The Tightening Dark (Hardcover)

An American Hostage in Yemen

By Sam Farran, Benjamin Buchholz

Hachette Books, 9780306922718, 320pp.

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The riveting memoir of a Lebanese-Muslim-American and thirty-year US Marine veteran, who was seized in Yemen and spent six months in captivity--and an inspiring reminder that the best parts of the American dream are the dreamers

As air strikes carpeted Yemen's capital, Sam Farran, a Muslim American who had immigrated from Lebanon at an early age and spent thirty years serving his adopted country in the US Marine Corps, was one of the few Americans in the war-ravaged country. They were there to conduct security assessments for a variety of international firms. Days after their arrival, they were brutally seized, separated and taken hostage by Houthi rebels. Sam would spend almost half a year suffering a horrific ordeal that would test his endurance, his loyalty and his very soul.

Every day his Muslim captors asked him as a fellow Muslim to betray America--and to turn against what he had been for three decades: a proud Marine--in exchange for his freedom. Would he give in to the Houthis in exchange for freedom and a return to his Middle Eastern, tribal roots? In the end and despite the daily threats to his life, Sam found the strength to resist, and came out of his experience no longer a man of two countries, but rather an American.

The Tightening Dark is an intimate, riveting and inspiring memoir of heroic strength, courage, survival and commitment to country. And a reminder that the best parts of the American dream are the dreamers--those who pledge to being American whether born on American soil or not.

About the Author

Haisam "Sam" Farran was born in Lebanon but moved to the US at age ten. He joined the US Marines and served in many locations and in many roles around the world, culminating as a Warrant Officer working from the Military Attaché Office in Yemen, just after the bombing of the USS Cole in the early 2000s. Sam fell in love with Yemen and returned time and again to work there as an analyst and facilitator for US and other companies. Sam married a Yemeni woman and now lives in Beirut.

Benjamin Buchholz served in Yemen as the Chief of Attaché Operations at the US Embassy during and up to the Houthi overthrow of the Yemeni government. He is the author of the novel One Hundred and One Nights, the non-fiction book Private Soldiers, and with his wife a children's book, B is for Bunker. Ben lives in San Diego with his wife Lauren Avenius and two sons.