this book is that you can't leave the torments of your past behind. Healing takes time.
The subtitle is Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam. Saddam was more than a shadow in her life. He was literally the house guest on her living room sofa, the hand on her shoulder, the audience at her informal piano recital, and her attentive guide to a pavilion on one of his palace lakes. Salbi's father was Saddam's personal pilot. Her knowledge of Saddam is direct or second hand from primary sources. Her descriptions of him and his methods read like a playbook for narcissistic psychopathic dictators: Take whatever you want, murder those who displease you, rape whomever you like (including vulnerable women who plead for your assistance), sow fear and distrust everywhere, use force regularly, create a personality cult, brook no refusal, keep a collection
of "friends" who must respond like lap dogs to your every wish whether explicit or implied, bring war upon the earth, name infrastructure projects after yourself, forego the rule of law, employ tribal bodyguards whose loyalty is certain and reward them with sex and power, build lavish palaces, kill opposition leaders, be vainly selective with your wardrobe, violently oppress or deport any group not cut from the same cloth as you, engage in domestic spying and encourage snitching even among family members and school children, punish independent attitudes or actions no matter how small, obey no one, always follow your own inclinations, maintain a veil of dignity and respectability whenever possible, and treat your entire country as essentially your own private feeding ground.
I found that I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
Reserved for my NF VBB