American Mother

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By Colum McCann with Diane Foley

The English language has no specific word for the parent that has lost a child. There exist words for orphan, widow and widower, but there is no word that captures and conveys this tragic type of loss.

It has been eleven years since Diane Foley’s son, the American journalist James Foley, was kidnapped in northern Syria, and nearly ten since that day in August 2014 when she would learn that he had been murdered by ISIS in a public beheading that would ricochet in video around the world. A whole decade. Time rushes past. And yet, for Diane, that moment is unending.

In American Mother, legendary author Colum McCann tells Diane’s story as she recalls the months of his captivity, the efforts made to bring him home and the days following his death, in which Diane came face to face with one of the men responsible for her son’s kidnapping and torture. A testament to the power of radical empathy and moral courage, American Mother takes us inside one woman’s extraordinary journey to find connection in a world torn asunder, and to fight for others as a way to keep her son’s memory alive.

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