The Cave: A Secret Underground Hospital and One Woman's Story of Survival in Syria (Hardcover)

The Cave: A Secret Underground Hospital and One Woman's Story of Survival in Syria By Amani Ballour, Rania Abouzeid Cover Image

The Cave: A Secret Underground Hospital and One Woman's Story of Survival in Syria (Hardcover)


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This searing memoir tells the story of a young doctor and activist who ran an underground hospital in Damascus, humanizing the enduring crisis in Syria.

Simply put, there is no one in Syria with a story like Dr. Amani Ballour's. The only woman to have ever run a wartime hospital, she saved her peers from the atrocities of war while contending with the patriarchal conservatism around her. 

Growing up in Assad’s Syria, Ballour knew she wanted to be more than a housewife, even as her siblings were married off in their teens. As the revolution unfolded, she volunteered at a local clinic and was thrown into the deep end of emergency medicine. Among the facets of this powerful tale: Becoming a hospital director. Shielding children from a horrific sarin attack. Losing colleagues. Attempting to employ more women. Abandoning the hospital. Becoming a refugee. Moving forward.   

Amani Ballour is a game changer who, like Malala Yousafzai, will be remembered as one of history’s great heroines. Growing up in a closely confined society, she dared to dream—first of an education, then of a career—that allowed her to make her mark on the world and protect the country she loves. A passionately committed humanitarian, she is determined that others will escape the horrors she survived.
Amani Ballour, M.D. is an internationally acclaimed humanitarian who advocates for women and children. She graduated from the University of Damascus in 2012 before running an underground medical facility, under attack from the Assad regime, known as The Cave. In 2018, Ballour was displaced to northern Syria before settling in the U.S. in 2021. A recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Prize, she lives in New Jersey.

Rania Abouzeid is a multi-award-winning journalist who has reported from across the Middle East and South Asia for some two decades. The author of No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria and Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True Stories of Survival and Hope in Syria, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Time magazine, National Geographic, and many other outlets. She lives in Beirut, Lebanon.
Product Details ISBN: 9781426222740
ISBN-10: 1426222742
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly

"Ballour delivers a bruising memoir about her efforts to provide medical care amid her homeland’s ongoing civil war...Her narrative stands out for its attention to the daily logistical challenges of practicing medicine during wartime."—Publisher's Weekly