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The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

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WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story. Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becomi WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story. Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon. On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia's brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade. Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety. Today, Nadia's story--as a witness to the Islamic State's brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi--has forced the world to pay attention to an ongoing genocide. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.


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WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story. Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becomi WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story. Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon. On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia's brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade. Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety. Today, Nadia's story--as a witness to the Islamic State's brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi--has forced the world to pay attention to an ongoing genocide. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.

30 review for The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    This is a 10-star book written by a very brave young woman persecuted by ISIS, both the men and the women. I wish her health, happiness and peace of mind for the rest of her life. I had wanted to expand my notes on reading to a proper review, but there are many, so I just wanted to highlight a few areas: I don't understand how ISIS can use Yazidi women they capture as sex slaves when although their ISIS interpretation of the Q'uran says that unbeliever (kuffar) women can be used as such, but not This is a 10-star book written by a very brave young woman persecuted by ISIS, both the men and the women. I wish her health, happiness and peace of mind for the rest of her life. I had wanted to expand my notes on reading to a proper review, but there are many, so I just wanted to highlight a few areas: I don't understand how ISIS can use Yazidi women they capture as sex slaves when although their ISIS interpretation of the Q'uran says that unbeliever (kuffar) women can be used as such, but not Muslim ones, and they forcibly convert them first. If they are converted to Islam, how can they be called 'sabiya' (sex slaves) and raped and sold by many men, sometimes repeatedly in a day? I also wanted to share this about illegal immigrants into Europe pretending to be refugees when they are really economic migrants. I didn't realise the system was so simple from the illegal immigrant side and how easily duped the European Immigration services were. There is no thought whatsoever to try to emigrate legally, it doesn't even occur to them apparently. "Other than Jilan [the girl he loved], he felt like there was nothing for him at home, and since he couldn’t have her, he didn’t see the point of staying. When a few other men in the village decided they would try to make their way to Germany, where a small number of Yazidis already lived, Hezni decided to join them. We all cried while he packed his bag. I felt terrible about him leaving; I couldn’t imagine home without any of my brothers. Before he left, Hezni invited Jilan to a wedding outside Kocho, where they could talk without the locals whispering. She arrived and separated herself from the crowd, finding him. He still remembers that she wore white. “I’ll be back in two or three years,” he told her. “We’ll have enough money to start a life.” Then, a few days before we were to start one of our two yearly fasts, Hezni and the other men left Kocho. First, they crossed the northern Iraqi border on foot into Turkey, where they slowly made their way to Istanbul. Once there, they paid a smuggler to take them in the back of a tractor trailer into Greece. The smuggler told them to tell the border guards that they were Palestinian. “If they know you’re Iraqi, they will arrest you,” he said, and then he closed the doors to the truck and drove across the border." Easy eh? _________________ ISIS idea of 'morality' stinks, not just this sex slave thing, but the Christian and Yazidi thing too. I cannot understand why anyone would support such a corrupt and murderous regime, especially women. "After ISIS arrived, many Christians said that soon there would not be a single one of them left in all Iraq. When ISIS came to Kocho, though, I felt envy for the Christians. In their villages, they had been warned that ISIS was coming. Because, according to ISIS, they were “people of the book” and not kuffar like us, they had been able to take their children, their daughters, to safety in Kurdistan, and, in Syria, some had been able to pay a fine rather than convert. Even those who had been expelled from Mosul without anything at least had been spared enslavement. Yazidis had not been given the same chance." After the establishment of Israel, many Jews were deprived of their property and expelled from Arab lands, others fled. Is this to be the fate of the Christians too? Is it to be as equally unknown as the Jews? I think so, it is already happening. (view spoiler)[Please do not write pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli stuff in comments or fake friend requests if you have to hide behind anonymity. This is not about that situation and in any case I am not anti Palestinian. If anything, I'm anti-religion especially those that suppress women. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaidee

    4.5 "harrowing, dignified, unfathomable" stars !! 2018 Honorable Mention Read. Nadia Murad's story is not unusual and in many parts of the world is quite common. Most of us here in the West and much of Europe are currently cocooned from the ATROCITIES that occur daily in our world. We complain about the price of hydro, extramarital affairs, ADHD treatments and poor service in the restaurant. In fact, in a funny way, this helps us survive and live life day to day. However, it does not help much of 4.5 "harrowing, dignified, unfathomable" stars !! 2018 Honorable Mention Read. Nadia Murad's story is not unusual and in many parts of the world is quite common. Most of us here in the West and much of Europe are currently cocooned from the ATROCITIES that occur daily in our world. We complain about the price of hydro, extramarital affairs, ADHD treatments and poor service in the restaurant. In fact, in a funny way, this helps us survive and live life day to day. However, it does not help much of the world that is not only being oppressed but assaulted, tortured, killed, raped, maimed. Most of us have not experienced seeing most of our family shot dead, our homes purposefully burned, our bodies being violated frequently and violently. Being treated like a slave, dehumanized, mocked, our souls stomped on. Nadia Murad was raised in a village in Northern Iraq near Mount Sinjar. She had a very poor but happy childhood with many siblings and half-siblings and a fierce and loving mother that did her best to provide for her children after her husband favored another wife and spent most of his attention and love on that family. Nadia is a Yazidi, a small nation of people that follow a faith that originated in the 12th century. For many centuries they have lived an uneasy peace with their Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim neighbours. The Kurdish people have been mostly protective of them and in fact have tried to help them to a great degree by this recent genocide by the ISIS group that is fighting in Northern Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan. Nadia Murad describes in the first part of the book what it means to be Yazidi. She describes the social structure, normative rules, the deep faith and living in harmony with the land and each other. Although a very patriarchal system, the women are treated with respect and love although holding much less power than the men. Nadia loves make-up, hair, her mother, her brothers. She is simple and caring but also fiery and protective. She is intensely likable and you want to teach her how to jump rope and laugh at her silly jokes. Nadia Murad and her family lived in false hope that ISIS would leave their poor little village alone. They were not prepared for the extermination of all the men, the kidnapping of the boys trained to be human shields in the fundamentalist war. The girls and women are passed around and treated like sex slaves and assaulted physically, emotionally and sexually over and over and over again. Nadia Murad goes into detail about her time in captivity and her escape and finally into her life's work as a human rights activist and raising awareness of the recent genocide of the Yazidi people. Nadia Murad survived but just barely. Most of her large family was killed, maimed or brainwashed. I am immensely impressed how Nadia Murad deeply knows her worth as a woman, as a human and as a devout Yazidi. She is able to express her feelings as they occur and feels no shame for her rage and does not feel heroic or martyrlike despite her horrendous suffering. This is an incredibly difficult read even for me who for a number of years worked intensely with a small group of individuals who were victims of torture in a number of totalitarian regimes throughout the world. We need to be more aware of not just of the Yazidis but other groups of people that are being tortured and annhilated throughout our world. I am loath to say this but we are the most destructive and cruel species in God's beautiful world. Ms. Murad -thank you for sharing your pain, your narrative and letting the rest of the world know what is happening to your nation and faith. For more information on the Yazidi situation please visit the organization Ms. Murad currently works for https://www.yazda.org

  3. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Q: More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine. (c) Horror fic writers have nothing on our contemporaries. This is a story to illustrate it: a story of a girl who went through true horrors and miraculously lived to tell us about it. We are supposed to be living in an enlightened and modern and advanced and educated and informed world. And... it all amounts to nothing, since most vulnerable people out there remain just that, vulnerable, and fall v Q: More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine. (c) Horror fic writers have nothing on our contemporaries. This is a story to illustrate it: a story of a girl who went through true horrors and miraculously lived to tell us about it. We are supposed to be living in an enlightened and modern and advanced and educated and informed world. And... it all amounts to nothing, since most vulnerable people out there remain just that, vulnerable, and fall victims while we go on thinking just how great our modernity is. Newsflash: it isn't. It isn't even all that modern, since in this book we can get a tiny and very redacted and sanitised glimpse of horrors, very ancient ones at that. Instead, it's plain scary that our supposedly postindustrial and humanistic and diverse and democratic and altogether oh-so-very-enlightened world has allowed such thing from hell as DAESH to happen to our contemporaries. Including young and defenceless girls who have pretty much nowhere to run. Like Nadia. And the DAESH surely didn't rise from some God-cursed sand in some God-forgotten desert, on their God-forsaken own. I'm not naive enough to believe that. There's no Petri dish anywhere, which would produce grown religious fanatic fighters on its own, without any external input. And the religion is probably only one of the ingredients here, since, well, many people of Islam are peaceful. Seriously, someone somewhere obviously believes it worthwhile to pay for DAESH weapons, to teach them to fight, maybe even to fight alongside them. Of-freaking-course, what ever could go wrong with a bunch of armed militants going around, running slave markets, casually killing and otherwise 'conquering' women, children, mature people and everyone else? Otherwise, these SOBs would've already long since ran out of resources, since they don't do much business or, say, agriculture or create modern weapons or do pretty much anything that could have kept them supplied with weaponry they rely upon. So, WHAT. THE. HELL. This world must be sick. The language of writing is simple and unaffected which makes the tale even more touching and heartbreaking. This book can be split into the BEFORE and the AFTER. Such a loving and tranquille and even a bit bucolic setting of the life BEFORE (however hard it was, one can feel the author's nostalgia for what once was and what cannot be recreated AFTER) against the crescendo of sorrow and pain and hurt and all the horror of the AFTER. Our world should not contain such AFTERs. We should not allow such things to happen on our planet. This book should make us all angry and full of shame that we stand and watch genocide and worse, much WORSE, unthinkably WORTH and do nothing or extremely little. I don't think many of us can even begine to imagine the depth of horror that has happened to all these victims. Even after reading this book, I don't expect we still could be able to understand it all. One can only hope that this mission and support and faith and God will help Nadia and give her strength to continue in this uneven struggle and maybe, just maybe, there will eventually be the ultimate last girl to have endured such dreadful horrors. PS. Some fellow readers are feeling it their civic duty to inform me that DAESH is an Islamic group. While I know that, I also have read the book and paid close attention to the author's take on religion. Nadia is very cautious about her views on Islam and makes it clear that her village has had lots of peaceful interaction with Muslims. And while not one of them (or of anyone else!) came forward to help her fellow villagers in the time of dire need, and while the religion is obviously a sore point for most sides involved in this horrible crisis, Nadia is very gracious about Islam. And I respect this point of view and I don't particularly care about religious hate comments/messages. The author, even after all the torments, understands that this war is not exactly about religion but rather of a perversity of it, and that anything can be distorted into horror, if someone applies to it. If Nadia can be this gracious, the commentators are advised to do their own work on their own empathy somewhere in private! Q: Our faith is in our actions. (c) Q: It was a simple, hidden life. (c) Q: “I don’t know why God spared me,” he said. “But I know I need to use my life for good.” (c) Q: The slave market opened at night. (c) Q: Along with the farmers, the kidnappers took a hen and a handful of her chicks, which confused us. “Maybe they were just hungry,” we said to one another, although that did nothing to calm us down. (c) Q: As lucky as I am to be safe in Germany, I can’t help but envy those who stayed behind in Iraq. My siblings are closer to home, eating the Iraqi food I miss so much and living next to people they know, not strangers. If they go to town, they can speak to shopkeepers and minivan drivers in Kurdish. When the peshmerga allow us into Solagh, they will be able to visit my mother’s grave. We call one another on the phone and leave messages all day. Hezni tells me about his work helping girls escape, and Adkee tells me about life in the camp. Most of the stories are bitter and sad, but sometimes my lively sister makes me laugh so hard that I roll off my couch. I ache for Iraq. (c) Q: Yazidism is an ancient monotheistic religion, spread orally by holy men entrusted with our stories. Although it has elements in common with the many religions of the Middle East, from Mithraism and Zoroastrianism to Islam and Judaism, it is truly unique and can be difficult even for the holy men who memorize our stories to explain. I think of my religion as being an ancient tree with thousands of rings, each telling a story in the long history of Yazidis. Many of those stories, sadly, are tragedies. (c) Q: There are so many things that remind me of my mother. The color white. A good and perhaps inappropriate joke. A peacock, which Yazidis consider a holy symbol, and the short prayers I say in my head when I see a picture of the bird. (c) Q: Yazidis believe that before God made man, he created seven divine beings, often called angels, who were manifestations of himself. After forming the universe from the pieces of a broken pearl-like sphere, God sent his chief Angel, Tawusi Melek, to earth, where he took the form of a peacock and painted the world the bright colors of his feathers. (c) Q: This is the worst lie told about Yazidis, but it is not the only one. People say that Yazidism isn’t a “real” religion because we have no official book like the Bible or the Koran. Because some of us don’t shower on Wednesdays—the day that Tawusi Melek first came to earth, and our day of rest and prayer—they say we are dirty. Because we pray toward the sun, we are called pagans. Our belief in reincarnation, which helps us cope with death and keep our community together, is rejected by Muslims because none of the Abrahamic faiths believe in it. Some Yazidis avoid certain foods, like lettuce, and are mocked for their strange habits. Others don’t wear blue because they see it as the color of Tawusi Melek and too holy for a human, and even that choice is ridiculed. (с) Q: We treat happiness like a thief we have to guard against, knowing how easily it could wipe away the memory of our lost loved ones or leave us exposed in a moment of joy when we should be sad, so we limit our distractions. (c) Q: We treat happiness like a thief we have to guard against, knowing how easily it could wipe away the memory of our lost loved ones or leave us exposed in a moment of joy when we should be sad, so we limit our distractions. (c) Q: April is the month that holds the promise of a big profitable harvest and leads us into months spent outdoors, sleeping on rooftops, freed from our cold, overcrowded houses. Yazidis are connected to nature. It feeds us and shelters us, and when we die, our bodies become the earth. Our New Year reminds us of this. (c) Q: It took a long time before I accepted that just because I didn’t fight back the way some other girls did, it doesn’t mean I approved of what the men were doing. (c) Q: Before ISIS came, I considered myself a brave and honest person. Whatever problems I had, whatever mistakes I made, I would confess them to my family. I told them, “This is who I am,” and I was ready to accept their reactions. As long as I was with my family, I could face anything. But without my family, captive in Mosul, I felt so alone that I barely felt human. Something inside me died. (c) Q: Every second with ISIS was part of a slow, painful death—of the body and the soul—and that moment ... was the moment I started dying. (c) Q: We were no longer human beings—we were sabaya. (c) Q: ... although I stayed quiet, fully believing Abu Batat would kill me if I lashed out again, inside my head I never stopped screaming. (c) Q: “And so God turned them into stars.” On the bus, I started praying, too. “Please, God, turn me into a star so that I can be up in the sky above this bus,” I whispered. “If you did it once, you can do it again.” But we just kept driving toward Mosul. (c) Q: II was quickly learning that my story, which I still thought of as a personal tragedy, could be someone else’s political tool, particularly in a place like Iraq. I would have to be careful what I said, because words mean different things to different people, and your story can easily become a weapon to be turned on you. (c) Q: “Be patient,” she told me. “Hopefully everyone you love will come back. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” (c) Q: “We are surrounded on three sides by Daesh!” ... But Kocho was a proud village. We didn’t want to abandon everything we had worked for—the concrete homes families had spent their entire lives saving for, the schools, the massive flocks of sheep, the rooms where our babies were born. (c) Q: I cried for Kathrine and Walaa and my sisters who were still in captivity. I cried because I had made it out and didn’t think that I deserved to be so lucky; then again, I wasn’t sure I was lucky at all. (c) Q: “I used to think that what happened to my sons was the worst thing a mother could bear,” she said. “I wished all the time for them to be alive again. But I am glad they didn’t live to see what happened to us in Sinjar.” She straightened her white scarf over what remained of her hair. “God willing, your mother will come back to you one day,” she said. “Leave everything to God. We Yazidis don’t have anyone or anything except God.” (c) Q: Justice is all Yazidis have now ... (c)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it. When I tell someone about the checkpoint where the men raped me, or the feeling of Hajji Salman’s whip across the blanket as I lay under it, or the darkening Mosul sky while I search the neighborhood for some sign of help, I am transported back to those moments and all their terror. Other Yazidis are pulled back into these memories, too. Sometimes even the Yazda members who have listened to my story countless times “It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it. When I tell someone about the checkpoint where the men raped me, or the feeling of Hajji Salman’s whip across the blanket as I lay under it, or the darkening Mosul sky while I search the neighborhood for some sign of help, I am transported back to those moments and all their terror. Other Yazidis are pulled back into these memories, too. Sometimes even the Yazda members who have listened to my story countless times weep when I tell it; it’s their story, too”. Nadia Murad - lost her mother and 6 brothers - was an Isis sex slave - she escaped years of living hell in 2015 became a refugee in Germany - As a spokesperson.. she said: “my story is the best weapon I have against terrorism”. Reading Nadia’s story is grueling and excruciating. World thanks to Nadia for her bravery and service ... as a human rights activist. Her voice is being heard. Bless this woman for the difference she is making. (When at times she would have preferred to just crawl in a hole and die). This true story is absolutely horrific - - devastating - sad - sad - makes you so goddamn angry.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    You should read this book. Not because you'll enjoy it, it's not a book meant for enjoying. In fact, parts of it, you most certainly will not enjoy. You will be upset. You will be horrified. You may need to take a minute to emotionally recoup. But this is important, y'all. It's important because, in places like where I live, we tend to act as though genocide and slavery are things of the past. We blithely go through life as though those sorts of atrocities are part of a distant and shameful past You should read this book. Not because you'll enjoy it, it's not a book meant for enjoying. In fact, parts of it, you most certainly will not enjoy. You will be upset. You will be horrified. You may need to take a minute to emotionally recoup. But this is important, y'all. It's important because, in places like where I live, we tend to act as though genocide and slavery are things of the past. We blithely go through life as though those sorts of atrocities are part of a distant and shameful past not the harsh reality of people alive today. It's important because, here in America, a lot of folks perceive Iraq as being ISIS, as being the enemy, as being a country of terrorists. We fail to understand that many Iraqis are victims trapped by and subjected to the cruelty of ISIS, living daily in fear for their lives and their families lives. It's important because Ms. Murad is willing to bare herself before all of us, to relive her personal nightmare again and again, in the hope that we will act to give her and her people justice. We're fortunate here. We have a voice. We have the ability to speak up and out to our leadership. Please read this. Please speak up about it. Please do what you can to aid the Yazidi. You can take a look at the Yazda website for more information: https://www.yazda.org/about-us/. (Many thanks to Jaidee for introducing me to this website.) I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world. The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion. Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere. This is Nadia's story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as par Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world. The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion. Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere. This is Nadia's story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as part of the Said community. Torn apart, murdered, abused by ISIS, friends, family gone, girls taken used and traded sexually abused as slaves. Yet she rebels in small ways, trying to keep something of herself intact. She is a fighter, manages to do what others could not, live to tell the world her story, write her story, make it known to all, what she and her people have suffered. I admire her greatly and though this is a tough read in places, it is a necessary one, we who live in this world have a responsibility to witness events such as these. To at least, even if we haven't the power or means to change nor stop these things from happening, we can at least say, I can hear you. Maps and beautiful pictures of the family she once had are included in the book. The map proved very helpful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Much of this book is extremely hard to read. I am not the type who looks at a car wreck; I do not look, I flee. The August 2014 ISIS attack of the author’s northern Iraq Yazidi village and the sexual abuse and beatings that follow are described in excruciating detail. For the Yazidi community and for Nadia, religion, ethnicity and family are one. They are inseparable, and so the book begins by explaining the myths, customs and beliefs central to the community. Understanding their beliefs is esse Much of this book is extremely hard to read. I am not the type who looks at a car wreck; I do not look, I flee. The August 2014 ISIS attack of the author’s northern Iraq Yazidi village and the sexual abuse and beatings that follow are described in excruciating detail. For the Yazidi community and for Nadia, religion, ethnicity and family are one. They are inseparable, and so the book begins by explaining the myths, customs and beliefs central to the community. Understanding their beliefs is essential to understanding the choices they make. To those of the Western mindset, many Yazidi beliefs will be perceived as foreign and strange. These two factors made reading the book difficult for me, but on completion, I am very glad to have read it. Being aware of what is happening in our world today is an individual’s responsibility. Media reportage informs but is insufficient; the book gives more depth and reveals the issues at stake. We follow the attack on the village Kocho, the siege and the violence that follows—the men are summarily killed, the women, of which Nadia is one, are rounded up, sold as sex slaves, starved, repeatedly raped and beaten by Islamic State militants. Her perilous escape is suspensefully told. The fate of all those of her extended family is detailed too. The book concludes with internment in a refugee camp, emigration to Germany and tells of how she came to speak out against ISIS’ genocidal extermination of the Yazidi people. The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, the author of this book, for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict." This, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee announcement on October 5, 2018 in Oslo, Norway. What could have been better? Political alliances in Iraq and Kurdistan are not adequately clarified. The situation is complicated, and it is hard to get a clear grip on. A list of the parties and their acronyms would have been helpful. The inclusion of maps too. Perhaps the book does have maps; I do not know. The audiobook is read by Ilyana Kadushin. It is very well read. In the beginning her voice trembles but by the end gathers the force and strength that it should have. Foreign words, which many Westerners may be unacquainted with at the beginning, become recognizable and easily snapped up by the end. This is aided by the narrator’s clear pronunciation. Four stars for the narration just as for the book’s content. The audiobook should have been accompanied by a PDF file with maps and a party/acronym list. This is not an easy book to read but is important and is compellingly told.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world. The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion. Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere. This is Nadia's story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as par Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world. The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion. Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere. This is Nadia's story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as part of the Said community. Torn apart, murdered, abused by ISIS, friends, family gone, girls taken used and traded sexually abused as slaves. Yet she rebels in small ways, trying to keep something of herself intact. She is a fighter, manages to do what others could not, live to tell the world her story, write her story, make it known to all, what she and her people have suffered. I admire her greatly and though this is a tough read in places, it is a necessary one, we who live in this world have a responsibility to witness events such as these. To at least, even if we haven't the power or means to change nor stop these things from happening, we can at least say, I can hear you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Well, I won't put this in the military non-fiction category because Daesh are a murdering bag of bastards, only good for killing unarmed opposition, and the Yazidi didn't put up a fight. I'd call this situation a comedy of errors but there is really nothing funny about this tragic situation. It's a disaster that everyone contributed to, all the way down the line. Ms Murad starts her book with a little family background and fills us in a bit on Yazidism, a religion of which I was previously ignor Well, I won't put this in the military non-fiction category because Daesh are a murdering bag of bastards, only good for killing unarmed opposition, and the Yazidi didn't put up a fight. I'd call this situation a comedy of errors but there is really nothing funny about this tragic situation. It's a disaster that everyone contributed to, all the way down the line. Ms Murad starts her book with a little family background and fills us in a bit on Yazidism, a religion of which I was previously ignorant and now I find I am merely mystified (they pray to a peacock angel). Yazidism has no book and is passed on by word of mouth, but it has one great advantage over other religions: they don't want you. You cannot convert to Yazidism, apparently, so they don't want you. No evangelism. They are perfectly happy to live in harmony with their neighbours and produce children to help in the field but now we have too many mouths to feed so we need to grow more so we need more children to work the field...you get the picture. Anyway, the head wizards over at the ISIS think tank decide that, since the Yazidi have no holy book, they are fair game for killing, raping, basically anything you want to do to them, so they surround the village with what amounts to lightly motorized infantry. This is where it could have got interesting, because the Yazidi are armed. It seems every Yazidi household has at least one firearm and they love to shoot them, just like every other place in the Middle East. I've heard them; they shoot at funerals, they shoot at weddings, they shoot when their soccer team wins a game. Totally ignorant of the laws of gravity, they shoot all the time. So what do the fierce Yazidi do with this armament? Some of it they turn over to ISIS, and the rest they bury! Then, in a scene eerily reminiscent of that other holocaust, they take their belongings to a collection point for selection. Women of ravishing age are put on transport. Any boy with armpit hair is sent off with the men to be machinegunned. This is where Nadia's story begins, really. Obviously she survives, because she is pictured on the cover, but I won't tell you more than that. You will have to read it yourself, and really, you should read it. I wish the liberal fancy-boy Prime Minister of my country would read it, because maybe then he wouldn't be letting ISIS fighters back into Canada instead of putting a bounty on them like he should. This book made me mad! At the United Nations for imposing sanctions that hurt only the people at the bottom of societal strata. At the USA for destabilising the region and then taking off at the high port, leaving weapons to the Iraqis which were then dropped and picked up by Daesh (Murad says ISIS had American weapons). I was angry at the Yazidi polygamous ways that enabled her father to take another wife to produce more kids and then house his first wife in a shed. And let's not forget a system that makes it practically impossible for a poor woman to get birth control. Or the other Muslim people who, while they maybe didn't exactly condone Daesh, didn't speak out against them. And I was especially angry at the Yazidi men who, having weapons, did not use them on those murdering black-clad monsters who had them surrounded. They might not be less dead, but they would have died fighting. They made it easy. People in the Middle East, in general, have a tendency to be theatrically dramatic while we in the west tend to prefer a type of stoic approach to hardship. This is the only problem I had with the book: Murad seems to be either screaming, fainting or puking on every other page. Even considering that some very painful and wicked things were happening to her, it seemed a bit over the top. It certainly didn't ruin the book, which I endorse whole-heartedly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Powerful, poignant, guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes no matter how tough you think you are, and surprisingly well-written. The Last Girl is an extraordinary first-hand account of a brutal genocide of a small religious minority who had no one to protect them from the barbaric horrors of the Islamic State which grew in power and territory for several long years while moral leadership was absent in this world and this cancer grew unabated. The story - and sadly it is not a story - begins with Powerful, poignant, guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes no matter how tough you think you are, and surprisingly well-written. The Last Girl is an extraordinary first-hand account of a brutal genocide of a small religious minority who had no one to protect them from the barbaric horrors of the Islamic State which grew in power and territory for several long years while moral leadership was absent in this world and this cancer grew unabated. The story - and sadly it is not a story - begins with the Yazidis, a small religious and ethnic group in Western Iraq who lived in small villages in the shadow of Mount Sinjar. Persecuted by Saddam for years, they had hope when Iraq was liberated only to see it fall into chaos several years later. When Isis grew, no one stepped in to protect them and, even their neighbors turned on them, viciously. When Isis finally attacked, thousands fled on foot to the mountain where the terrain was so rough not even food could successfully be airdropped . Those who didn't flee where surrounded and either killed in mass graves or enslaved in slave markets and sold and traded again and again. And, meanwhile, the entire civilized world could not muster the courage to do something about this evil. It is a very personal tale of a survivor who lost all hope and journeyed through hell, escaping wounded in spirit, her family broken, and little to back to. You might think the world would become more civilized with each passing year, but barbarism, cruelty, and viciousness still exists wherever it's allowed to spring up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    She is a good writer. And she has a thorough and horrific story to tell. I find it endlessly ironic that there are so many books written and discussed about past genocides of 50, 70, 80 years ago- and so little for the ones of the recent past or the exact present. Like this record by Nadia of the Yazidi, her people and what ISIS has done to them. And that refugees from situations like this one (or like the ones against the Kurds) or against Christians in Egypt and other locations Mideast, or Syria She is a good writer. And she has a thorough and horrific story to tell. I find it endlessly ironic that there are so many books written and discussed about past genocides of 50, 70, 80 years ago- and so little for the ones of the recent past or the exact present. Like this record by Nadia of the Yazidi, her people and what ISIS has done to them. And that refugees from situations like this one (or like the ones against the Kurds) or against Christians in Egypt and other locations Mideast, or Syrian minorities are treated as "like" and "alike" to those masses of refugees who merely are transporting for economic and other personal choice reasons. Because it is quite different. And why don't the countries (like Saudi Arabia) which have immense wealth and all kinds of uninhabited structures- allow them shelter until their lands are freed from the insane dictates? Mosul has been already. But that's the state of the larger world now. Only there to save the instantly condemned and annihilated to hastily dug mass graves after the fact (mostly way after the fact) with crocodile tears of empathy. Always much later in measure of decades with lots of pretty fiction words surrounding the reality of their cultural ordeals. The photographs in this one are 5 star- so brave for the survivors to expose themselves in such a manner. Not all will do that. This Nadia tells it like it is. And felt. I can't imagine that the mental was any less torturous than the physical was. For all those girls, but for their entire extended families who didn't survive, as well. Can you imagine how Nadia's mother felt in her last hours!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This wasn't an easy read for many reasons. It took a while to get all of the players straight in my head. First of all, the author comes from a very large family, plus her father married a 2nd wife and had more children. Then, there's the complication of her growing up in Kocho, Iraq and being part of the Yazidi religion. In an area with several different main religions, languages, and cultures all trying to live side by side. It was a lot to absorb, but the things that go on are so compelling a This wasn't an easy read for many reasons. It took a while to get all of the players straight in my head. First of all, the author comes from a very large family, plus her father married a 2nd wife and had more children. Then, there's the complication of her growing up in Kocho, Iraq and being part of the Yazidi religion. In an area with several different main religions, languages, and cultures all trying to live side by side. It was a lot to absorb, but the things that go on are so compelling and utterly soul-shaking that it is worth the time taken. This is a book about genocide and having your family torn apart by ISIS, and being taken captive. Pure terror, and mind-numbing fear. Grief. This is an intense story, but I feel it's also an important one that needs badly to be told so that these people and their religion are not forgotten. Thanks for reading. A copy was provided by Blogging for Books for my review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘The Last Girl’ is a well-written testimony as well as an autobiography. Nadia Murad is someone to be admired and praised for her courage and intelligence. What she endured, survived and overcame is almost more than one can bear to read. However, if any understanding of her ordeal and justice for her is to be obtained, we all must open our eyes and hearts and make the effort to take in her story. It is the only way we can give Murad the honor and love she deserves. The publisher’s description is ‘The Last Girl’ is a well-written testimony as well as an autobiography. Nadia Murad is someone to be admired and praised for her courage and intelligence. What she endured, survived and overcame is almost more than one can bear to read. However, if any understanding of her ordeal and justice for her is to be obtained, we all must open our eyes and hearts and make the effort to take in her story. It is the only way we can give Murad the honor and love she deserves. The publisher’s description is spot on (surprise!), so instead of my usual confused and outside-the-box ramble, I am including the publisher's ad copy: "Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her eleven brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia was in high school and had dreams of becoming a history teacher and opening her own beauty salon. On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. ISIS militants massacred the people of her village, executing men old enough to fight and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia's brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia and her two sisters were taken to Mosul, where they joined thousands of Yazidi girls in the ISIS slave trade. Nadia would be sold three times, raped, beaten, and forced to convert to Islam in order to marry one of her captors. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to the safety of a refugee camp. There, surrounded by bereaved and broken Yazidi families, Nadia decided to devote her life to bringing ISIS to justice. As a farm girl in rural Iraq, Nadia could not have imagined she would one day address the United Nations or be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She had never been to Baghdad, or even seen an airplane. As a slave, she was told by her captors that Yazidis would be erased from the face of the earth, and there were times when she believed them. Today, Nadia's story--as a witness to ISIS, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi--has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war." I recommend reading this book. Gentle reader, please please please pay attention. Politics threatens to drown out this important story. Do not let that happen. Get this book and talk about it. Those supporting the #metoo campaign in particular need to read 'The Last Girl'. Quote from page 306: "More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine." Assisting Murad in telling her story is Jenna Krajeski, a journalist. She is a 2016 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. Video of Nadia Murad's return to her destroyed village: https://youtu.be/JcPqUCJk1eA The stories of other Yazidi women: https://youtu.be/Te6HOtiBcf8 https://youtu.be/rC7u2QMmfXg

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    This is a most powerful narrative of a young Yazidi woman in Iraq whose family was forced out of their home by ISIS. Her brothers were murdered in a ditch. The younger women were forced into sexual slavery – older women, like her mother, were killed. So as can be imagined this is a very visceral and sad book. But the writing is straight-forward, succinct, and beautiful. The reader is taken into Nadia’s family, her home, and then her forlorn tragedy. At the end we get a better understanding of wha This is a most powerful narrative of a young Yazidi woman in Iraq whose family was forced out of their home by ISIS. Her brothers were murdered in a ditch. The younger women were forced into sexual slavery – older women, like her mother, were killed. So as can be imagined this is a very visceral and sad book. But the writing is straight-forward, succinct, and beautiful. The reader is taken into Nadia’s family, her home, and then her forlorn tragedy. At the end we get a better understanding of what it is like to be a survivor – and guilt when family, relatives, and friends do not make it. She has a rage and hate of ISIS, and also of the individual men who used their power to sexually subjugate her. Some of these men were “upstanding” members of the religious community who occupied nice homes that they took over from those who were forced to leave – and then brought in their sex slaves. This book did remind me of Holocaust books that I have read in the past. Groups are selected for extermination by a very organized and armed group of people who believe that they are pre-ordained by their beliefs (Nazis, ISIS, Hutus...) to rid their world of inferiors. Genocides keep happening again and again – in our lifetime Rwanda, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia – and now ISIS. It is also remarkable to me how religious fanatics use and believe their ancient texts to persuade “their people” to round-up and kill. They refer to ancient texts that justify misogyny, slavery, and other abhorrent practices. Nadia was helped and rescued by Sunni Muslims who were not in ISIS. They came to her aid because of a shared view of a helpful and benevolent humanity. They felt and knew that Nadia’s abduction and sexual slavery was wrong. Nadia has given us an impassioned story. We see first-hand what ISIS is doing in Iraq. Her life is now scarred, but we also feel her resiliency. She has become a major spokesperson for the human rights of the Yazidi people, in fact all those who have been oppressed and enslaved by ISIS. This personal history is heart-rending. The Yazidi people, who are neither Muslim or Christian, were marked for death in a part of the world undergoing vicious upheavals.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I don’t think I can objectively review this book, and my hat is off to anyone that can. My initial reaction is what the fuck is wrong with people? How can a group of people be so broken and morally bankrupt? How can so many receive pleasure from inflicting pain? The lack of humanity and decency in this group is chilling/nauseating/terrifying/devastating. My secondary reaction is how are genocides still happening in today’s world, when it seems that there are eyes everywhere (though I do remember I don’t think I can objectively review this book, and my hat is off to anyone that can. My initial reaction is what the fuck is wrong with people? How can a group of people be so broken and morally bankrupt? How can so many receive pleasure from inflicting pain? The lack of humanity and decency in this group is chilling/nauseating/terrifying/devastating. My secondary reaction is how are genocides still happening in today’s world, when it seems that there are eyes everywhere (though I do remember hearing about this on the news). This reaction is followed by shock, awe, disgust and a very healthy dose of “our problems here in Pleasantville aren’t problems at all”. This memoir features a lot of repetition about the Yazidi religion and way of life, told in a very plain, factual style that often sounds as though the author is a young child. The beginning drags on and on. This does not matter though. What does matter is that this woman survived a genocide of her people, survived the murder of most of her family, survived being repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped, and went on to fight with a ferocity and sense of undying determination for the rights of others in similar predicaments. She relives the details of her captivity and rapes in order to help others, giving hundreds of speeches and providing testimony before numerous human rights organizations. I cannot imagine what it takes to survive her ordeal with any semblance of sanity intact, let alone use that unimaginable trauma to affect change and help others. What a fierce and selfless warrior. The epilogue was such a strong conclusion, with many moving single lines of text, the most powerful of these being the final line of the book, which I am not including below. It may be the best final line I’ve read. Here are some quotes from the epilogue: There was no good reason to deny innocent people a safe place to live. It’s a strange hollow feeling longing for a lost place makes you feel like you have also disappeared. I now know that I was born in the heart of the crimes committed against me. And I don’t take my freedom for granted. Nadia Murad, you are an inspiration. You are proof of resilience and faith, of goodness and humanity. You are the embodiment of hope. May your life be filled with pure joy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    The Last Girl is the perfect book to read if you want to learn something about the Yazidis and the impact of ISIS on one culture. Nadia Murad writes with passion about her people and I included the above link in hopes readers will in fact be provoked to read at least a little about this proud and fiercely independent ethno-religious group, who seem to have suffered at least as much as other small group battling to retain their identity in the Middle East. The Yazidis are not Christian, Jewish nor The Last Girl is the perfect book to read if you want to learn something about the Yazidis and the impact of ISIS on one culture. Nadia Murad writes with passion about her people and I included the above link in hopes readers will in fact be provoked to read at least a little about this proud and fiercely independent ethno-religious group, who seem to have suffered at least as much as other small group battling to retain their identity in the Middle East. The Yazidis are not Christian, Jewish nor Muslim, nor related to the ‘people of the book’ in any way, though they do believe in one God. In fact, ISIS treated them more harshly than they did Christians or Jews for this very reason. Yazidis are fiercely devoted to family, may not convert and nor accept converts. New members may only come from children of their own blood, so it is easy to see why they are so devoted to family and so profoundly mourn every death of their own. Nadia’s life was scratch existence even before ISIS came into her village of Kocho, in 2014. Yet she loved it and had no dreams of leaving it or even big plans of changing things, only little hopes of day-by-day improvements through hard work with her family and community. But as anyone knows who has read the horrific stories of what ISIS has done, Nadia’s life will never be the same. This is not an easy book to read, but it is very important. Now she lives to see justice done on behalf of her deceased loved ones as well as for all that she herself suffered as a sabiyya (sex slave). This book helped me see a more in-depth and deeply personal picture than I would ever have been able to know any other way. Thank you and God bless you Nadia for opening yourself up about something which has cost you so much. Eternal rest to your family and may you find peace along with the justice you seek. Thanks to Fr. John Stabin! It was his excellent review which led me to want to read this work.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janel

    *Thanks for the free book, @CrownPublishing; it’s my pleasure to be a part of your monthly book send programme and provide honest reviews for the titles chosen* In Northern Iraq, there lies the small village of Kocho; a small community of mostly farmers and shepherds. The Yazidi community live a quiet and humbling life; the people may not have much but it’s home. Until, the Islamic State militants invaded and tore this small city to pieces, and this small community realised no one was coming to h *Thanks for the free book, @CrownPublishing; it’s my pleasure to be a part of your monthly book send programme and provide honest reviews for the titles chosen* In Northern Iraq, there lies the small village of Kocho; a small community of mostly farmers and shepherds. The Yazidi community live a quiet and humbling life; the people may not have much but it’s home. Until, the Islamic State militants invaded and tore this small city to pieces, and this small community realised no one was coming to help them. The Last Girl is both a harrowing and humbling read, and without a doubt, an important one. I can’t even begin to imagine living in a warzone and I won’t pretend to compare/liken it to anything I’ve experienced in my life because, one – I can’t, and two – the focus here needs to be on Nadia, on her story, and the millions of people with similar experiences as her and others who have been affected by this conflict. No, conflict is too weak a word, the United Nations has recognised it as a genocide and I will too because we cannot shy away from what is happening in the world we live in. I won’t recount Nadia’s experiences one by one, you can read them for yourself, but I will say, read the blurb carefully before you pick this book up because it contains things that may be triggers for people and some parts make for “heavy” reading. In particular, there is one part of this book that will stay with me forever, it was so powerful, so devastating, and had such an impact on me. In said paragraph, Nadia talks about rape being used as a weapon of war, that when she was growing up, she had never heard of the country Rwanda, in Africa, but she is linked to the women there forever as they have both been victims of war crimes. I had to pause my read, and reflect back on what I had just read – this is not a fictional account, this is a true story and even now, writing this review, I can’t put into words how reading that made me feel, let’s just say, it physically hurt my heart. What was amazing about this book was Nadia’s will to survive, one thing that really stood out for me was when Nadia spoke about the perpetrators of these war crimes, she spoke of seeing them put on trial, losing their power and freedom as a consequence of what they had done. Now, doesn’t that embody humanity, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t blame anyone who wanted these men to suffer as Nadia and these women have suffered. This is more than a book of atrocities, I learned about the culture, religion and community spirit of the Yazidi people. I read about people from other communities helping these woman by ‘smuggling’ slaves to safety, about people gaining hope after all hope was lost. I will end this review by quoting the last section of the blurb because I think it is the perfect description of this book and I urge you all to read it. “Today, Nadia’s story–as a witness to the Islamic State’s brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi–has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    This book did a great job educating me in things I had no knowledge of. I had no idea how divided the entire country of Iraq is and how the Yazidi people in particular have been murdered, abducted, sold and abused. The Islamic State is trying to completely erase their culture and religion. Nadia writes very comprehensively about Yazidi way of life, her family, her village of Kocho, the geography of Iraq, the Kurds and the different peshmerga, and of course the story of being held captive by Islam This book did a great job educating me in things I had no knowledge of. I had no idea how divided the entire country of Iraq is and how the Yazidi people in particular have been murdered, abducted, sold and abused. The Islamic State is trying to completely erase their culture and religion. Nadia writes very comprehensively about Yazidi way of life, her family, her village of Kocho, the geography of Iraq, the Kurds and the different peshmerga, and of course the story of being held captive by Islamic State Militants and her escape from it. I am constantly appalled at the viscous disregard for human life that some humans can exhibit. I'm always heartbroken at stories of women being treated as invisible property. The injustice of it all is overwhelming. I can see that Nadia poured her heart into writing this book as honest and clear as she could so that others can understand what she and her people have been fighting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Russell

    This book will gut you. What were you doing in the fall of 2014 while ISIS killed and enslaved thousands of Yazidi people while their neighbors watched? What useless quibbles were we having on social media while allowing this to happen? What is our astronomical military budget for if not to stop gangs of men from killing and raping an entire population? In Iraq. On our watch. A book like this leaves me feeling complicit, powerless and pointless. But that's lazy. We can help Nadia Murad with her This book will gut you. What were you doing in the fall of 2014 while ISIS killed and enslaved thousands of Yazidi people while their neighbors watched? What useless quibbles were we having on social media while allowing this to happen? What is our astronomical military budget for if not to stop gangs of men from killing and raping an entire population? In Iraq. On our watch. A book like this leaves me feeling complicit, powerless and pointless. But that's lazy. We can help Nadia Murad with her crusade to bring ISIS to justice: http://www.nadiamurad.org/. She wants to look her rapists in the face as they are prosecuted, and I want that for her. For all of us. But more than that I want a world where preventing this kind of violence, across the global, is our #1 priority. To educate people beyond the ability to dehumanize others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lee

    This was a tough read, not because it's badly written, or boring. It's ripe fill of raw emotion, hard truths, and things that people don't want to think about. This was eye opening, heart breaking and parts of me were shifted so far I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about this memoir. This is a a true story, about a very recent, very serious and very terrifying experience. I was almost in tears through the whole book, and there were times I didn't want to go on because I didn't want to read This was a tough read, not because it's badly written, or boring. It's ripe fill of raw emotion, hard truths, and things that people don't want to think about. This was eye opening, heart breaking and parts of me were shifted so far I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about this memoir. This is a a true story, about a very recent, very serious and very terrifying experience. I was almost in tears through the whole book, and there were times I didn't want to go on because I didn't want to read more about how horrific these events were. How many people were hurt, lost, ruined.. it's just a lot.. and I'm grateful that Nadia shared her story, that she was brave enough to give a voice to all the women who lost their own. If you only pick up one memoir, one non fiction, one heartbreaking true story, make it this one. Have your eyes opened to what is happening in this world, and what people have to survive. I thank Blogging for Books for this read, and this opportunity to read and review this memoir.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I was a goodreads giveaway winner. I would give this a 4.5. This young woman has witnessed the horrors of ISIS. In 2014 her village was invaded by ISIS. They killed a lot of the towns people. Kidnapped the young women held them captive and raped them. Nadia was 21 when her family was taken by ISIS. Her brothers were killed and she was taken captive. she was tortured beaten and raped repeatedly. She escaped the ISIS monsters and with the help of a wonderful family that risked their how lives help I was a goodreads giveaway winner. I would give this a 4.5. This young woman has witnessed the horrors of ISIS. In 2014 her village was invaded by ISIS. They killed a lot of the towns people. Kidnapped the young women held them captive and raped them. Nadia was 21 when her family was taken by ISIS. Her brothers were killed and she was taken captive. she was tortured beaten and raped repeatedly. She escaped the ISIS monsters and with the help of a wonderful family that risked their how lives helped her to safety. This is her story of what she want through. She lived in a small village in the Yazidi community. ISIS tried to take that away from her. she was very brave to escape and live to tell her story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The only place that Nadia Murad had even know was Kocho in Northern Iraq. This small village was part of the Yazidi community, and most of the population there were farmer or shepherds. She had simple dreams, wanting to open her own beauty salon or become a teacher. The war in Iraq had affected them a little, but not much. However, in August 2014 everything was to change forever. That was the day that ISIS rolled into the village, separated the men from the women and children and slaughtered the The only place that Nadia Murad had even know was Kocho in Northern Iraq. This small village was part of the Yazidi community, and most of the population there were farmer or shepherds. She had simple dreams, wanting to open her own beauty salon or become a teacher. The war in Iraq had affected them a little, but not much. However, in August 2014 everything was to change forever. That was the day that ISIS rolled into the village, separated the men from the women and children and slaughtered the men, piling the bodies in a mass grave. Six of Nadia's brothers were among those killed in cold blood. Nadia, her sisters and the other young women of the village had a different fate. They were packed onto buses and taken to Mosul to be sold as sex slaves. Forcibly converted to Islam and marry her captor, the second part of her story tells of the horrific time that she had at the hands of the thugs that 'owned' her. She was forced to marry one of her captors, beaten, whipped and raped repeatedly. She contemplated suicide or fighting back as this might bring death and a release from her misery. She didn't though, and when the chance came, she climbed over the wall and escaped through the streets of the city. Looking for shelter, she almost knocked on one door, but had second thoughts and went to another. Luckily for her, this was a Sunni family that took her in and gave her shelter. They gave her the much-needed care required, and she managed to get in contact with the little that was left of her family. A plan was hatched to smuggle her through the ISIS checkpoints to get her to a refugee camp so she could join her displaced Yazidi people. It wouldn't be a spoiler to say that she survived. ISIS implement a cruel and harsh version of Islam, with rules that are arbitrary and are their strict and warped interpretation of the Koran, that they are more than happy to break them as and when it suits. This, her heart-wrenching story, is to tell the world of the plight of this peaceful community and to force the world to pay attention to the genocide against the Yazidi. She is one brave woman and the momentum she has gathered since she escaped is inspirational and very moving, it had never even crossed her mind that she would ever address the UN or be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. This is another book that I can highly recommend, even though it is uncomfortable reading and I hope one day that they get the justice they deserve against ISIS. 4.5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Zirn Hudson

    It seems strange to use the word beautiful for THE LAST GIRL because it's so extremely raw and horrifying but Nadia's writing truly is beautiful. I read in complete disbelief while sitting on the edge of my seat for majority of this book. It's unfathomable to imagine Nadia's story, from the massacre of her village and being kidnapped by ISIS, to being sold as property over and over and being forced to convert to Islam, to eventually fleeing for her life and having to be smuggled back to safety. It seems strange to use the word beautiful for THE LAST GIRL because it's so extremely raw and horrifying but Nadia's writing truly is beautiful. I read in complete disbelief while sitting on the edge of my seat for majority of this book. It's unfathomable to imagine Nadia's story, from the massacre of her village and being kidnapped by ISIS, to being sold as property over and over and being forced to convert to Islam, to eventually fleeing for her life and having to be smuggled back to safety. This book packs a swift punch to the gut and I ached for her every moment I read this, as I know every reader will. This is the story of unimaginable survival, a cry of love to those brutally lost, and an inspiring beacon of light for women, refugees, and those who have nearly lost all hope.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    "I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine." Nadia Murad is only a year younger than me and I kept thinking about it while I read her memoir. This book is the story of a genocide. Nadia was kidnapped, held captive and forced into slavery by ISIS, the Islamic State of Irak and Syria. Her story is one that happened and keep happening to thousand of girls and women and her memoir is the voice of all those victims. Nadia escaped. Nadia is free. But how do you survive this? How do "I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine." Nadia Murad is only a year younger than me and I kept thinking about it while I read her memoir. This book is the story of a genocide. Nadia was kidnapped, held captive and forced into slavery by ISIS, the Islamic State of Irak and Syria. Her story is one that happened and keep happening to thousand of girls and women and her memoir is the voice of all those victims. Nadia escaped. Nadia is free. But how do you survive this? How do you go back to life after surviving this? Nadia isn't only telling you her story. She's not only describing the horrors of a genocide. She's sending the world a message: do everything in your power so I could be the last girl with that story. Unfortunately, ISIS isn't stopped and the victims of this genocide are so many that it's impossible to count them all. Nadia and the other survivors need the world to do something more than give them the Nobel Peace Prize, encourage their activism against human trafficking, be glad they survived, show horror at what happened. She needs people like her lawyer, Amal Clooney, to not be afraid to put words on what's happening and to have the courage to fight by the side of the survivors. For them, for the ones who didn't escape or survive, for the ones who will be the next victims if there's no fighting back. I'll quote Amal Clooney on this, who wrote the foreword of this book: " [...] What Nadia was telling me about is genocide. And genocide doesn’t happen by accident. You have to plan it. Before the genocide began, the ISIS “Research and Fatwa Department” studied the Yazidis and concluded that, as a Kurdish-speaking group that did not have a holy book, Yazidis were nonbelievers whose enslavement was a “firmly established aspect of the Shariah.” This is why, according to ISIS’s warped morality, Yazidis—unlike Christians, Shias, and others—can be systematically raped. Indeed, this was to be one of the most effective ways to destroy them. [...] When Nadia told me her story in London, it had been almost two years since ISIS’s genocide against the Yazidis had begun. Thousands of Yazidi women and children were still held captive by ISIS, but no member of ISIS had been prosecuted in a court anywhere in the world for these crimes. Evidence was being lost or destroyed. And prospects for justice looked bleak. [...] But just as I write this foreword, the UN Security Council has adopted a landmark resolution creating an investigation team that will collect evidence of the crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq. This is a major victory for Nadia and all the victims of ISIS, because it means that evidence will be preserved and that individual ISIS members can be put on trial. I sat next to Nadia in the Security Council when the resolution was adopted unanimously. And as we watched fifteen hands go up, Nadia and I looked at each other and smiled." Thank you, Nadia, for all you're doing. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for your voice. You matter and I hope the world will give you more reasons to smile again. Because your story is also one of hope: that your fight is one that can be won.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rural Soul

    So one goes and another grows out of ground. This is what these terrorist organizations are. Just makes us ashamed to be a Muslim. Nadia Murad is a Yazidi (No relation with Yazid Bin Muawya) girl, who was enslaved as sex-slave by ISIS militants. Not only her mother but her six brothers were killed by a planned genocide organised by ISIS. Many of girls of her family were a enslaved and some died while escaping their captors. Nadia succeeded to escape and later relocated in Germany as refugee. Nadia So one goes and another grows out of ground. This is what these terrorist organizations are. Just makes us ashamed to be a Muslim. Nadia Murad is a Yazidi (No relation with Yazid Bin Muawya) girl, who was enslaved as sex-slave by ISIS militants. Not only her mother but her six brothers were killed by a planned genocide organised by ISIS. Many of girls of her family were a enslaved and some died while escaping their captors. Nadia succeeded to escape and later relocated in Germany as refugee. Nadia is strict critic of Peshmerga (Iraqi Kurdish forces). She thinks that withdrawal of Peshmerga was the reasons that Yazidi villages were easy targets of ISIS. Reading in details really shattered me to see extreme and bent version of Islam. ISIS is clearly a threat to humanity but also it damaged true spirit of Islam.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    If you were not afraid of Isis before you will be after reading this book. The things that the Author went through are horrifying. She writes so wellof her quiet childhood and the day that completely changed her life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ieva Andriuskeviciene

    “I was quickly learning that my story, which I still thought of a personal tragedy, could be someone else’s political tool, particularly in a place like Iraq. I would have to be careful what I said, because words means different things to different people, and your story can easily become a weapon to be turned on you” p265 That basically summarise all book. The girl who survived so many horrible things, partly lost her family and dignity is telling her story over and over again just to prove that “I was quickly learning that my story, which I still thought of a personal tragedy, could be someone else’s political tool, particularly in a place like Iraq. I would have to be careful what I said, because words means different things to different people, and your story can easily become a weapon to be turned on you” p265 That basically summarise all book. The girl who survived so many horrible things, partly lost her family and dignity is telling her story over and over again just to prove that it was Yazidi genocide, not only personal tragedy. Everything is so raw and fresh as it happened few years ago. As I read loads of Murad’s statements it is really shame that everyone is concentrated on sexual abuse instead of Yazidi community’s tragedy. I don’t want to get too political but would love to give this book to read to everyone who is against helping refugees. Just look those girls in the eyes and tell that we are not going to help you. I would recommend to avoid this books if you are too sensitive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Missy J

    A very sad account of a Yazidi woman who was taken captive by ISIS and sold as a sex slave. I remember coming across the news of ISIS militants attacking the Yazidi minority in Iraq and forcing the women to become sex slaves. I didn't know what Yazidi was back then except that they were considered a religious minority in Iraq. This book is divided into three parts. In the first part, Nadia Murad describes her hometown Kocho, her life before ISIS, her family and what Yazidi means to them. They sp A very sad account of a Yazidi woman who was taken captive by ISIS and sold as a sex slave. I remember coming across the news of ISIS militants attacking the Yazidi minority in Iraq and forcing the women to become sex slaves. I didn't know what Yazidi was back then except that they were considered a religious minority in Iraq. This book is divided into three parts. In the first part, Nadia Murad describes her hometown Kocho, her life before ISIS, her family and what Yazidi means to them. They speak Kurdish, but consider their religion Yazidi to be more important than identifying as Kurdish. The Yazidis pray towards the sun and believe in reincarnation like the Hindus. It's a very old religion and to be considered as a Yazidi, both of your parents have to be Yazidi and later on in life you have to marry another Yazidi. There's no way to convert into the religion or marry somebody outside of the religion, unless you decide to not be Yazidi anymore. The second part of the book describes her captivity and the horrible things she had to suffer under ISIS. I was very shocked and sad to read this part. I vaguely expected it to be cruel, but it was even more devastating. How a human being could do those cruel things to another human being. How a genocide could still happen in 2014, in the time of smart phones and social media. How the people who supported ISIS actually thought that they could get away with it and committed crimes despite of everything history has taught us. I don't know how Nadia Murad survived the things she experienced. The third part of the book is dedicated to her escape from ISIS and what happens afterwards. I thought the parts when she describes the Kurds was very interesting. I've always heard the term "Kurdish" and how brave the Kurdish fighters are but I wasn't sure who they were in the Middle East. Nadia Murad gives us an easy to understand explanation. I was also amazed how she said that a person's suffering can easily be used by another group as a political agenda. That was a well written part. I have to admit that at first I was a bit hesitant to read this book because I saw Amal Clooney's name in the foreword. I get very hesitant when I see celebrity endorsement, thus 4 stars. But the book without Amal Clooney is definitely 5 stars. Nadia Murad is still fighting for the Yazidis and wants to make sure that the men who raped and killed will get punished. She is very brave and I cannot imagine the strength required for such a battle. She lost most of her family members and had to leave her home. She embodies strength really. And I think she wrote a book that will be of historical significance for the future. I end this review with this quote that left a strong impression on me: "Since leaving Kocho, I had begged for death, I had willed Salman to kill me or asked God to let me die or refused to eat or drink in the hopes I would fade away. I had thought many times that the men who raped and beat me would kill me. But death had never come. In the checkpoint bathroom, I began to cry. For the first time since I left Kocho, I thought I actually might die. And I also knew for sure that I didn't want to."

  29. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Netgalley #51 Many thanks go to Duggan Books and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. My many blessings go to Nadia Murad for sharing her story. Murad grew up in a very close knit village in northern Iraq called Kocho united by religion known as Yazidism. This area of the world is home to Ottomans, Sunnis, Kurds, non Sunni Muslims, and even occupying Americans. The issue is ISIS. ISIS has participated in an ethnic cleansing in this part of the country. They Netgalley #51 Many thanks go to Duggan Books and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. My many blessings go to Nadia Murad for sharing her story. Murad grew up in a very close knit village in northern Iraq called Kocho united by religion known as Yazidism. This area of the world is home to Ottomans, Sunnis, Kurds, non Sunni Muslims, and even occupying Americans. The issue is ISIS. ISIS has participated in an ethnic cleansing in this part of the country. They believe the Yazidi people are devil worshipers. Whole populations of men have been down and women have been sold into the slave trade beaten and raped until they die or escape. Murad lived to tell her tale. She is now an activist. I have never read anything so harrowing in my life. I never watch tv or read the news. It's one of those things that I knew "bad things happen", but I had no idea it was like this anywhere in the world. I am ashamed of myself. The cruelty is unforgivable, the suffering unimaginable. Murad is brutally honest throughout her book. She lays her heart on the page. I cannot fathom that she held anything back. Her fear is palpable. I pray that Murad finds peace and solace. I'm sure the healing process is slow. I hope writing this book was cathartic.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ilonita50

    I received the e-arc thanks to Duggan Books, thank you! This is very powerful, brave and broken story at the times. It involves heartbreak and human race fall, powerful mass influence that goes on and on killing innocent humans who are respecting other cultures and their religions. The book won't leave anyone ignorant, it is one of the many stories that has to be read and heard. People and the author who survived the mass horrible terror has a long way to go and live with the experience she was f I received the e-arc thanks to Duggan Books, thank you! This is very powerful, brave and broken story at the times. It involves heartbreak and human race fall, powerful mass influence that goes on and on killing innocent humans who are respecting other cultures and their religions. The book won't leave anyone ignorant, it is one of the many stories that has to be read and heard. People and the author who survived the mass horrible terror has a long way to go and live with the experience she was forced to go through and loose everyone from her family and home village. These are humans that live in their villages and get involved in a war that is not theirs, that they don't want to be a part of. The author has survived and was lucky to escape being enslaved under Isis, woman and children as such are the most vulnerable in human trafficking.

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