Farran, along with co-author Buchholz, writes clearly and vividly, contrasting helplessness in the hands of vicious and determined captors with his successful life from a stable immigrant community. Through his personal experience, he provides insights into U.S. military and political goals and frustrations in the Middle East. Farran juxtaposes his professional achievements (in the military, government service, and business) with the despair of his imprisonment, and conveys his pride in his identity as a loyal American who maintained his connection to Lebanese culture ... Highly recommended. A fast-paced and engaging life story that provides insights on life in rural Lebanon, Farrar’s Lebanese American community, and his challenging career in government and business. It also conveys his understanding of the cultural and political tensions in Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.
Although Farran’s prison narrative, coauthored with diplomat and writer Buchholz, has a long fuse—the first two-thirds of the book are mostly backstory—it offers an interesting glimpse into Farran’s bifurcated identity.
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.