The Desert and the Sea, by Michael Scott Moore

Jean Oshima
2 min readNov 10, 2019

Michael Scott Moore was held captive by Somali pirates for 977 days. Let me repeat that: He was held captive for 977 days by pirates!

The story itself makes it a best-seller but it’s the telling of the story that makes it what I would consider an absolute masterpiece.

I am going to cheat here by quoting a review I found on Amazon. I listened to the book in Mr. Moore’s own voice on Audible, but this reviewer pretty much sums up how I feel about this amazing book. I will go a bit further to say I would really like to meet the author. The way he chose to experience captivity is fascinating to me and says a lot about his character as a person and a man. I fell in love with the way he dealt with his circumstances and his captors especially. And the way he writes/talks about his mom brought tears to my eyes more than once.

Here’s that review:

“Many of us live unaware of the flagrant gifts a civilized society extends to each one of us and how the pillars of our peaceful communities are taken for granted. Michael Scott Moore’s book, “The Desert and the Sea” will make you wake up from your western world slumber.

I just finished reading “The Desert and the Sea”. The cliche phrase, “I couldn’t put this book down” is true! The story moves along brilliantly; the author weaves the account of his captivity with cultural history, personal past mis-giving’s and captors’ odd personalists. To be perfectly honest, I did put the book down once or twice because I found myself absorbing the author’s pain and anxiety. Moore’s book was written so well, it touched my psyche deeply. His unjust imprisonment was wrong on so many levels and stomach turning. But I stepped away from the book to mostly reflect on the lethal combination of how poverty, lack of education, political chaos, and religious zeal can turn humans toward ugliness, entropy and insanity. The book shows us that Ideas are indeed powerful; both positive and destructive.”

Michael Scott Moore

Love this interview with Michael Scott Moore on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:

And this Tedx Talk with the author:

Originally published at on November 10, 2019.



Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer