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“Nail-bitingly suspenseful. ... Inspiring. ... Essential reading.” — Booklist, starred review The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West. Born in the Old City of Sana’a, “Nail-bitingly suspenseful. ... Inspiring. ... Essential reading.” — Booklist, starred review The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West. Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was a devout Muslim raised to think of Christians and Jews as his enemy. But when Mohammed was twenty-three, he secretly received a copy of the Bible, and what he read cast doubt on everything he’d previously believed. After connecting with Jews and Christians on social media, and at various international interfaith conferences, Mohammed became an activist, making it his mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in Yemen. Then came the death threats: first on Facebook, then through terrifying anonymous phone calls. To protect himself and his family, Mohammed fled to the southern port city of Aden. He had no way of knowing that Aden was about to become the heart of a north-south civil war, and the battleground for a well-funded proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As gunfire and grenades exploded throughout the city, Mohammed hid in the bathroom of his apartment and desperately appealed to his contacts on Facebook. Miraculously, a handful of people he barely knew responded. Over thirteen days, four ordinary young people with zero experience in diplomacy or military exfiltration worked across six technology platforms and ten time zones to save this innocent young man trapped between deadly forces— rebel fighters from the north and Al Qaeda operatives from the south. The story of an improbable escape as riveting as the best page-turning thrillers, The Fox Hunt reminds us that goodness and decency can triumph in the darkest circumstances.


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“Nail-bitingly suspenseful. ... Inspiring. ... Essential reading.” — Booklist, starred review The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West. Born in the Old City of Sana’a, “Nail-bitingly suspenseful. ... Inspiring. ... Essential reading.” — Booklist, starred review The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West. Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was a devout Muslim raised to think of Christians and Jews as his enemy. But when Mohammed was twenty-three, he secretly received a copy of the Bible, and what he read cast doubt on everything he’d previously believed. After connecting with Jews and Christians on social media, and at various international interfaith conferences, Mohammed became an activist, making it his mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in Yemen. Then came the death threats: first on Facebook, then through terrifying anonymous phone calls. To protect himself and his family, Mohammed fled to the southern port city of Aden. He had no way of knowing that Aden was about to become the heart of a north-south civil war, and the battleground for a well-funded proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As gunfire and grenades exploded throughout the city, Mohammed hid in the bathroom of his apartment and desperately appealed to his contacts on Facebook. Miraculously, a handful of people he barely knew responded. Over thirteen days, four ordinary young people with zero experience in diplomacy or military exfiltration worked across six technology platforms and ten time zones to save this innocent young man trapped between deadly forces— rebel fighters from the north and Al Qaeda operatives from the south. The story of an improbable escape as riveting as the best page-turning thrillers, The Fox Hunt reminds us that goodness and decency can triumph in the darkest circumstances.

30 review for The Fox Hunt: A Memoir of Yemen and My Odyssey to America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    As a young child growing up in Yemen, Mohammed Al Samawi was curious and was always asking questions. His family was devoutly Muslim. In school, it was stressed to students that Christians and Jews were their enemies, and that they could never be trusted. As a young university student, Mohammed was given a copy of the Bible to read by a professor whom he befriended. This led to Mohammed’s quest to meet and talk with people of other faiths. He wanted to learn about and understand the teachings of As a young child growing up in Yemen, Mohammed Al Samawi was curious and was always asking questions. His family was devoutly Muslim. In school, it was stressed to students that Christians and Jews were their enemies, and that they could never be trusted. As a young university student, Mohammed was given a copy of the Bible to read by a professor whom he befriended. This led to Mohammed’s quest to meet and talk with people of other faiths. He wanted to learn about and understand the teachings of other religions. Most of all, he wanted to talk to a Jew. In the Old Testament, he saw so many similarities. He became involved with international interfaith groups with the goal of promoting peace and cooperation in the world. However, in the closed Muslim society of Yemen, this was forbidden behavior which was not tolerated or encouraged. Actions like that could have dire consequences. When civil war broke out in Yemen, Mohammed’s life was forever changed. Mohammed Al Samawi’s memoir is thought provoking, profound and riveting! I could not put it down. It’s a story of friendship, family, sacrifice, courage, and survival against all odds.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    If anyone deserves to get the life he has prepared for and does by example strive toward with work/goals continually forward, it is this author. He is also a born capitalist in his soul, IMHO. Not to mention that his intellect is coupled with a personality born whole and then honed by his family for "fellow well met" associations supreme. His background and physical state could have made him bitter and vengeful. Instead, he is kind. Also holding continual voice with action example to get the exp If anyone deserves to get the life he has prepared for and does by example strive toward with work/goals continually forward, it is this author. He is also a born capitalist in his soul, IMHO. Not to mention that his intellect is coupled with a personality born whole and then honed by his family for "fellow well met" associations supreme. His background and physical state could have made him bitter and vengeful. Instead, he is kind. Also holding continual voice with action example to get the explosive ends around to meet somewhere and somehow. He also sees humor and positive minutia with strong recognition of some joy in just being alive. (Although lack of electricity is sure to take the smile off his face.) People with disability from a very young age who find a route they like often have that quality, I've found. Or else they get bitter introverted/ closed in to recluse and rather mean. He definitely took the top route. His story of Yemen is complex and often confusing. As is their civil war of, IMHO, far more than just 2 sides. And this is his tale of getting out alive from Yemen when he was and is a mark for the absolute worst consequences. Not only because of who he is ethnically, but also because of how he talks and thinks regarding his own religious lines of dictates. He became "known". Mohammed is exactly the kind of immigrant that is welcome and has more than just victim /refugee justifications to be welcomed. With all of this trouble and anguish, I have the feeling that Al Samawi is certainly worried about his birth family but that he is also one of those people who you know from some font of his own joy, also has a positive smile for the next possible associate. His name could be Horatio Alger too, in a broad sense, it could. Success is possible. All levels of success are possible. Social networks have their downsides but they also have their advantages. This is a fabulous story of connection through tech too. 3 star for the writing ability and 5 star for the personal story/ example. So 4 star rating for a tale of today which explains so much about the Middle East's endless troubles. UN, UNICEF, Saudi Arabia in particular could do SO MUCH more to help those caught in the horrific and constant cracks.

  3. 4 out of 5

    sophie.connects.the.dots (on hiatus)

    I was hesitant about a review initially because how to you rate someone's life?? That's kind of what it feels like. Writing a review just sounds worse. But this isn't a review about how many spelling mistakes the book had (none, he's all good) or whether I liked his sentence choices. I can say he hooks readers very well with his storytelling, and he is a very kind, open writer/person. He's so very open-eyed and concerned about others around him, and I was smiling at such a nice person throughout t I was hesitant about a review initially because how to you rate someone's life?? That's kind of what it feels like. Writing a review just sounds worse. But this isn't a review about how many spelling mistakes the book had (none, he's all good) or whether I liked his sentence choices. I can say he hooks readers very well with his storytelling, and he is a very kind, open writer/person. He's so very open-eyed and concerned about others around him, and I was smiling at such a nice person throughout the book. We all love truly kind-hearted people, I think. But I'm not going to talk about Mohammed Al Samawi. At least, not entirely. That's what this book is for. Which, by the way, is as suspenseful as an action novel. Nope. I want to talk about Yemen. Keep in mind, I'm American, so anything I say I want to be correct about, but truth is, I've never lived in Yemen so I don't have first-hand knowledge. Currently, as far as I can tell, Yemen is undergoing the world's greatest humanitarian crises...ever. And best guess is it'll probably get worse. Yemen used to be one of the ME's poorest countries and now millions of people are suffering cholera, starvation, and lack of safety. For a little over a year, I've wanted to learn more about Yemen's side from a personal standpoint--and not just from a news sheet online. Yemen has been on my heart and mind for a long time, now. This was the book I was waiting for. This was published pretty recently, actually. There's still a lot of people hurting in Yemen, and I literally teared up at the ending, thinking of how many people are still in very dangerous situations. Al Samawi's real and personal experience gave me a glimpse and what might be happening to so many people, and it's heart-wrenching. First off, I want to say it's very neat to hear Mohammed's perspective of his country, his surrounding countries ("Big Sister" Saudi Arabia, etc.), and the people all over. Taught to be prejudiced against Jews in the beginning, this book is about many things including the fact that he learns that not everything is black-and-white. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Yemenis, Israelis, Palestinians, Americans (religions & countries)... all learning to speak peaceably with each other. When Mohammed is in serious trouble, his friends...some of whom hardly know him very well spend days and probably weeks doing everything they can to help. It's a happy view to see people urged on to help those who need help, no matter the cost or how many sleepless nights you may endure. Mohammed is the same way. He is always ready to serve someone else and looks for the peaceful route. The humanity in this book is really very beautiful. I'm a fan of fantasy. Of adventure. Of dragons and towers and desert journeys and magical wardrobes. Certainly memoirs seem a bit out of the blue. But I sincerely wanted to read this book, for a simple reason. About a year ago, I was searching online looking up random nations. I am a geography geek (not ashamed!) and love learning about different cultures and countries. I walked toward Yemen, and had the feeling of my heart being tugged. And then, in the months afterward, Yemen just kept popping up in several places I wasn't expecting. Ever since, Yemen has just always been in my mind. I wasn't sure why that was, but I started to do a lot of research. A lot of research. I looked up everything I could, but I still wanted to hear that first-hand account. So, thank you Mohammed Al Samawi, for opening my eyes a bit more. He has a gracious and gentle view of individuals, and I appreciate his honesty. I really want to do something to help Yemen. So if anyone knows of a specific way to help, I'd love to hear. Thank you for reading this lengthy review. (Oh, it still feels weird leaving a review on a memoir) <3

  4. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read – and it is a true story! Across the top of the front cover of the book is a very powerful description – “Four Strangers, Three Faiths, and One Extraordinary Escape to Freedom”. Mohammed Al Samawi grew up in Yemen being taught to hate Christians and Jews. But then he met Luke, a Christian professor, and they struck up a friendship. With sincere concern for Luke, Mohammed presented him with a copy of the Quran. Luke agreed to read the Quran This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read – and it is a true story! Across the top of the front cover of the book is a very powerful description – “Four Strangers, Three Faiths, and One Extraordinary Escape to Freedom”. Mohammed Al Samawi grew up in Yemen being taught to hate Christians and Jews. But then he met Luke, a Christian professor, and they struck up a friendship. With sincere concern for Luke, Mohammed presented him with a copy of the Quran. Luke agreed to read the Quran if Mohammed would read the Bible. This challenge would ultimately totally change Mohammed’s life. The more he read, the more he came to realize that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are more similar than they are different. This realization resulted in so many questions he knew he had to get answers. He began on-line interactions with Jews and Christians and attended conferences in Sarajevo and Jordan. It was in Jordan that he met a young lady who would later help save his life. But his interactions with Jews and Christians soon got the attention of the extremist groups. He began receiving death threats and soon knew his life was truly in danger. How could he get out of Yemen? Fearing for the safety of his family he left his home of Sana’a and fled to Aden. In Aden, he reached out on social media asking for help. He was trapped, all alone, in the bathroom of his apartment while outside the gunfire and grenades exploded. His social media friends became his family, there with him 24 hours a day. It was four young interfaith activists – two in the US and two in Tel Aviv - with no experience in foreign affairs, international relations, or foreign diplomacy who, through social media, carried out a miracle. They reached out to everyone they knew and got them to also reach out to their networks. And people responded! They connected with various militaries, governments, and organizations where they found some who were willing to help. The way they got him out of Yemen is just mind-boggling. Not only did they get him out of Yemen but they then got him to the US. This is a miraculous story. It restores faith that there really are good people out there who will go to great measures for people they do not know. Why? It is just the right thing to do I guess. It really should be no surprise too that his story has already been picked up to be made into a movie. This is absolutely a MUST READ.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joel Wentz

    There's a lot to love in this book, and many reasons to recommend it (especially to American/Western readers). The first half is a fascinating, first-hand account of growing up in a conservative, closed Muslim country (Yemen). Al-Samawi writes honestly and graciously about his experiences, giving deference to the good things from his upbringing and critiquing the problematic parts. I found myself totally enthralled by the cultural differences between my childhood and his - the extreme deference There's a lot to love in this book, and many reasons to recommend it (especially to American/Western readers). The first half is a fascinating, first-hand account of growing up in a conservative, closed Muslim country (Yemen). Al-Samawi writes honestly and graciously about his experiences, giving deference to the good things from his upbringing and critiquing the problematic parts. I found myself totally enthralled by the cultural differences between my childhood and his - the extreme deference to family (especially the father), the ways honor and shame impacted decisions, the submission to arranged marriage, and the combination of religious-cultural-national identity (OK, that last one actually may not be so different from my own conservative-Christian-ultra-patriotic background...). My empathy for those raised in similar circumstances has been radically impacted by this book. The second half reads like a gripping political-espionage thriller (honestly, it's not that far off). There were many parts in which I had to remind myself that this was a true story, the events are so dramatic. I found myself emotionally involved in Mohammed's experience in a way that only the best type of memoir can evoke. It's also a "perspective check," as I was reminded that I've never once had to consider the possibility of escaping a war-torn city, with my own survival at stake. Finally, there is a wonderful inter-faith layer to the story. The way Mohammed's own biases were deconstructed through interpersonal trust and relationship is so interesting, challenging, and encouraging to read about. His own curiosity, honesty and vulnerability are inspiring, and his ability to question his own perspective and be stretched makes this an important story for our time. I highly recommend this to anyone, but especially those who don't have any personal relationships with Muslims, or those passionate about inter-faith dialogue. I'm so thankful for Mohammed's story, and for his courage in putting it out into the world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jaymie

    This is an incredible story! I’m not sure how to put my thoughts into words. Really makes me think what I would do in his situation, how about in the situation of his friends he asks for help. I would have zero idea of how to begin. Below are some of my favorites of his thoughts. He is a talented writer. Really makes you think and feel anxious to help but I’m not sure how... ”What is to become of a whole generation of young people who will grow up in a war zone?” “When lives are filled with doubt This is an incredible story! I’m not sure how to put my thoughts into words. Really makes me think what I would do in his situation, how about in the situation of his friends he asks for help. I would have zero idea of how to begin. Below are some of my favorites of his thoughts. He is a talented writer. Really makes you think and feel anxious to help but I’m not sure how... ”What is to become of a whole generation of young people who will grow up in a war zone?” “When lives are filled with doubt and uncertainty and when you live in unacknowledged ignorance you resort to believing those in power or control. In Yemen that means extremist clerics, Al Qaeda, isis... Right now under our very noses an army is being recruited and trained by extremists and terrorists. They believe the world has turned their backs on them and don’t care. This is how terrorists are born and raised. The crisis in Yemen is the beginning of the radicalization of a generation. An army of hate is being raised across the Middle East. I believe an army of understanding and action can take on that army and defeat it.” “We all have Choices to make. Action or inaction. We are all connected. What choices we make will eventually make their way back to us...I choose hope! I pray that those in the Middle East and around the world will work together. That we will choose the fundamental principle that underlies the great religions of the world...mercy!”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is an autobiography of a man's escape from his war torn country of Yemen. In the beginning, as he goes through his childhood, this felt like it was going to be a chore to get through. I was ready to toss 2 stars at it. It felt overly dramatic and I think it was because of the narration. But the second half picked up considerably. It still felt dramatic but for good reason. The suspense was well written. His escape has an incredible feat and it was made possible by friends and of course, fri This is an autobiography of a man's escape from his war torn country of Yemen. In the beginning, as he goes through his childhood, this felt like it was going to be a chore to get through. I was ready to toss 2 stars at it. It felt overly dramatic and I think it was because of the narration. But the second half picked up considerably. It still felt dramatic but for good reason. The suspense was well written. His escape has an incredible feat and it was made possible by friends and of course, friends with money. The second half was 4 stars....so I'll go with 3.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I didn't know much about the causes of the war in Yemen until I read this book.  It still doesn't make much sense to me because it boils down to "Those people look different than us and think differently than us."  It is that kind of mindset that Mohammed Al Samawi was working against prior to the war.  The stars of this story of the activists around the world who play a high stakes game of Six Degrees of Separation.  Who do you know?  Who do they know?  Can you get one man from Aden to Africa? I didn't know much about the causes of the war in Yemen until I read this book.  It still doesn't make much sense to me because it boils down to "Those people look different than us and think differently than us."  It is that kind of mindset that Mohammed Al Samawi was working against prior to the war.  The stars of this story of the activists around the world who play a high stakes game of Six Degrees of Separation.  Who do you know?  Who do they know?  Can you get one man from Aden to Africa? What struck me while reading this is the problems that are caused by Yemen's patriarchy/toxic combination of masculinity and religion: The whole conflict could be put down to this He was unable to shelter with his uncle's family because his uncle wouldn't let him in the house where his unmarried female cousins lived.  How messed up is that?  Your nephew is alone in an apartment in a war zone but you won't take him in because you assume he wouldn't be able to sexually control himself around his female relatives? Because he was male he was completely unprepared to live on his own without women to care for him.  He moved to Aden and was living alone.  He ate out daily since he didn't cook so he had minimal food and supplies in the house when all the shops closed down. After he was out of Yemen due to the help of a group of interfaith activists he was still too afraid to tell him mother (still living in a war zone) that he had been talking to Jews.   I found the beginning of this book with his entry into interfaith dialogue more interesting than the story of his escape from Yemen.  I think that is partially because the writing is very plain.  It reads like "This happened and then this happened and then this happened..."  Secondly, I mostly just wanted to shake the guy.  This is not a heroic memoir.  Mohammed Al Samawi isn't brave.  He isn't very good at planning.  He moves from Sanaa to Aden but neglects to bring his passport even though he travels for work.  These things all make trying to flee the country harder.  He uses the distraction of a Northern man like himself being publicly tortured to death in the street by Al Qaeda to escape from his apartment while wondering why no one tries to help that man.  He even refers to himself occasionally as a man-child.  He was in his late 20s in 2015 when this happened. In the end there were so many different lobbying efforts going on that it is not clear who succeeded in getting the order given to let him on the ship from Aden to Djibouti.  I wish this had been investigated.  It seems to be a very strange thing not to know who allowed his transport in a book about arranging his transport.   In the absence of facts, he falls back on the idea that God arranged his rescue.  While comforting for religious people, this makes nonreligious people want to pull their hair out.  Basically he saying that his God ignored everyone else stuck in a war (about religion and power) to concentrate on giving him special attention.  It also diminishes all the hard work that people did on his behalf.   [image error]  This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  9. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I won a copy in a giveaway -- and I'm so glad I did! This was a very well put together story of a refugee's experience in faith, friendship, and international affairs. There was a lot of explanation of the war in Yemen, which was a little slow at times, but helped me (as someone who was not fully aware of the tensions in the country) understand what was happening on the ground. An important read to learn more about what refugees go through! I won a copy in a giveaway -- and I'm so glad I did! This was a very well put together story of a refugee's experience in faith, friendship, and international affairs. There was a lot of explanation of the war in Yemen, which was a little slow at times, but helped me (as someone who was not fully aware of the tensions in the country) understand what was happening on the ground. An important read to learn more about what refugees go through!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caleigh Rutledge

    An important read for today's conflict in Yemen. 4 stars because the harrowing story is, I feel, just the beginning for this author's contribution to his country. I reviewed an early copy of this book as part of the TLC Book Tour - please find my full review available APRIL 17, 2018 at http://www.literaryquicksand.com/2018... An important read for today's conflict in Yemen. 4 stars because the harrowing story is, I feel, just the beginning for this author's contribution to his country. I reviewed an early copy of this book as part of the TLC Book Tour - please find my full review available APRIL 17, 2018 at http://www.literaryquicksand.com/2018...

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    3.5 stars. Nice message here about tolerance and that people are people are people regardless of their religious beliefs and their geographic location. I think the book was highly edited for an English speaking audience. The author's English is excellent but from the email excerpts provided within the book I don't see how he's fully responsible for the final product. (The Americanized writing was well above my ability but that bar is relatively low.) I didn't have any trouble with that but it stoo 3.5 stars. Nice message here about tolerance and that people are people are people regardless of their religious beliefs and their geographic location. I think the book was highly edited for an English speaking audience. The author's English is excellent but from the email excerpts provided within the book I don't see how he's fully responsible for the final product. (The Americanized writing was well above my ability but that bar is relatively low.) I didn't have any trouble with that but it stood out to me throughout. The stories feel honest and the author comes across as very likable. There are a fair amount of details relating to the author's attempt to leave Yemen during the civil war, not too many details, enough to give a robustness to the urgency of the situation. The exfiltration chapters got a little metaphor heavy but not enough to become a bad distraction.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

    Mohammad grew up in Yemen and was taught that Westerners and Jews were evil and an enemy to all Muslims. A college level course provided him a fateful interaction with a Western man that led to his continued education in other religions, cultures and nationalities. This is a moving memoir that not only details his scary situation as Yemen disintegrated into civil war but also the importance of making connections. A group of the connections and friendships that Mohammad forged during his NGO peac Mohammad grew up in Yemen and was taught that Westerners and Jews were evil and an enemy to all Muslims. A college level course provided him a fateful interaction with a Western man that led to his continued education in other religions, cultures and nationalities. This is a moving memoir that not only details his scary situation as Yemen disintegrated into civil war but also the importance of making connections. A group of the connections and friendships that Mohammad forged during his NGO peace work went to drastic lengths to help get him out Yemen. He is very honest about his experiences and the mistakes that he makes, which is at times frustrating, but at the same time very engaging. I received a digital ARC of this book through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liza Wiemer

    Outstanding!!! This memoir is being turned into a movie and I can't wait to see it play out on the big screen. Death to America Death to Jews Death to Israel These are some of the phrases Mohammed was used to hearing as he grew up in Yemen. But a series of events changed his perspective. And his life was saved by some wonderful young 20-something-year-old Jewish Americans in a harrowing tale that will keep you turning pages. A book like this reinforces what we all know—hatred has no place in this world Outstanding!!! This memoir is being turned into a movie and I can't wait to see it play out on the big screen. Death to America Death to Jews Death to Israel These are some of the phrases Mohammed was used to hearing as he grew up in Yemen. But a series of events changed his perspective. And his life was saved by some wonderful young 20-something-year-old Jewish Americans in a harrowing tale that will keep you turning pages. A book like this reinforces what we all know—hatred has no place in this world. Christians, Jews, and Muslims can find mutual respect and live in peace. If only... Mohammed dares to dream of a better world. He and his Jewish and Christian and fellow Muslim friends dare to make it happen. Highly recommend!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leslie's Bookcase

    I liked the story much more than actually reading the story, which got tedious at times. However the situations described in Yemen is valuable information, and this particular rescue heartening. I literally just read an article by Nicholas Kristof on this situation, which I urge you to read at this point, possibly instead of this book if reading this book is not in the cards for you: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/op... I liked the story much more than actually reading the story, which got tedious at times. However the situations described in Yemen is valuable information, and this particular rescue heartening. I literally just read an article by Nicholas Kristof on this situation, which I urge you to read at this point, possibly instead of this book if reading this book is not in the cards for you: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/op...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ankit Patel

    This book really helped me understand the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni civil war, both of which I embarrassingly knew little about. Mohammed's first hand account of his very dangerous involvement in peacekeeping and escape out of Yemen helps put a perspective on what individuals with less stable or oppressive societies have to endure. This book was a complete eye opener. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about the Middle-East , why refugees seek asylum, This book really helped me understand the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni civil war, both of which I embarrassingly knew little about. Mohammed's first hand account of his very dangerous involvement in peacekeeping and escape out of Yemen helps put a perspective on what individuals with less stable or oppressive societies have to endure. This book was a complete eye opener. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about the Middle-East , why refugees seek asylum, or just want to read a suspenseful thriller of sorts.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    This is a fabulous memoir. The author was raised in an educated, affluent family in Yemen. Despite this he was raised from an early age to hate Jews and to distrust all non Muslims. At 23 he accidentally read the old testament. This brought him to reassess his views and then to work with interfaith groups. When he brought the message to Yemen his life became endangered. Fortunately the interfaith friends he made came to his rescue. You can hear him interviewed below and it's delightful. https://w This is a fabulous memoir. The author was raised in an educated, affluent family in Yemen. Despite this he was raised from an early age to hate Jews and to distrust all non Muslims. At 23 he accidentally read the old testament. This brought him to reassess his views and then to work with interfaith groups. When he brought the message to Yemen his life became endangered. Fortunately the interfaith friends he made came to his rescue. You can hear him interviewed below and it's delightful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBcZI...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Hunt

    The Power of Many/ The Power of One A powerful memoir about the life of a refugee from Yemen, this book is filled with the details of life in another world... another religion. While I found it immersive, I read it in segments, because I felt the need to verify much of what I was reading about the specifics and details. It is all very well described, and seems to be the true experience of one man in the Arab world. But, naturally the time period was embroiled in much politics... all life is it se The Power of Many/ The Power of One A powerful memoir about the life of a refugee from Yemen, this book is filled with the details of life in another world... another religion. While I found it immersive, I read it in segments, because I felt the need to verify much of what I was reading about the specifics and details. It is all very well described, and seems to be the true experience of one man in the Arab world. But, naturally the time period was embroiled in much politics... all life is it seems. I think what most sets the reader aback is the fact that, like with any secret work or the life of government spies, for example, the author states clearly that he often found himself looking for the correct answer when being asked a question or interrogated. By correct answer, he was referring to the answers that would spare his life, rather than leave him on the wrong end of a gun. That's understandable. That is believable. But, naturally, you're left constantly wondering how much of his account was fact and how much was only 'safe answers.' That must be very difficult for a person. It was a stated part of his life for a number of years because he was doing dangerous work. But, the part that struck me most was that the people involved in his rescue, like himself, were just normal ordinary people. I chose this book for my stop in Yemen on my Journey Around the World for 2020, since it covers Djibouti a bit as well. It was quite informative about the Muslim lifestyle, and the politics of the Arab world, from a familial perspective. And, the author was physically handicapped, being maimed from childhood illness. It was a good read. At times, the writer attempts a poetry, that seems as if it could blossom into experienced writing. I would love to see more of his work in the future, if he continues to write. I think the book could be considered a niche read, but for my purposes was very impacting on my study of race, despite its simplicity. In a memoir, simple is probably most reliable anyways.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    3 1/2 stars. Interesting to see that what the author was taught about Christians and especially about Jews in his schooling in Yemen is the same as Ayaan Hirsi Ali reported about concerning Somalia, the same as Palestinian Media Watch reports about schools and media in the West Bank, and so on. This is something Americans are generally ignorant of, and need to know. However I found it difficult to maintain interest in the details of the author's social media contacts with interfaith individuals 3 1/2 stars. Interesting to see that what the author was taught about Christians and especially about Jews in his schooling in Yemen is the same as Ayaan Hirsi Ali reported about concerning Somalia, the same as Palestinian Media Watch reports about schools and media in the West Bank, and so on. This is something Americans are generally ignorant of, and need to know. However I found it difficult to maintain interest in the details of the author's social media contacts with interfaith individuals and groups, who fortunately came to his rescue, when his outreach to Jews and Christians endangered his life. Probably a generational thing...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gillian Morris

    I read this in less than 24 hours. A screenwriter couldn't have woven a more edge-of-your-seat thriller - and this actually happened. I was lucky enough to meet Mohammed soon after he made it to the US, but had no idea of the extent of what went on to make his escape possible. I finished the book with a richer picture of Yemen and the Middle East in general, but more importantly, with a profound sense of what extraordinary things can happen when people take a chance on someone. I read this in less than 24 hours. A screenwriter couldn't have woven a more edge-of-your-seat thriller - and this actually happened. I was lucky enough to meet Mohammed soon after he made it to the US, but had no idea of the extent of what went on to make his escape possible. I finished the book with a richer picture of Yemen and the Middle East in general, but more importantly, with a profound sense of what extraordinary things can happen when people take a chance on someone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    If I didn’t know this to be a true story, I would have thought it was a great novel by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Daniel Silva and other suspense writers I enjoy. The fact that this Mohammed al Samawi’s actual story makes it amazing. This should be a must read book for anyone interested in building cross cultural understanding. Mohammed’s story puts real people to the headlines of a story about which many Americans, I’d wager, know only the basic facts, if that.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "The Fox Hunt" is the story of Mohammed who dreams of making his home country of Yemen a better place where more young people can succeed and be safe. Yemen is embroiled in a brutal civil war where the lines between the various sides and outside influence from brutal terrorist groups are blurred. Mohammed finds himself in a situation where he needs to desperately get out of the country where there seems to be no clear exit. He will largely have to rely on fate and the kindness of almost stranger "The Fox Hunt" is the story of Mohammed who dreams of making his home country of Yemen a better place where more young people can succeed and be safe. Yemen is embroiled in a brutal civil war where the lines between the various sides and outside influence from brutal terrorist groups are blurred. Mohammed finds himself in a situation where he needs to desperately get out of the country where there seems to be no clear exit. He will largely have to rely on fate and the kindness of almost strangers to help him get out alive. This is a truly amazing story that often reads more like a thriller than a true story. Al Samawi spins a great yarn about what his country is facing and what he is facing as an individual. He is one of the lucky ones. There are so many others in his country that have been felled by the violence and never had the chance to even begin to think about escaping the violence. One thing that I kept thinking about throughout the book is how many other Mohammeds are there out there? Individuals with immense promise to make an impact that because of their circumstances are never given the chance to succeed. It's staggering to think about that! Even for an avid newshound like me, there is still so much that I don't know and am not tracking. The Yemen civil war is one of those subjects that I don't fully understand. This book dives into a little of the history to show how the country got to where it is and made it a lot clearer for me. It's a very sad situation that doesn't seem to be getting a lot of airtime in light of other things going on in other countries in the region. This is the perfect book to give you more background on the situation on Yemen as well as a harrowing escape story that ends with a lot of promise!

  22. 4 out of 5

    noushareads

    #MohammedAlSamawi is an earth-shattered memoir and I am greatly contented for having access to a book like this. I was absorbed reading Mohammed's story concerning how he escaped from Yemen during a horrible militiamen war between AQAP Sunnis and Houthis—it reads like a Thriller, which made me feel extremely anxious. My affection for this book is legitimately related to Mohammed's personal growth, to his awakening as it relates to breaking ignorant mindsets towards Westerns, Judaism and Christia #MohammedAlSamawi is an earth-shattered memoir and I am greatly contented for having access to a book like this. I was absorbed reading Mohammed's story concerning how he escaped from Yemen during a horrible militiamen war between AQAP Sunnis and Houthis—it reads like a Thriller, which made me feel extremely anxious. My affection for this book is legitimately related to Mohammed's personal growth, to his awakening as it relates to breaking ignorant mindsets towards Westerns, Judaism and Christianity. All his life, he was taught to hate everything not Arab, not Islam related, until he meets special activist folks who ended up being the ones responsible for saving him from the war in Yemen. It was beautiful to see his primary self-reflections and questionings about interfaith and its people until he finally understands that hate is the result of religious ignorance planted through degrading political aims. "The us-and-them dichotomy, the scaffolding of my moral convictions, was collapsed itself" is just one of several, several important statements that the author wrote. In addition to that, I had true sociological lessons not only about Yemen, but also about Saudi Arabia, Iran, US military weapons support to the Middle East, interfaith-activism, Islamic fundamentalism, you name it. Last, I am happy for getting to know this story not only for the activists, but most about Mohammed's capacity of questioning himself, which led him to love and to be free. I have met religious fundamentalists in my life and I know how difficult, almost impossible it can be to find an example of change like him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda C

    Mohammed Al Samawi is a Zaidi Muslim growing up in Sana'a, Yemen. He is handicapped in his right hand and leg and therefore has been the butt of bullying and has led a rather academic life. He has been taught that Jews and Christians are the enemy. At university he studies business and then in order to improve his English enters a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program. His teacher becomes a friend and gives him a Bible. He is amazed at the similarities between the holy books an Mohammed Al Samawi is a Zaidi Muslim growing up in Sana'a, Yemen. He is handicapped in his right hand and leg and therefore has been the butt of bullying and has led a rather academic life. He has been taught that Jews and Christians are the enemy. At university he studies business and then in order to improve his English enters a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program. His teacher becomes a friend and gives him a Bible. He is amazed at the similarities between the holy books and uses the internet to find out more becoming connected to people who are trying to establish understanding between the religious sects. He begins participating secretly and attends various conferences. However, his activity strains his home situation and puts his name out there as a threat to the establishment. When he gets death threats he moves to Aden, Yemen to protect his family, but ends up in the middle of a war zone. The second half of the book covers his connection to his international friends and their efforts to get him out of Yemen. This taught me a lot about the history of Yemen and its situation on today's political scene. Suspenseful and informative.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie Peach

    Mohammed Al Samawi's journey as a refugee is a powerful lesson that shows us what can happen when people work together to help someone in need. Many of the people who helped Mohammed leave Yemen were only acquaintances but felt that they needed to help him. Mohammed worked for NGOs in Yemen and had a passion for interfaith dialogue. Mohammed grew up with a hatred towards non-Muslims, but was given a Bible by his English teacher and quickly became interested in the similarities between Islam, Jud Mohammed Al Samawi's journey as a refugee is a powerful lesson that shows us what can happen when people work together to help someone in need. Many of the people who helped Mohammed leave Yemen were only acquaintances but felt that they needed to help him. Mohammed worked for NGOs in Yemen and had a passion for interfaith dialogue. Mohammed grew up with a hatred towards non-Muslims, but was given a Bible by his English teacher and quickly became interested in the similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and began to work with other young interfaith leaders around the world. I am in awe of this story. Mohammed grew so much and impacted so many people and the people who helped someone they hardly knew were absolutely inspiring. At the end of the book, Mohammed calls on us all to act when crises like the Yemeni Civil War occur. It is on us to prevent these crises and help our fellow human beings when they are in need.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Shedd

    Great book, and good lessons to all of us to do what we can to help others in difficult situations. Also one of the first times that I've ever admitted there may be some value to social media. But at the same time, one could argue that social media posts may have been a reason for some of his troubles to begin with. Great book, and good lessons to all of us to do what we can to help others in difficult situations. Also one of the first times that I've ever admitted there may be some value to social media. But at the same time, one could argue that social media posts may have been a reason for some of his troubles to begin with.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    "An army of hate is being raised across the Middle East. I believe that an army of understanding and action can take on that army and defeat it. I'm a living example of the power of human connection." (p. 307) "An army of hate is being raised across the Middle East. I believe that an army of understanding and action can take on that army and defeat it. I'm a living example of the power of human connection." (p. 307)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Constance

    3 and 1/2 stars. Very interesting for me, particularly the beginning. It did get tedious in the details in the latter half that wasn’t necessary even to appreciate his ordeal.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Disappointing memoir. It’s basically a blow by blow account of a man escaping Yemen like playing a video game. There’s a much better story here but it’s horribly written and unfeeling. The war in Yemen is terrible and I’m glad he got out. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book however.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Amazing true story of rescue from the most unlikely places. So crazy to think about how many assumptions we still have about others until they are put to the test. Very inspiring tale of peace and triumph.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I have really struggled with the rating and review for this book. The literary market has been flooded with memoirs for the last few decades, and sometimes it's difficult to separate the ones with value from the masses. Sometimes I find a memoir that is both badly written and without a real story. Many times the author has very little to say but says it in such an interesting or funny way that I'm engaged nonetheless. Other times, as with this book, I find a story that demands to be told in the I have really struggled with the rating and review for this book. The literary market has been flooded with memoirs for the last few decades, and sometimes it's difficult to separate the ones with value from the masses. Sometimes I find a memoir that is both badly written and without a real story. Many times the author has very little to say but says it in such an interesting or funny way that I'm engaged nonetheless. Other times, as with this book, I find a story that demands to be told in the hands of someone who does not tell it well. These are the most frustrating ones. Mohammed al Samawi's story should be harrowing, tense, thrilling, and, ultimately, joyful. However, the writing is so bogged down with minutiae that it is nearly impossible to keep the energy going from one page to the next. Al Samawi will begin a passage that is fraught with tension, and has you on the edge of your seat. But, little by little, the tension ebbs away as he endlessly describes the process of sending e-mails, text messages, writing letters, finding a charger for his phone, etc. By the time he escapes from the particular threat he was facing you are no longer hanging on every word. In the hands of a seasoned writer this story could have been incredible. I wish someone had co-authored this book. I think it would have really benefited from the presence of a professional. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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