THE LAST GIRL: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State – Nadia Murad

My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State
Foreword by Amal Clooney
Category: Biography & Memoir

A raw, terrifying account of religious genocide and life in captivity under the Islamic State by a young Yazidi woman who survived it.

Born and raised in Kocho, Iraq, Murad grew up hearing about the many genocides her people faced throughout history, but she never imagined she would witness one herself. She enjoyed a quiet childhood in her small farming village, surrounded by a large, loving extended family and the tightknit Yazidi community. But just outside the town limits, danger lingered as Daesh, otherwise known as the Islamic State, began to take control of northern Iraq. Murad was 21 years old when, in August 2014, IS militants laid siege to Kocho and irreparably changed the lives of everyone in the town. After their village leader announced that his people refused to convert to Islam despite threats of violence and death, Kocho’s men were rounded up, shot, and buried in mass graves while their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and young sons watched from a schoolhouse window before being transported to an even grimmer fate. Older women, such as Murad’s mother, were later murdered, young boys were forced into IS, and the girls and younger women like the author were sold into the IS slave trade, where they were subjected to a daily routine of servitude, violence, and rape. Held captive by a group of particularly brutal militants, Murad attempted to flee once before she was able to escape with the help of one remarkable family willing to risk their lives to save hers. With vivid detail and genuine, heartbreaking emotion, the author lays bare not only her unimaginable tragedy, but also the tragedies of an entire people whose plight is largely ignored by the rest of the world. Human rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney provides the foreword.

A devastating yet ultimately inspiring memoir that doubles as an urgent call to action.

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Kirkus Review


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 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.