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I Was Told to Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet
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I Was Told to Come Alone

by Souad Mekhennet

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A compelling account of a female, Muslim journalist, born and educated in Germany, who is determined to investigate, understand, and show all sides of the story of the radicalisation of young Muslims in the West and their decisions to follow extremist doctrine into a life of jihad. I like to think that I'm fairly well informed. This book educated me in ways I didn't expect, and positively influenced my thinking. ( )
  missizicks | Apr 22, 2018 |
This is the first time that I have heard the name Souad Mekhennet. I am a fan of memoirs/non fiction books. Yet, the last several that I have read missed the mark with me. Not this book. From the very beginning, I was hooked on what Souad had to say and her journey. Reading her journey into dangerous locations...interviewing ruthless men, who were responsible for torturing and beheading; all while doing her job of a reporter was courageous and scary at the same time. I tried to imagine myself in Souad's shoes and I am not sure if I would have been that dedicated to get the "story".

Although, what I admired the most about Souad was her strength. While, she was visiting all of these dangerous locations, she was scared for her life. Yet, she did tried not to show it. Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed is that it did not try to make a political statement. Once, I started reading, I could not stop. Readers of non fiction will be pleased with this book. Don't be the last one to read this book. ( )
  Cherylk | Feb 21, 2018 |
I'm really glad I read this book. It's fascinating and challenging, but if you do pick it up don't expect to feel better about anything. The picture looks pretty bleak all around. Mekhennet gives the reader some insight into what make the jihadi world tick and it's fairly depressing. ( )
  bostonbibliophile | Jan 19, 2018 |
This starts with Souad’s unusual childhood and how it impacted her thoughts and her determination. Her background is a unique blend of Muslim with western influences. This brings out her convictions and her courage which runs throughout this book. I will say the first part was a little slow for me. I kept wondering when I was going to get to the jihad section. But this is a vital area of her story. This background into Souad’s way of thinking is so important as the book moves along.

This memoir takes you all over the globe. The differences in customs and cultures are fascinating. And! I have to say I am impressed with Souad Mekhennet! She is a tough journalist. She has been in some tough, scary situations but, she keeps pounding away to find out the truth. Really, I don’t think much frightens this woman. And I know nothing stops her!

However, the tone of this narrative is a little stiff or rather more matter of fact. I would have loved to have known more of her feelings during many situations.

I learned so much about many areas of the Middle East. I just thought I knew about these places. Souad takes you to so many countries and teaches you so much in this memoir. I do admire her courage and her tenacity.

I received this book from the publisher for a honest review. ( )
  fredreeca | Jan 14, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a German Muslim journalist born to Moroccan & Turkish immigrants, Mekhennet is in a unique position to research and report on how jihadists are radicalized, particularly young ones from Western nations (European/American). She is granted interviews with members of the often cellular but increasingly centralized movement, including ISIS, because of her pieces, critical and inclusive of many sides. Understanding and acknowledging as many aspects as possible of a problem leads to a more comprehensive and lasting solution. Crazy interesting and terrifying - humans are the scariest monsters.

Also, daaaaamn girl - nerves of steel. ( )
  dandelionroots | Jan 5, 2018 |
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To my grandparents, parents, and siblings
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I was told to come alone.
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"The journalist who broke the "Jihadi John" story draws on her personal experience to bridge the gap between the Muslim world and the West and explain the rise of Islamic radicalism. Souad Mekhennet has lived her entire life between worlds. The daughter of a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, she was born and educated in Germany and has worked for several American newspapers. Since the 9/11 attacks she has reported stories among the most dangerous members of her religion; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. In this compelling and evocative book, Mekhennet seeks to answer the question, "What is in the minds of these young jihadists, and how can we understand and defuse it?" She has unique and exclusive access into the world of jihad and sometimes her reporting has put her life in danger. We accompany her from Germany to the heart of the Muslim world -- from the Middle East to North Africa, from Sunni Pakistan to Shia Iran, and the Turkish/ Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner "Jihadi John," and then in Paris and Brussels, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization. Too often we find ourselves unable to see the human stories behind the headlines, and so Mekhennet - with a foot in many different camps - is the ideal guide to take us where no Western reporter can go. Her story is a journey that changes her life and will have a deep impact on us as well. "--"The journalist who broke the "Jihadi John" story draws on her personal experience to bridge the gap between the Muslim world and the West and explain the rise of Islamic radicalism Souad Mekhennet has lived her entire life between worlds. The daughter of a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, she was born and educated in Germany and has worked for several American newspapers. Since the 9/11 attacks she has reported stories among the most dangerous members of her religion; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. In this compelling and evocative book, Mekhennet seeks to answer the question, "What is in the minds of these young jihadists, and how can we understand and defuse it?" She has unique and exclusive access into the world of jihad and sometimes her reporting has put her life in danger. We accompany her from Germany to the heart of the Muslim world -- from the Middle East to North Africa, from Sunni Pakistan to Shia Iran, and the Turkish/ Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner "Jihadi John," and then in Paris and Brussels, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization. Too often we find ourselves unable to see the human stories behind the headlines, and so Mekhennet - with a foot in many different camps - is the ideal guide to take us where no Western reporter can go. Her story is a journey that changes her life and will have a deep impact on us as well"--… (more)

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