Saving Sam

The True Story of an American’s Disappearance in Syria and His Family’s Extraordinary Fight to Bring Him Home


By Sam Goodwin

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$39.00 CAD

A gripping testament of resilience, family, and faith, this is the incredible and true story of an American traveler who was captured and wrongfully imprisoned in Syria while on a journey to experience every country in the world.
What would you do if your son suddenly disappeared in Syria, and you had no idea what had happened to him? Would you contact the FBI? The State Department? Pray? Would you Google “What to do if your son disappears in Syria”?
When the unthinkable happened, the answer, in the case of Ann Goodwin and her husband Tag, was: all of the above. Their 30-year-old son Sam, who was attempting to become one of the few people in history to travel to every single country on the planet, vanished in a supposed safe-zone run by the Kurds on the Turkish border. At first, they didn’t even realize he had been abducted: maybe the phone reception had gone down, they told themselves, as had happened plenty of times before when Sam was in an off-the-beaten-path place. Just wait, he’ll call back soon.
But Sam never did call back, and over the coming days, the horror of their situation quickly bore down on the Goodwins, a devout Catholic family of seven living a middle-class suburban lifestyle in St. Louis, Missouri. Frustrated and increasingly terrified, the Goodwin’s came to realize that they couldn’t rely on their government to save Sam. They were going to have to do it themselves.
This is the extraordinary story of Sam’s abduction by the Syrian regime, who threatened to hand him over to ISIS for beheading if he did not confess to being a CIA spy. It’s also the story of a Midwestern American family who transformed themselves into their own detective agency, building up a network of journalists, hostage negotiators, Middle East experts, Russian diplomats, Vatican envoys, and shady mercenaries, until eventually – by nothing short of a miracle – they found a secret backdoor into the heart of the Syrian intelligence service itself.
Through multiple first-person narrators, Saving Sam recounts an inspiring and unforgettable saga that includes a travel journey to every country in the world, famous celebrities, heads of state, high-stakes diplomacy and critical life lessons around curiosity, uncertainty, prayer and what it ultimately means to be free. In a genuine, straightforward and sometimes humorous style, Sam draws on his experience as a hostage to demonstrate how we can all turn our own adversities into assets, whether it be in our personal, professional or spiritual lives.


On Sale
Sep 10, 2024
Page Count
288 pages
Center Street

Sam Goodwin

About the Author

Sam Goodwin is an American entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. A former Division I collegiate hockey player, he is one of the few people who have traveled to all 193 countries in the world, and also the only American civilian to be released from captivity by the Assad regime. As an international keynote speaker, his message has inspired audiences and added value to hundreds of organizations around the world. Sam grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and currently lives in Washington, DC, where he earned a doctorate in international affairs from Johns Hopkins SAIS and serves on the boards of multiple advocacy organizations.

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