Between Two Worlds

  • by Zainab Salbi, Laurie Becklund
  • Narrated by Josephine Bailey
  • 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Zainab Salbi was 11-years-old when her father was chosen to serve as Saddam Hussein's personal pilot, her family often forced to spend weekends with Saddam where he watched their every move. As a palace insider, Zainab offers a singular glimpse of what it is like to come of age under a dictator and provides an intimate portrait of the man she was taught to call "uncle". She watched as Saddam pitted friends, spouses, and even children against each other to compete for his approval. She was sent to donate her mother's jewelry to one of the world's richest men, asked to erase her memory as she heard of crimes she was not supposed to hear of, and witnessed her mother hiding her tears lest it upset Saddam. Her mother eventually sent Zainab to America for an arranged marriage, to spare her from Saddam's growing affection, but the marriage intended to save her turned out to be another world of tyranny and abuse. Despite extraordinary psychological challenges, Zainab started over. She forged a new identity as a champion of female victims of war, dedicating her life to speaking out on behalf of oppressed women around the world. Her unique nonprofit organization has been featured in the media numerous times, including multiple appearances by Zainab on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But until now, Zainab has never told this very personal tale. In this intimate portrait, she reveals the tyrant through the eyes of a child, a secretly rebellious teenager, an abused wife, and ultimately a professional woman coming to terms with the horror of secrets her mother revealed only on her deathbed. Through her ability to come to terms with the child she used to be and the dangerous world in which she managed to survive, Between Two Worlds emerges as a story of heroism like no other.


What the Critics Say

"This may be the most honest account of life within Saddam's circle so far." (Publishers Weekly)
"This compelling memoir is not only a story of personal success but also a fascinating glimpse at a fanatical leader." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An excellent history lesson

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 to show their affection for him by forcing them to give him gifts of gold, kiss him, call him endearing names and be at his beck and call, which included rape if he so desired. Zainab's parents were very loving, and it was that love for her and fear of Saddam that forced her mother to make a mistake that would plunge Zainab into a hell even she did not know under Saddam's regime. Her emotional journey from childhood to womanhood led her on her path to start an organization called Women for Women International, an organization that empowers women victims of war, to not only survive their ordeal, but to become whole again. Zainab turned her family's oppressive life experiences into a positive action. A few months back I joined WFWI and am now sponsoring a woman in Rwanda. It was particularly interesting for me to see how this organization came to be. Through the eyes of a frightened child, a confused teenager and then an abused woman, Zainab Salbi rose to the top and turned it all around for herself and other victims.
Josephine Bailey did an excellent job of narrating the novel as well. An eye opening read that should not be missed.
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- Ella "Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road."

Couldn't hit the "pause" button!

This is a fascinating book! It was hard to turn off long enough to get a night's sleep!!! This portrayal of life under Saddam is so well told, Iraqi lifestyle so beautifully described... Zaineb's story affirms that deposing Saddam was an important accomplishment, and hopefully will continue to prove over time to be a fresh start for Iraqi freedom.

About the narrator: Josephine Bailey is awesome. I've listened to a number of her books. Her narration skills make any great book even better, which certainly is the case here.
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- Eunice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-20-2005
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio