Penguin Speakers Bureau

David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill

Authors of A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

Photo by Erik Swain


In November 2008, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Rohde traveled to meet a Taliban commander outside Kabul. The interview was risky, but Rohde hoped it would be the final piece in a book he was writing about the Afghan war. A few days later, he would return home to New York to be reunited with the woman he married just two months earlier, Kristen Mulvihill, and begin their new life together.

But the interview was a trap. Rohde, the Afghan journalist working with him, and their driver were kidnapped by Taliban militants and taken deep into the tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan. For the next seven months, they were spirited from one Taliban stronghold to the next as their abductors kept a wary eye out for American drone attacks. In the process, Rohde became the first American to see close-up the thriving terrorist ministate that the Taliban has established inside Pakistan.

Back in New York, Rohde’s wife, Kristen Mulvihill, struggled to navigate a labyrinth of conflicting agendas, misinformation, and lies. Her life became agonizing and surreal as she shuttled between the celebrity photo shoots she oversaw at Cosmopolitan magazine and private meetings with the FBI.

David Rohde, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for helping uncover the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia for The Christian Science Monitor and his second in 2009 as part of the New York Times team covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kristen Mulvihill has been a fashion and photography editor at various women’s magazines including Marie Claire and Self. Most recently, she was the photography director of Cosmopolitan magazine. She is also a painter and illustrator.

David and Kristen both grew up in New England and graduated from Brown University. They live in New York.

Speaking Topics

  • A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

More About This Speaker

Featured Book

A Rope and a Prayer

"A Rope and a Prayer is an amazing and devastating book—not merely a story of human captivity, but also a tale of marriage, friendship, patience, and faith."

– Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

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