I Was Told to Come Alone

I Was Told to Come Alone

My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"I was told to come alone. I was not to carry any identification, and would have to leave my cell phone, audio recorder, watch, and purse at my hotel. . . ."

For her whole life, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for The Washington Post who was born and educated in Germany, has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing - Muslim and Western. She has also sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures, which too often misunderstand each other.

In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner "Jihadi John," and then in France, Belgium, and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization.

Mekhennet's background has given her unique access to some of the world's most wanted men, who generally refuse to speak to Western journalists. She is not afraid to face personal danger to reach out to individuals in the inner circles of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and their affiliates; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination.

Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines, as she shares her transformative journey with us. Hers is a story you will not soon forget.

Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781627798976
Characteristics: x, 354 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

It’s a good read. My criticism with it is that Mekhennet doesn’t really explain, or attempt to, how it is that these poor young Muslim men and women from Brussels, Algers and other points of the compass can find and fund their way to far off battle zones. She tries to clean it up at the very end by saying that the U.S. and its Gulf allies made a devil’s bargain in creating these networks to fight the Soviet Union. But then in the next line she creates a false equivalence by saying Iran does the same thing by sending militias to Iraq and Syria. But Iran sending fighters to Iraq and Syria is at the invitation of the internationally recognized states themselves. Then there’s Mekhennet’s unsettling criticism of the Shia opposition in Bahrain for its ties to Iran and its refusal to disavow violence without more than a parenthetical mention of the widespread use of torture by Bahraini security forces during the height of the Pearl uprising.

Jan 14, 2018

Brilliantly written , reads like a page turner. Extremely relevant and insightful in the various issues that plague us as a society

Dec 30, 2017

An extremely relevant, topical, insightful memoir by an outstandingly discerning, objective, thought-provoking and courageous journalist that reads like a novel. A must read by anyone interested in Jihadism and its global impact on Islam and the West.

Dec 02, 2017

A remarkable book by a woman who has packed a lot of living into 40 years. It shed a lot of light on the problems of the Middle East.

Nov 03, 2017

This is an absolute must read if one wants to gainsome understanding of radical Islamist terror activities of the last 20 years or so. In addition to being very informative, it is also very readable. Very highly recommended.

Oct 26, 2017

A must read for anyone interested in today's terrorism problems. A very thoughtful and thought provoking book.

Aug 14, 2017

WOW. This author has taken so many risks in order that she and her readers will understand why the hatred of the West and Shiaa vs. Sunni and immigrant vs non-immigrant that she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. Her observations which come from her discussions with many people, young and old, secular and religious, and all the ones I mentioned above.

She has really opened my eyes and explained why the terrorism, the hatred, what we do here in the U.S. that leaves us open to this hatred. I hope many, many people read this, it is actually a pretty fast read and one that is very worthwhile.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MPL

To Top