Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam

Zainab Salbi was eleven years old when her father was chosen to be Saddam Hussein's personal pilot and her family's life was grafted onto his. Her mother, the beautiful Alia, taught her daughter the skills she needed to survive. A plastic smile. Saying yes. Burying in boxes in her mind the horrors she glimpsed around her. "Learn to erase your memories," she instructed. "He can read eyes."

In this richly visual memoir, Salbi describes tyranny as she saw it - through the eyes of a privileged child, a rebellious teenager, a violated wife, and ultimately a public figure fighting to overcome the skill that once kept her alive: silence.

Between Two Worlds is a riveting quest for truth that deepens our understanding of the universal themes of power, fear, sexual subjugation, and the question one generation asks the one before it: How could you have let this happen to us?

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By Cathyb53 (Ithaca, NY) · ★★★★★ · February 08, 2008
Zainab Salbi is an amazing woman. I first came to know of her when she appeared on 'Oprah', talking about an organization she founded called Women for Women International . In this program, women in the worst circumstances in the world - Rwanda, Sudan, Bosnia, Congo, the survivors of civil war, p... ...more
By Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · January 11, 2015
I would not have read this memoir but for my world books challenge, and that would have been a loss, because it is a fascinating book.

Zainab Salbi grew up in a prosperous and well-connected Iraqi family in the 1970s and 1980s – as it turned out, they were too well-connected, because Saddam Hussei... ...more
By Christina (Greensboro, NC) · ★★★★★ · March 26, 2014
This is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read, and I loved it even though I don't usually get super jazzed about inspiring stuff. Zainab Salbi grew up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and her parents were reluctantly drawn into his inner circle. The dictator tore her country and family apar... ...more
By D.J. (The United States) · ★★★★★ · May 31, 2009
Between Two Worlds by Zainab Salbi was the first account I have read by someone who personally knew and socialized with Saddam. Her book is a wrenching description of the horrors she and her family experienced in their "privileged" position as friends of Saddam. It's a very worthwhile account.

I'm... ...more
By Ella (Toronto, ON, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · September 19, 2010
Zainab Salbi was the daughter of Saddam Hussein's pilot. By being his pilot he was now part of Saddam's "inner circle" and because of that his family has to follow suit. Zainab was just a young girl when she was made to call Saddam "Amo", which meant uncle. Through his tyranny, he expected people... ...more
By Rachel (Oakland, CA) · ★★★★★ · November 02, 2011
zainab salbi is one of my heroes. she founded the non-profit women for women international, an organization through which you can sponsor a woman for a year in a war torn country. women tend to be the the fields upon which war is waged, their bodies become the battlefield and use of rape as a sys... ...more
By Shelia (Charlotte, NC) · ★★★★★ · August 23, 2013
Very few books have affected me like this one has. I finished it with a sad, sick feeling in my stomach. My father was in Vietnam and I heard about some of the horrors that happened there. So I thought I knew of some of the awful things going on in the world. I quickly realized that I don't have... ...more
By Amelia (The United States) · ★★☆☆☆ · December 03, 2007
I learned so much from this book. I really have never understood what is going on over in Iraq/Iran, but haven't really known how to find out. This book, while entertaining me, helped me understand so much about the middle east and the conflicts there. What an eye opener. People there are just li... ...more
By Sarah (Blackburn, Bb1, The United Kingdom) · ★★★☆☆ · March 09, 2014
Imagine there was someone you disliked. Or were ambivalent about. Or someone you had never even heard of. Then imagine that you were tricked into meeting this person which pretty much led to destroying your life.
This is what happened to Zainabs parents. They lived their life in fear of upsetting... ...more
By Caitlin · ★★★★☆ · July 24, 2014
When Zainab Salbi was eleven, her parents finally had to accept the friendship of Saddam Hussein, who had spent years cultivating the young, wealthy, and popular couples. Her father became Hussein's pilot, and their lives changed--they had to move into a home he approved of, drop everything at a... ...more