Cover image for The hostage's daughter : a story of family, madness, and the Middle East
Title:
The hostage's daughter : a story of family, madness, and the Middle East
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Dey St., [2016]
ISBN:
9780062385499
Physical Description:
xii, 272 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
The superman -- The abduction -- The boogeymen -- The resistance -- The rabbit hole -- The spooks -- The conspiracy theory -- The warlords -- The human intelligence -- The release -- The integration -- The joyful entitlement -- Epilogue.
Abstract:
"The Hostage's Daughter is an intimate look at the effect of the Lebanese Hostage Crisis on Anderson's family, the United States, and the Middle East today. Sulome tells moving stories from her experiences as a reporter in the region and challenges our understanding of global politics, the forces that spawn terrorism and especially Lebanon, the beautiful, devastated, and vitally important country she came to love. Powerful and eye-opening The Hostage's Daughter is essential reading for anyone interested in international relations, this violent, haunted region, and America's role in its fate." Dust jacket.
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Summary

Summary

In this gripping blend of reportage, memoir, and analysis, a journalist and daughter of one of the world's most famous hostages, Terry Anderson, takes an intimate look at her father's captivity during the Lebanese Hostage Crisis and the ensuing political firestorm on both her family and the United States--as well as the far-reaching implications of those events on Middle Eastern politics today.

In 1991, six-year-old Sulome Anderson met her father, Terry, for the first time. While working as the Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press covering the long and bloody civil war in Lebanon, Terry had been kidnapped in Beirut and held for her entire life by a Shiite Muslim militia associated with the Hezbollah movement.

As the nation celebrated, the media captured a smiling Anderson family joyously reunited. But the truth was far darker. Plagued by PTSD, Terry was a moody, aloof, and distant figure to the young daughter who had long dreamed of his return--and while she smiled for the cameras all the same, she absorbed his trauma as her own.

Years later, after long battles with drug abuse and mental illness, Sulome would travel to the Middle East as a reporter, seeking to understand her father, the men who had kidnapped him, and ultimately, herself. What she discovered was shocking--not just about Terry, but about the international political machinations that occurred during the years of his captivity.

The Hostage's Daughter is an intimate look at the effect of the Lebanese Hostage Crisis on Anderson's family, the United States, and the Middle East today. Sulome tells moving stories from her experiences as a reporter in the region and challenges our understanding of global politics, the forces that spawn terrorism and especially Lebanon, the beautiful, devastated, and vitally important country she came to love. Powerful and eye-opening The Hostage's Daughter is essential reading for anyone interested in international relations, this violent, haunted region, and America's role in its fate.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Anderson sets out to learn the truth about the 1985 kidnapping of her father, Terry Anderson, who was held captive for six years by the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), an event that defined her life and impaired their relationship. She sets out to learn about the men who took her father and "how a person becomes a terrorist." The resulting journey is a perilous and riveting spiral into Middle Eastern politics, exploring the dawn of the terrorist era in Beirut. At the center of her story is the question of Hezbollah's complicity and the possibility of an IJO double agent dealing secretly with Israel. She speaks with U.S. counterterrorism experts Barbara Bodine and Robert Oakley, an infamous former plane hijacker, and her father's fellow kidnappee Terry Waite, before coming face-to-face with someone uniquely qualified to answer her questions and provide the closure she so desperately seeks. Anderson intersperses her personal story, meeting her father for the first time at age seven, through a host of personal crises, and the redemptive powers she found in her chosen career. Through these dual narratives, Anderson creates a compelling depiction of the collateral damage of terrorism and a remarkable piece of investigative journalism with a surprise twist. Though we never get a full picture of her strained relationship with her father, that may be the point-there isn't much to tell. Agent: Lindsay Edgecombe, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

A firsthand view of conflict in the Middle East.In 1985, Shiite militia in Lebanon kidnapped Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson and held him hostage for the next six years. It wasnt until his release in 1991 that his daughter, the author, met him for the first time, and ever after the relationship was fraught. He suffered from PTSD and was emotionally unavailable, numb and dismissive, while, to judge by this memoir, his daughter was emotionally needy and made her fair share of poor decisions. Drug abuse, abusive boyfriends, mental illness: all are aspects of the legacy of trauma I was born with. Though the authors point is well-taken that political acts have reverberating consequences that affect people far away from the main stage, her narrative is always less interesting when the focus is on her. Her father is another matter; though clearly flawed and wounded, he emerges as a player in a political drama of a complex, sometimes nearly incomprehensible character. Anderson is at her best when she teases apart the narratives many threads, which number not just Hezbollah, but also the broader community of Shiite Islam, to say nothing of Israeli intelligence, the CIA, Iran, and other actors in set pieces such as the Beirut embassy bombing. The authors vigorous on-the-ground investigation of these matters, talking with sometimes-shadowy and seldom pleasant operatives, redeems the book from its self-absorbed excesses. The narrative is also timely; though some of the cast has changed, Andersons depiction of the relationship between Lebanese civilians and Syrian refugees, say, shows how enmities and alliances in the region have taken years to form. Ultimately, its a solid but not groundbreaking contribution to understanding the multifaceted tensions of a region that seems willfully resistant to peace. A middling book, much of it a footnote to an event thats already well-receded into history, even though it is part of a larger conflict still unfolding. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

In this well-reported memoir, the journalist daughter of former hostage Terry Anderson effectively weaves together the personal and the political. She simultaneously investigates her father's abduction interviewing key players, including a man she came to believe was one of her father's abductors and examines its effect on her life. Her Lebanese mother was pregnant, and her father was still married to the mother of his other daughter when militant Shiite Muslims kidnapped him in Beirut in 1985. Anderson didn't meet her dad until she was 7 and he was finally released. When she was 15, she was awarded $6 million in frozen Iranian assets held in the U.S. and her parents got $40 million, but money did not buy happiness. Anderson indulges in drugs and promiscuity; her dad, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, squanders his fortune; and her parents divorce. It's easy to imagine a movie version of this drama, which is spiked with Anderson's criticism of Israel as well as her father's captors and which ends with her in Brooklyn, wondering if she should return to Beirut.--Springen, Karen Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

MANY AMERICAN CORRESPONDENTS in the Middle East start out with an attraction not just to the adrenaline but to the exotic. They fall a little bit in love with the mullah's wail in moonlight and the scent of cardamom, even if the scent is tainted by shallow graves and the prayer calls punctuated with the sound of gunfire, off in the distance. As a journalist on this turf, Sulome Anderson is sui generis. Not only is she both American and Lebanese, and so immune to the exotic; she is also the daughter of Terry Anderson. In 1985, while he was the Associated Press bureau chief for the Middle East, Terry Anderson was kidnapped and spent almost seven years in captivity, long before ISIS was a gleam in some mullah's eye, when hostage taking - not beheading - was deemed by militant Islamists and their affiliates to be sufficient to sow fear in the enemy. In this complex and engaging memoir, Sulome is both journalist and memoirist, describing her metamorphosis from entitled brat who wasted her teens and early 20 s on OxyContin, Xanax, coke, pot and booze, before getting therapy and putting her journalism degree from Columbia University to the test, investigating the 30-year-old mystery of who really kidnapped her father and why. The younger Anderson was in utero when her father was snatched on his way home after a morning of tennis in Beirut. Complicating matters, her mother, a Lebanese Christian national, hadn't got around to marrying her father, who was still married to a wife with a daughter in Japan when he was captured. Sulome grew up, as she writes, "defined by terrorism." Her earliest memories are of seeing her father's haggard visage on TV, and of receiving presents "from" him (secretly bought by her mother). After years of imagining what it would be like to have him in her life, he was released when she was 7. But the new family, now reunited and very rich (Anderson's parents received $40 million from various lawsuits; she herself received $6 million from frozen Iranian assets), was miserable. The childhood ideal exploded on contact with the emotionally damaged and physically weakened man. One editor advised her to put off this memoir until a riper age, but she decided to write "The Hostage's Daughter" anyway. In her research, she comes across some of the Middle East's great conspiracy theories - commonplace notions in Arab countries, but which seasoned American journalists avoid like the professional kiss of death they are. Young Anderson dives right in: Was Israel behind her dad's kidnapping and lengthy captivity? Was the mysterious Islamic Jihad Organization - which took credit for holding her father - a front seeded by Israel to tar the reputation of the Lebanese Shiites and Hezbollah? She admits early on that she harbors personal animosity toward the Israeli government, calling it "the elephant in the room," and then proceeds later in the book to diligently track down and interview a number of Arabs, an ex-Mossad agent and even some Westerners willing to suggest that Israeli intelligence assets were complicit in her father's kidnapping, or knew exactly where he was and how to get him out, but did nothing. She also jumps down the Iran-contra rabbit hole, another conspiracy never fully unraveled. She meets Oliver North and various spies and diplomats who played major and supporting roles in the Reagan administration's plan to run guns through Israel to Iran. At one point she says she is "starting to seriously consider" that the American government extended her father's captivity "by four to five years." Anderson recounts various interviews and meetings, sharing surreal moments like bringing a puppy to a man who personally participated in holding her father hostage, and having the same man point a pistol at her face. She shares the Hezbollah leaders' various reactions when she tells them who her father is - a fact she habitually saved for halfway through the interviews. Anderson's disarming youth and gender opened many doors. But it is not easy for a 20-something woman - especially one with acknowledged mental health problems - to get taken seriously. Eventually, she stops trying to figure out who's being truthful and who's not. "Governments will always plot and scheme, trying to reap as much political benefit as possible from the tragedies of families such as mine," she concludes. Readers will meet some of the shady characters skulking around Beirut, Tehran, Washington and Tel Aviv in these pages, but they might be slightly disappointed that the author can't pin them down. Instead, she serves up an Oprah moment of forgiveness that - like countless Middle East truces - may or may not hold. NINA BURLEIGH has lived in and written books about the Middle East. She is currently Newsweek's national politics correspondent.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1 The Supermanp. 7
2 The Abductionp. 19
3 The Boogeymenp. 43
4 The Resistancep. 67
5 The Rabbit Holep. 89
6 The Spooksp. 119
7 The Conspiracy Theoryp. 155
8 The Warlordsp. 171
9 The Human Intelligencep. 191
10 The Releasep. 215
11 The Integrationp. 227
12 The Joyful Entitlementp. 243
Epiloguep. 255
Source Listp. 263