Author held captive for nearly 3 years tells his story in his newest book
On a Friday night in Pilgrim Surf Supply — a small surf shop in Williamsburg — people gathered around to listen to authors Michael Scott Moore and William Finnegan discuss Moore’s new book “The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast.”
Moore, an accomplished journalist and author, was abducted by a local gang of Somali pirates in January 2012 while conducting research on a book on piracy. The pirates held Moore ransom for $20 million. American and German officials negotiated with the pirates and after 977 days, Moore was released after his family and friends raised $1.6 million paid to the pirate gang.
At the author event, Finnegan, a staff writer at the New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, served as the interviewer and asked Moore about his book and life in captivity.
Moore described the grueling life of a hostage which involved fighting typhoid fever and malaria, surviving on lousy food and watching other captives being tortured. He also talked about the daily fantasies of escape and shooting the guards, and ending his own life.
After the discussion between the authors ended, audience members had the chance to ask the Moore questions.
When asked if Moore made a list of things to do once he was freed, Moore replied he didn’t make one because, “I didn’t think I’d ever get freed after spending two years there.” He did, however, write down food recipes because he had missed proper food for so long.
Another audience member asked Moore how he felt about his friends and family when he was held captive. “You think about your family and friends, and you might die without seeing them and worry you didn’t love them enough” Moore answered. He then talked about how his connection to material things has faded, while his connection to friends and family has grown.
After the Q&A session, Moore and Finnegan stuck around to sign books and chat with fans.
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