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Slave: The True Story of a Girl's Lost Childhood and Her FIght for Survival [Paperback]

Mende Nazer , Damien Lewis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

6 Dec 2007
Mende Nazer's happy childhood was cruelly cut short at the age of twelve when the Mujahidin rode into her village in the remote Nuba mountains of Sudan. They hacked down terrified villagers, raped the women and abducted the children. Mende was them. She was taken and sold to an Arab woman in Khartoum. She was stripped of her name and her freedom. For seven long years she was kept as a domestic slave, an 'abid', without any pay or a single day off. Her food was the leftover scraps and her bed was the floor of the locked-up garden shed. She endured this harsh and lonely existence without knowing whether her family was alive or dead, for seven long years. Passed on by her master, like a parcel, to a relative in London, Mende eventually managed to escape to freedom. Slave is a shocking first-person insight into the modern day slave trade. It is also a fascinating memoir of an African childhood and a moving testimony to a young girl's indomitable spirit in the face of adversity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (6 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844081168
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844081165
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


a powerful memoir...shocking and very moving...her book is an eloquent testament to the ability of a brave soul to survive, and to the need to bring an end to slavery. (Susan McKay, Sunday Tribune)

All the cliches of such survival stories - 'life-affirming, heartwarming'- are inadequate to describe the emotional impact of [Mende's] eventual deliverance. (Observer)

Intensely moving (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

An eloquent testament to the ability of a brave soul to survive, and to the need to bring an end to slavery (Sunday Tribune)

Book Description

The extraordinary story of a young Sudanese girl who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and how she finally escaped to freedom.

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When I was born, my father chose to call me Mende. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there an end to shame? 9 Dec 2007
This book explores a very uncomfortable truth: this is the 21st century and slavery still exists. Following a murderous raid in her native Nuba village in Sudan, Mende Nazer was kidnapped in 1994 with other native children from that area. Her simple tribal life surrounded by a loving, united family came to an end that night. Sold to an Arab family in Khartoum, she learned to survive by "simply" enduring her fate. She was stripped of dignity and humanity, her desperation worsened by the lack of information about the rest of her family, not knowing whether they had survived the raid. It all made her plunge into a deep depression. She was humiliated, beaten and psychologically abused to a devastating extent and for several years. She was later "passed on" to another family, related to the one in Khartoum. This second family lived in London and it was there, in the year 2000, that Mende's fate changed.

This story is a condensation of facts reported simply and clearly by Mende in first person, beginning with her childhood (a very happy one despite her painful female circumcision at a very young age), all the way through her life and up until the events leading to freedom in London. She was helped in this process by journalist Damien Lewis and the result is a compelling read, where all is pieced together in a very accessible way. Mende's young and sober voice emerges with a powerful resonance in its quiet simplicity, a sad reminder of contemporary slavery. It's like a blow knocking the air out of you.

I am omitting further details as the reading would be spoiled.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and powerful book. 21 Jan 2004
Slave is an excellent book that I struggled put down in the one day it took me to read it. Mende's incredible memory allows us to have a glimpse into her happy childhood and experience the differences in her culture from our own. But at age 12 her childhood was cut short and she was captured in a terrifying raid on her village. What follows is a shocking account of her life as a slave 'abid' first in Khartoum and then in London. Her bravery, strength and cleverness throughout this time, her escape and even now is amazing and encouraging. But what really struck me is how recent this situation was. While many of us were ringing in the millennium, Mende was still in slavery. While we would wish it was a work of fiction or even history, Slave allows us to see the situation as it really is in Sudan and reminds us that the situation is still present. Mende Nazer is truly an inspiration and her book left me wanting to find out how to do more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Slave is the first hand account of the life of a young Sudanese girl who was kidnapped by the Mujahidin when they raided her village hacking down the men, raping the women and abducting the children before raping them and selling them on into slavery in Khartoum. She was used as a domestic slave without pay, days off or even food as she had to live off what the family she was working for left uneaten on their plates. After seven years of hell for a young girl when she was frequently beaten and forced to sleep on the floor of the garden shed she was "passed on" by her master and brought to London. I could not believe that girls were kept in these harsh conditions in UK in the 21st century. This is a different insight into modern day slavery than the human trafficking that is so prevalent at this time. You cannot fail but be moved by this moving testimony to a young girl's indomitable spirit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impelling 20 Jan 2013
By Liz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An achingly heart wrenching account from such a strong, Nobel young woman. Sympathetically written by Damien Lewis. Mende your are such an inspiration to all of us!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A harrowing and extremely eye-opening true life story of a childhood stolen by modern slavery which is still pervasive in North Africa and the Middle East. Mende Nazer lived a rural, happy childhood in a village Nuba Mountains in Sudan. At the age of twelve she was kidnapped by marauding Arab raiders, who put the men of her village to death, raped the woman and captured the children into slavery. She was raped by the Arab slavers and then sold in Khartoum to a cruel Arab family. There she was beaten, tortured and emotionally tormented, especially by the madam of the house, the indolent, spoiled and evil 'Master' Rahab. Nazer here tells of her unjust and cruel treatment here, and it is all the more disturbing for knowing that this is prevalent in Sudan, and with African slaves, across the Arab world.Millions like Mende are treated by Arabs as cruelly as slaves were by white masters over a century ago in America's South

Mende was a possession, given no wages, and no time off. she was given to Rahab's sister in London, where eventually with the help of some fellow Nubas which she was blessed enough to miraculously come across, managed to escape her inhumane captors, and eventually receive asylum in Britain, where today she campaign for the end to the diabolical slave trade-she is a TRUE human rights activist, who appreciates the freedom and humanity given her and all other migrants by her adopted country. What is is disturbing is so little attention is given to the horrors of the slave trade, and the genocide of Blacks by Arabs in the Sudan, by the media, universities and 'human rights' NGO who continue to focus exclusively on anti-Western and anti-Israel agitation. It is simply not politically correct to point to abuses by radical Arab regimes against non-Arabs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The heartb
Published 9 days ago by T. Chinnock
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story!
Arrived so quickly, next day, and it was on a Sunday as well! Thanks Amazon Prime! I watched the movie and that's what prompted me to buy the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Harinder Johal
4.0 out of 5 stars it was an eye opener
Modern day slavery is being highlighted in the media and this book reaffirms Awhat goes on not only in countries like the Sudan but also in the UK.
Published 2 months ago by Pancake
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written ....
An amazing story of the bravery of such a young woman, descriptively written to put you next to her through all the evil and horrors she lived through.....the sequel is a must too.
Published 5 months ago by kay barber
5.0 out of 5 stars oops
I had borrowed this book and then gave it to someone else. the owner asked for it back. Help. Amazon to the rescue. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. J. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and amazing
I bought this book first as a sample then the whole thing. It was extremely touching and honest and gave me understanding into a world I knew little about. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tracie Stubbs
5.0 out of 5 stars The most beautiful story...
The most beautiful story I've ever read. I don't usually write reviews however I just felt that I wanted to say to anybody contemplating whether to purchase this book - DO NOT... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gracey
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story!
Which tells us the reality of our true human nature. We can be kind and loving but cruel and destructive.
Published 8 months ago by Jes
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Moving
This book was fabulous and gave me a real insight for how bad Slavery really is. This book explains everything wonderfully and makes the reader understand and I'm only 13 years... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs Catherine L Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read!!!!
Eye opening to real troubles of the world. Sometimes in life we complain about such trivial things but to think such major injustices are still out there and with little hope for... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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