In 1987, American housewife Betty Mahmoody published Not Without My Daughter, which became a sensation. In the book, Betty claimed that she and Mahtob, her five-year-old daughter, had been kidnapped from the USA in 1984 and imprisoned in Tehran by her Iranian husband, Dr Sayed Mahmoody - aka 'Moody' - a man she vilified as a violent, sadistic monster. Betty's story culminated with a dramatic escape, as she takes her daughter from Iran over the Zagros Mountains and into Turkey. The book sold 12 million copies and inspired the 1991 Hollywood film of the same name, starring Oscar-winner Sally Field. For twenty years Betty's husband has kept silent. Now, in Lost Without My Daughter, Sayed Mahmoody finally reveals the astonishing truth. As well as being a moving, frank story of a once happy family's collapse, and a father's subsequent search for meaning in his life, Lost Without My Daughter is also a cultural and political history of Iran, from the revolution to the present day. Perhaps more than anything, it is an exercise in truth, the last-ditch attempt of a father desperate to reach his daughter, to let her kw that he is t the monster he has been portrayed to be.
Dr Sayed Mahmoody was an aristocratic Iranian by birth, and was raised by his sister after being orphaned when he was eight years old. After qualifying as a doctor, he worked in America for more than twenty years (1961-1984) and established a successful practice. He never remarried after Betty left him, and worked full-time as an anaesthetist and university lecturer in Tehran. Dr Mahmoody passed away unexpectedly in August 2010.