Book Groups

HPL Book Group

I was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet
Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00

In January we will be meeting virtually on Zoom. Please register here for the Zoom link.

The HPL Book Club is a friendly group of library patrons and bibliophiles which has been meeting regularly for over ten years. We average 15-20 members each meeting and are always happy to see new faces! Our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at 7pm, and we alternate between fiction and non-fiction titles -- suggestions always welcome! Whether you're someone who wants to meet regularly or just pop in when a title piques your interest, you'll always be welcome in the HPL Book Club.

Copies of the book are available to pick up at the Reference desk starting around the first of the month.

About the Book:

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.

I was told to come alone book cover