On December 5, 2012, American medical doctor Dilip Joseph and two colleagues are driving back to Kabul, Afghanistan, after serving villagers that morning at a rural clinic. Suddenly a man waving an AK-47 blocks their path. More armed men jump out of hiding. For Dilip, it is the beginning of a nightmare—he’s being kidnapped by the Taliban.
Dilip and his friends endure a nine-hour march into the mountains, gruesome images of torture and death, and repeated threats of execution. Four days later Dilip is freed in a daring and deadly rescue that claims the life of a SEAL Team Six operator. Yet this is more than a story of desperation, survival, and loss. It is also a tale of surprising connection, compassion, and inspiration. As Dilip begins to view the Taliban not as monsters but as men, both he and his captors are challenged to reexamine everything that matters: courage, sacrifice, hope, and faith.
Every day there are news reports of people being kidnapped or executed by extremists. Some days there are news reports of people being rescued after having been rescued. In this book, we get a first person perspective on both.
I thought Dr. Joseph’s story of kidnapping, being held hostage for ransom, and his eventual rescue was very interesting. I always love it when a book makes me either gasp out loud or exclaim “Oh no”, mostly because it freaks my family out! This book did both. It really does read like an adventure film. At several points during the book I had to tell myself, “He lived to write the book, everything will be ok.” Now that is a suspenseful book!
The description of the terrain and the hours of hiking was so real, I could really imagine what it looked like. I could also imagine the fear and terror Dr. Joseph experienced, along with the peace he described as he viewed his experiences through eyes of faith.
There were some unexpected things in this book that I particularly enjoyed. Dr. Joseph shared information about the culture and people of Afghanistan. He shared information about ordinary people in Afghanistan who are simply trying to make a living and provide for their families in the face of others that take what they have worked so hard to grow and care for. In one of the more bizarre segments of his story, readers get a glimpse into a family forced to provide a dinner party for the Taliban and the hostages from the food they have for their own family.
I also thought the interactions between Joseph and his captors were interesting. From one perspective, it seemed as if Joseph wanted to offer a living testimony of his faith. However, at times I have to admit to wondering if he was experiencing Stockholm syndrome.
My favorite part of the book was what happened after Joseph was rescued. I had no idea of the process that rescued hostages underwent. I always imagined they were rescued, put on a plane, and returned to their families and their lives. Apparently that is not the case.
If you are interested in current events or are interested in reading a book about the experiences of a Taliban hostage, this is one that will have you biting your nails and gasping out loud. It is also a great book to remind us to live our lives as a living testimony to our faith.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.