Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped by Sunni Muslim insurgents in Baghdad on Jan. 7, 2006.
Over the next 82 days, she was shuttled blindfolded among at least six safe houses and had closer contact with Sunni insurgents than any American who has lived to tell the tale.
She cooked with the women. She played with the children. She was locked away in rooms to the sound of cocking guns.
Deprived of control over the smallest aspect of existence, she feared for her life every day.
Her chief captor required his journalist hostage to "interview" him for hours at a time. He would expound on the insurgent worldview and the ruling council set up by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Ms. Carroll stared at the floor. She was afraid to meet his gaze, lest he decide that she knew too much about his features.
In her last hours of captivity this man told her: "Forget about the council. You can only say I am a member of a medium group. You can't talk about the women or the children. You have to say you were in one room the whole time. Everything is forbidden. You must forget it all."
She couldn't. This is her story.