The New York Review of Books, by Joshua Hammer, March 10, 2011
“Beyond the human drama of Rohde’s experience as a hostage – the tedium broken by moments of terror, the alternating cruelty and compassion of his captors – the book is valuable for the inside knowledge Rohde obtained about the Afghan region.”
The Christian Science Monitor, by Jackson Holohan, January 11, 2011
The dual story is the gem of this work.
The Roanoke Times, by Jeff DeBell, January 9, 2011
“A Rope and a Prayer” is a deserving addition to the growing stack of books about the people, politics and seemingly endless strife of Afghanistan and its neighbors. But it is the very human story of Kristen Mulvihill that separates this one from the rest.
Editors’ Choice, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, January 2, 2011
The New York Times Sunday Book Review, by Doug Stanton, December 26, 2010
Rohde and Mulvihill have written a book that is as much about work and marriage, and a clash between one’s private dreams and public responsibilities, as it is about the world’s most pressing geo political problems… the inclusion of both points of view is a master stroke, making the book a love story as well as a political drama… “A Rope and a Prayer” should be required reading for anyone who is a fan of Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars,” Rory Stewart’s “Places In Between” or Ahmed Rashid’s “Taliban” — that is, for anyone who wants to understand the complicated relationships among the Taliban, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.
A Daily Beast Favorite Book of the Year, Eliza Griswold, December 20, 2010
David Rohde and Kristin Mulvilhill’s “A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides” is the singular and harrowing account of a journalist’s captivity in the most important place on earth, and what it means to be the one left behind.
The Boston Globe Review by David Shribman, December 19, 2010
Like most accounts of these sorts of episodes, this is really about fear — his that he might miscalculate his captors’ intentions, that he might inadvertently insult or provoke them, that he was caught in a political drama too big for his life to matter, and hers that she might miss a phone call, that she’d make a mistake by going to Afghanistan, that she might make a bigger one by not going, that her husband would be killed by friendly fire… Smart, deep thoughts, won at very high cost.
A Washington Post Best Nonfiction Book of 2010, December 10, 2010
Rohde and his wife, Mulvihill, alternate chapters in this harrowing account of his kidnapping by the Taliban, delivering an important and valuable story of love, faith and courage. - Philip Caputo
The Washington Post Book World, by Philip Caputo, December 10, 2010
Reunited with his wife, Rohde tells her, “Your God helped me through this experience.” That statement isn’t a ringing endorsement of the power of prayer, yet it sums up a spiritual journey that places this book in the tradition of early American captivity narratives… There are differences, of course. Although Rohde doesn’t flinch from showing his captors’ cruelty, he doesn’t demonize them. And the sin for which he’s punished isn’t breaking a biblical commandment, it’s the excessive ambition that leads him to make a rash decision. Nevertheless, in the crisis of captivity, he realizes that belief in a higher power is not irrational… this is an important and valuable story of love, faith and courage.
Time Magazine, December 1, 2010
Vivid… packed with suspense and betrayal… [a] page-turning drama of survival and escape… a fine read.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 28, 2010
Some of the best moments in the book are Mulvihill’s discussions of juxtaposing her day job coordinating celebrity photo shoots and her phone calls with security experts and, sometimes, the kidnappers or their envoys. In one scene, Mulvihill has just hung up on a security adviser who told her Rohde may not be released for four more months. Soon after, she gets a call from someone onsite at a photo shoot. She writes: “Lunch has arrived. Shrimp. And the publicist has neglected to tell us the actress is allergic to shellfish. What should the crew do? I suggest ordering extra sandwiches. They inform me the water for the tea is cold. You’ve got to be kidding me, I think… Given the fact that someone surrounding David’s case may have been shot and that I should expect to face the cold winter months without my husband, I find it impossible to care.”
Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 2010
Their book is the touching tale of two latecomers to marriage who rely on love, prayer, and quotidian memories to survive their separation. Though the outcome is never in doubt, A Rope and a Prayer is an absorbing read filled with wonderful details and high irony.
Town & Country: The Season’s Best Books, December 2010
Alternately told from Rohde’s and Mulvihill’s perspectives, A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides (Viking) is part love story, part thriller, part war story – and a mesmerizing read.
Foreign Affairs, November 1, 2010, Joint Review of A Rope and a Prayer, My Life with the Taliban by Abdul Salam Zaeef, and Captive by Jere Van Dyk.
…The younger generation — the militants who held and tormented Van Dyk and Rohde — are wilder and harder: criminals and aspiring suicide bombers in love with death. The kidnapping narratives show that outsiders’ categories of Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban, and foreign jihadists hardly matter in the Hindu Kush. Whatever the future of Afghanistan, a deal with the Taliban will make life a nightmare for anyone who falls under their power.
John Searles’ “Eight Great Picks for the Fall,” Today Show, Oct. 24, 2010
In this memoir, they tell the story from both their sides. From the moment David is first captured and the moment Kristen first learns of what happened and all through her efforts to free him until finally he makes a daring and unbelievable escape. The book is riveting.
Publishers Weekly, October 11, 2010
Possibly the most informative segments of the book are the masterly observations of life with the jihadists, the chaotic Pakistani tribal areas and the topsy-turvy war itself. This potent story of love and conflict ends well, but not without making some smart and edgy commentary on terrorism, hostage negotiation, political agendas, and the human heart.
Kirkus Reviews, August 24, 2010
A painstakingly reconstructed, harrowing account by a seasoned expert in the region.