In this gripping blend of reportage, memoir, and analysis, a journalist and daughter of one of the world’s most famous hostages, Terry Anderson, takes an intimate look at her father’s captivity during the Lebanese Hostage Crisis and the ensuing political firestorm on both her family and the United States—as well as the far-reaching implications of those events on Middle Eastern politics today.
In 1991, seven-year-old Sulome Anderson met her father, Terry, for the first time. While working as the Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press covering the long and bloody civil war in Lebanon, Terry had been kidnapped in Beirut and held for more than six years by a Shiite Muslim militia associated by most with the Hezbollah movement.
As the nation celebrated, the media captured a smiling Anderson family joyously reunited. But the truth was far darker. Plagued by PTSD, Terry was a moody, aloof, and distant figure to the young daughter who had long dreamed of his return—and while she smiled for the cameras all the same, she absorbed his trauma as her own.
Years later, after long battles with drug abuse and mental illness, Sulome would travel to the Middle East as a reporter, seeking to understand her father, the men who had kidnapped him, and ultimately, herself. What she discovered was shocking—not just about Terry, but about the international political machinations that occurred during the years of his captivity.
The Hostage’s Daughter is an intimate look at the effect of the Lebanese Hostage Crisis on Anderson’s family, the United States, and the Middle East today. Sulome tells moving stories from her experiences as a reporter in the region and challenges our understanding of global politics, the forces that spawn terrorism and especially Lebanon, the beautiful, devastated, and vitally important country she came to love. Powerful and eye-opening The Hostage’s Daughter is essential reading for anyone interested in international relations, this violent, haunted region, and America's role in its fate.
Journalist Anderson sets out to learn the truth about the 1985 kidnapping of her father, Terry Anderson, who was held captive for six years by the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), an event that defined her life and impaired their relationship. She sets out to learn about the men who took her father and "how a person becomes a terrorist." The resulting journey is a perilous and riveting spiral into Middle Eastern politics, exploring the dawn of the terrorist era in Beirut. At the center of her story is the question of Hezbollah's complicity and the possibility of an IJO double agent dealing secretly with Israel. She speaks with U.S. counterterrorism experts Barbara Bodine and Robert Oakley, an infamous former plane hijacker, and her father's fellow kidnappee Terry Waite, before coming face-to-face with someone uniquely qualified to answer her questions and provide the closure she so desperately seeks. Anderson intersperses her personal story, meeting her father for the first time at age seven, through a host of personal crises, and the redemptive powers she found in her chosen career. Through these dual narratives, Anderson creates a compelling depiction of the collateral damage of terrorism and a remarkable piece of investigative journalism with a surprise twist. Though we never get a full picture of her strained relationship with her father, that may be the point there isn't much to tell.