Litquake - The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days in Captivity | Mechanics' Institute

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Litquake - The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days in Captivity
The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days in Captivity

In January 2012, journalist Michael Scott Moore traveled to the Horn of Africa to write about piracy. But in a terrible twist of fate, he was kidnapped by Somali pirates, and subjected to conditions that break even the strongest spirits: physical abuse, starvation, isolation, and terror. After 977 days he was freed, and this year published his remarkable memoir The Desert and the Sea, a riveting, thoughtful, and emotionally resonant exploration of foreign policy, religious extremism, and the costs of survival. In conversation with foreign correspondent  Jeanne Carstensen. 


Michael Scott Michael Scott Moore is a literary journalist and novelist, author of a comic novel about L.A., Too Much of Nothing, as well as a travel book about surfing, Sweetness and Blood, which was named a best book of 2010 by The Economist and Popmatters. He was kidnapped in 2012 on a reporting trip to Somalia and held hostage for two and a half years. His book about the ordeal, The Desert and the Sea, is due out from Harper Wave in mid-2018. He's covered the European migration crisis for Businessweek, and politics, travel, and literature for The Atlantic, Der Spiegel, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The L.A. Review of Books.


Jeanne Carstensen is an independent journalist based in San Francisco. In 2015, she covered the mass arrival of refugees to Lesbos and other eastern Aegean islands and the smuggling operation in Turkey. In 2016, she returned to Greece to report on the 60,000 refugees trapped in the country after the Balkan route closed. She also reported from Germany, France and Hungary where she covered refugee integration. Her work on the refugee crisis is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and has appeared in Foreign Policy, PRI’s The World, The Nation, The Intercept, GlobalPost and other publications. Jeanne was executive managing editor of The Bay Citizen, which produced the Bay Area pages of The New York Times. She has been an editor at Salon, and the Whole Earth Review and a producer at Radio for Peace International, a shortwave station in Costa Rica, where she lived for six years. She was a National Arts Journalism fellow at Columbia University and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Nautilus, Salon, Religion Dispatches, Al Jazeera America and other outlets.



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