Behind the Lines of Jihad: One Journalist’s Fascinating Account

The next book club meeting will be on Thursday March 28 at 5:30 in room 301 of the Schurz Library to discuss I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet. The author is a correspondent for the Washington Post and reports for several other national and intentional publications on terrorism. In this memoir, she does a masterful job of integrating her experience as a journalist, a Muslim, a European and a woman. This book was included in a number of national ‘best books of 2017’ lists. ​


“All Muslims should be united, yes.” He sipped his tea. “First Palestine was taken from us.  Then they gave Iraq to the Shia and Iran.  Every Muslim understands that only a caliphate with a strong leader can protect them.”

If you would like a copy of the book, contact Vicki Bloom, Dean of Library Services at  Please feel free to share information with others who might be interested. All are welcome.


Photograph by Müller-Stauffenberg / Ullstein Bild via Getty


Discussion Topics – Soldier Girls

What were your thoughts about women serving in the military before you read Soldier Girls?

Did these women defy your expectations about “soldier girls”?

Was there one woman to whom you were most drawn? One whose story you found most interesting or poignant?

What surprised you about their experiences?

What are your thoughts about the different strategies that the women used to cope?

Did the military do more to help or to damage them?

What do you think they took away from the National Guard?

Women Writing War

Female soldier

ON MARCH 31 2014, war veteran and novelist Cara Hoffman published an op-ed in The New York Times in which she argued that war narratives — in prose, poetry, and film — have always been, and continue to be, dominated by male voices.  The stories of women at war, on the other hand, she said are “nearly absent from our culture.”

Shortly thereafter, Kayla Williams — a former sergeant and Arabic linguist in a Military Intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division, and author of two memoirs about her experiences as a servicewoman at home and abroad — published an eloquent dissent to Hoffman’s piece on her personal blog.  She expanded on her post in this Los Angeles Review of Books article.

Do you agree with Cara or Kayla?