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Publisher's Summary

Khorramshahr, Iran, May 1982 - It was the bloodiest battle of one of the most brutal wars of the twentieth century, and Najah, a 29-year-old wounded Iraqi conscript, was face to face with a 13-year-old Iranian child soldier who was ordered to kill him. Instead, the boy committed an astonishing act of mercy. It was an act that decades later would save his own life.

This is a remarkable story. It is gut-wrenching, essential, and astonishing. It's a war story. A love story. A story of vast moral dimensions. An eloquent and haunting act of witness to horrors beyond grimmest fiction, and a thing of towering beauty. More importantly, it is a story that must be told, and a richly textured view into an overlooked conflict and misunderstood region. This is the great untold story of the children and young men whose lives were sacrificed at the whim of vicious dictators and pointless, barbaric wars.

Little has been written of the Iran-Iraq war, which was among the most brutal conflicts of the 20th century, one fought with chemical weapons, ballistic missiles, and cadres of child soldiers.

The numbers involved are staggering:

  • All told, it claimed 700,000 lives - 200,000 Iraqis, and 500,000 Iranians
  • Young men of military service age - 18 and above in Iraq, 15 and above in Iran - died in the greatest numbers
  • At least 80,000 Iranian child soldiers were killed, mostly between the ages of 16 and 17
  • The two countries spent a combined 1.1 trillion dollars fighting the war

Rarely does this kind of reportage succeed so powerfully as literature. More rarely still does such searingly brilliant literature - fit to stand beside Remarque, Hemingway, and O'Brien - emerge from behind "enemy" lines.

But Zahed, a child, and Najah, a young restaurateur, are rare men - not just survivors, but masterful, wondrously gifted storytellers. Written with award-winning journalist Meredith May, this is literature of a very high order, set down with passion, urgency, and consummate skill. This story is an affirmation that, in the end, it is our humanity that transcends politics and borders and saves us all.

©2017 Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about I, Who Did Not Die

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  • Connie R Miner
  • 19-01-2021

Inspiring

I believe this an excellently told story from two points of view from opposite sides of a border and war. It shows that no matter what your differences or beliefs may be we are all still humans and love and live life to the best of our abilities. That we are really all the same at the core, no matter our religion, our country, or our political point of view. Something all of us need to remember now and forever!

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  • Margarita
  • 04-10-2020

Heart breaking and incredible twist of fate!

From the first word, I could not stop listening to this unbelievable true story! Highly recommended to me, this story will stay with you and will be passed on as a must read from person to person!

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  • Teri Rowell
  • 27-03-2019

Astonishing and informative

It blows my mind what a human can endure. Be aware, this is true and very graphic.
It moved me in so many ways.
You may think that you couldn't relate, but on a human level, we all have hopes and dreams, love and families.
I highly recommend this, even after all the ugliness there is real feel good story here.

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  • Donovan O'leary
  • 22-01-2019

Incredible

Finished it in 3 days. Absolutely incredible story. It will bring you to tears, make you grateful for the life you have, and open your eyes to the goings on of a world far away from yours.

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  • Isabel
  • 08-11-2018

Wow

This book is unbelievable in the best way. I went into this story not knowing as much as I should about the Iraq/Iran conflict and learned so much about the human side. This story is heartbreaking and epic, their struggles are horrific yet leave you with hope. I am a big fiction reader but this reads like the best fiction adventure made better by the fact that it's true.

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