The Authors@Google program welcomed Jere Van Dyk to the Google office in Mountain View on July 14, 2010 to discuss his book “Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban.”
Jere Van Dyk was on the wrong side of the border. He and three Afghan guides had crossed into the tribal areas of Pakistan, where no Westerner had ventured for years, hoping to reach the home of a local chieftain by nightfall. But then a dozen armed men in black turbans appeared over the crest of a hill.
“Captive” is Van Dyk’s searing account of his forty-five days in a Taliban prison, and it is gripping and terrifying in the tradition of the best prison literature. The main action takes place in a single room, cut off from the outside world, where Van Dyk feels he can trust nobody—not his jailers, not his guides (who he fears may have betrayed him), and certainly not the charismatic Taliban leader whose fleeting appearances carry the hope of redemption as well as the prospect of immediate, violent death.
Van Dyk went to the tribal areas to investigate the challenges facing America there. His story is of a deeper, more personal challenge, an unforgettable tale of human endurance.
Jere Van Dyk is the author of “In Afghanistan: An American Odyssey,” an account of his travels with the mujahideen in the 1980s, during their struggle against the Soviet Union. Since then, he has covered stories for the New York Times, CBS News, and National Geographic that required him to visit places where few Western reporters had ventured before. He lives in New York City.