The Tightening Dark: An American Hostage in Yemen

Sam Farran and Benjamin Buchholz. Hachette, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-306-92271-8
Farran, a former U.S. Marine turned private security contractor, debuts with an in-depth account of the six months he spent in a Yemeni prison in 2015. Born in a small village in Lebanon, Farran joined the Marines after graduating from high school in Dearborn, Mich., and served as an interrogator for the Defense Intelligence Agency and a defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, where he ran a program to train the country’s Counterterrorism Unit, or CTU, after 9/11. Following the takeover of the Yemeni government by Houthi rebels in 2014, Farran, who had returned to the country to do a security assessment for British American Tobacco, was kidnapped by members of the CTU and accused of coordinating air strikes on behalf of the Saudi Arabian–led coalition fighting the Houthis. Detained in an “American-built jail on an American-funded base built to combat al-Qaeda,” Farran faced weekly beatings and interrogations while his family and colleagues desperately sought information about his whereabouts. He credits his military training and Muslim faith with helping him to survive the ordeal, which ended when the Omani government negotiated his release. Though the narrative drags in places, Farran offers insightful details about the complex situation in Yemen and the larger forces at play in the Middle East. This is an illuminating look behind the headlines. Agent: Elise Capron, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/20/2021
Release date: 07/27/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6546-7
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