Jean Sasson met Mayada Al-Askari on a trip to Baghdad in 1998. One year later, Jean learned that Mayada had been taken without the knowledge of her family from the tiny print shop that she owned, and imprisoned in the notorious Baladiyat Prisonheadquarters of Saddam Husseins infamous secret police.Mayadas story both past and present is truly incredible. Her family was one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other was the first true Arab nationalist (admired greatly by Saddam Hussein). Her uncle was Prime Minister of Iraq for nearly forty years; her mother, an important government official.From personal meetings with Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali to raising two small children as a single mother, Mayadas life was at once privileged, yet carefully balanced. But life can shift quickly in Iraq and Mayada finds herself thrown into a small cell with seventeen other women. The shadow women. The women rally around each other to share their unbelievable stories and in so doing gain the strength to survive. The names of the shadow women are scrawled in charcoal onto the cell wall in the hopes that one day one of them will make it out to tell others of their existence. This is Mayadas courageous story, but also that of her sisters.