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1001 Nights in Iraq: The Shocking Story of an American Forced to Fight for Saddam Against the Country He Loves Paperback – 1 Jun 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416540199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416540199
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,310,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Kenderian writes matter-of-factly, with the stoicism of someone who has endured the seemingly unendurable. But his story is mind-blowing enough to keep you turning the pages." -- Entertainment Weekly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An amazing true story of war, tyranny, courage, and dignity 13 Aug 2007
By Bob Zeidman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story is an amazing tale of bravery under terrifying conditions during the first Persian Gulf War. Shant Kenderian, an Iraqi-born American, gets trapped in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and puts his life on the line to return home to his beloved America. It paints an interesting picture of that war and a sympathetic picture of Iraqi citizens under an unscrupulous tyrant who sent thousands of men and boys to their deaths. When Shant reaches the American POW camp, his story shows the great decency of our American troops and the camaraderie that developed between our troops and the many Iraqi POWs. This book will give you great insight into the lives of Iraqis and will also give you great pride in the behavior of our American soldiers.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring 21 Feb 2008
By D. Kerr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is by far one of the most inspiring books I have read in a while. I am amazed by Mr. Kenderian's strength of character despite all the opportunities and justifications there was to have been less than honorable. It made me realize how much I take living in this country for granted. Yes, we have our flaws but how many other countries to people make such an effort to get to? Please continue to write Mr Kenderian!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Truth is Stranger than Fiction 8 Nov 2007
By Christine Zibas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There's a popular saying that "truth is stranger than fiction." In the case of Shant Kenderian, the saying certainly applies. In his nonfiction book (once the most popular selling book on BookSurge before being picked up by publisher Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster), Kenderian recounts his own tale of being drafted to fight a war against his own country.

Born in Iraq as an Armenian Christian (already an outsider in a country populated with Muslims), when his parents divorced, Kenderian went to live with his mother and siblings in Chicago. Like many children of divorce, he felt torn between his parents, and after two years of living in the United States, he decided to go to Iraq for a brief visit in 1980. His goal was to see his father and reconcile their acrimonious relationship (because of his parents' divorce) before returning to the US to complete his schooling. Days before he was due to return to the US, Saddam Hussein closed all the Iraqi borders, ordering all men of draft age (between 17-55) into service to fight for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. Under the threat of execution for refusing to serve, Kenderian did his time in the Iraqi Navy and returned to Baghdad, where he continued his studies in engineering while awaiting the issuance of his green card from the US Embassy.

Two days before he was scheduled to depart Iraq, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, thus pulling Kenderian into yet another war (Desert Storm) before he could leave. Thus begins the saga that is recounted in "1001 Nights in Iraq." As an Iraqi-born US resident, Shant Kenderian was put in the unenviable position of being forced to fight against the country he loved and considered his own--the United States.

Kenderian recounts with depressing detail his time as an engineer aboard a ship in the Iraqi Navy just off the coast of Kuwait. Forced to service the ship with only a wrench and screwdriver, Kenderian tells of the depravity faced by most soldiers on the Iraqi side of the conflict. Of his crew, only 2 Iraqis of 15 had guns of any sort; Kenderian himself had none. Food was scarce, as were any other sort of supplies. Every day was a nightmare in which the Iraqi soldiers expected death at any moment by the Americans.

Clearly, Kenderian had to do something to change his fate, and so he devised a plan--to surrender to the Americans at the earliest opportunity. Kenderian thus hoped to plead his case as a US resident forced to participate in a war not of his own choosing on a side he would not have selected. Kenderian eventually did get captured by the Americans, but not before his ship struck a mine, killing several of his Iraqi crewmates. However, even his capture by US forces meant extreme hardship. As a prisoner of war (POW), again and again, he was interrogated, forced to live in difficult conditions, and plead his desperate case, to return to his family in the United States.

Despite this unbelievable story, Kenderian never lost his sense of humor, his humanity for others (Iraqi or otherwise), or his faith in God that he would eventually be returned to the country he considered home. Only a man of real courage and compassion could have survived this ordeal to tell this story of resilience and hope. Through his book, Kenderian has opened the door into a world few Americans understand or have experienced. His story been featured on public radio's "This American Life," and truly it is a unique one.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful story of a man who faced death to get out of Iraq 8 Sep 2007
By Hugh J. Grossman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I met Shant Kenderian in the Gulf War. He braved many dangers, and many hardships. I met him and his family again last July in LA, Calif. when I was coming home from a 27 day trip to Viet Nam and Thailand. He still is a wonderful man. God had blessed him. His faith in God pulled him through many hardships. It was a wonderful reunion after 15 years. He remembered things in his book that I had forgot.His book is an easy read. First hand stories of his trials and experiences. Again God has blessed him and also God blessed me for knowing him.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Impressive 31 Jan 2008
By N. Abdullah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Mr. Kenderian's book, and for me as an Iraqi (and Christian), it sheds light on many facts of Iraqis life under Saddam's rule. It is an interesting, must to read, story of a struggle of a man to reach his goals. What impressed me more is the strength of his faith that made him come through all these difficulties (the least his circumstances could be described with).
However, Mr. Kenderian gave an impression that Armenian Iraqis were treated differently (less favorably) from other Iraqis. I see this as unfair description. Christians in Iraq were always been seen as harmless Iraqis, and I never witnessed or heard that there was any discrimination against them because of their religion or of being Armenians in particular.
I enjoyed reading this book very much. Thank you Mr. Kenderian
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