The Tightening Dark: An American Hostage in Yemen

Twelve. Jul. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780306922718. $28. POL SCI
The heart of Farran’s memoir, reflected in the subtitle, is the brutal months of imprisonment by Houthi rebels in Yemen where he suffered repeated beatings, pain and deprivation, and mental distress. As a Lebanese American man with decades of service in the Marines, Farran prided himself on his toughness and ingenuity, and his knowledge of Arab culture and the tribal and religious factions in Yemen. But he needed outside intervention, and luck, in order to achieve freedom. 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.
VERDICT 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.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing