Burned Alive

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Burned Alive: a Victim of the Law of Men is a best-selling book, ostensibly a first-person account of an attempted honor killing. The author, Souad, is described as a Palestinian woman now living in Europe who survived an attempted murder by her brother-in-law, who doused her with gasoline and set her on fire, at the urging of her family. The book was written as a result of repressed memory therapy.


According to the book, she forgot about the incident for two decades until it was recovered through repressed memory therapy. Thérèse Taylor, an Australian historian, has pointed out numerous medical, historical and cultural inconsistencies in the book that put its authenticity in doubt.[1]

Souad claims to have survived the attempt without medical assistance despite having burns to 70 percent of her body – a medical impossibility (a press release by the publisher of the US edition increased that figure to an even less plausible 90 percent).[2][3] Soaud also recalls her sister being choked with a telephone cord at a time when Palestinian villages did not have telephones. So far, there is no independent evidence to support the publisher's claim that the book is based on a true story or even that Souad exists at all. Taylor concludes her analysis by saying that she thinks it is likely that Souad no longer knows who she is or how she came to be burned.


  1. ^ Knox, Malcolm (April 13, 2005). "Historian challenges Palestinian bestseller". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  2. ^ Taylor, Thérèse (May 2, 2005). "Truth, History, and Honor Killing: A review of Burned Alive". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  3. ^ "Press Release: Burned Alive by Souad". Time Warner Book Group. Archived from the original on April 22, 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 

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