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An Evil Cradling: The Five-Year Ordeal of a Hostage

An Evil Cradling: The Five-Year Ordeal of a Hostage

Author(s): Brian Keenan

Location(s): Beirut

Genre(s): Autobiography/Memoirs

Era(s): 1980s

When Brian Keenan went to Beirut in 1980 for a change from his native Belfast, he became front-page news when he was kidnapped by fundamentalist Shi’ite militiamen and held in the suburb of Beirut for the next four and a half years. For much of that time he was shut off from all news and contact with anyone other than his jailers and, later, his fellow hostages, among them British journalist John McCarthy. Cited by The London Times as “a masterful chronicle of courage and resourcefulness,” An Evil Cradling eloquently tells us how, in the most inhumane of circumstances, men grow and deepen in humanity. Keenan, subjected to brutal and dehumanizing treatment, survives through sheer force of will, stubbornness, and occasionally, humor. He emerged from this compression chamber of isolation with a rare gift intact. In this book, he uses that gift to explore the “evil cradling” of secret captivity with ruthless insight, honesty, and poetry. The claustrophobia of the hostage, the frustration and helplessness of undergoing a sentence without term or reason, is described here in ways the reader is unlikely to forget. Brian Keenan’s openness and integrity captured the hearts of millions of people after his release, but it is the mark of his unique talent as a writer that he is unwilling merely to be the ex-hostage, the man who has suffered on our behalf. He has succeeded in making the emptiness of imprisonment speak with compassion and dignity

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