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Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco Paperback – March 10, 2009


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Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco + Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[Allah's Garden] is a sad reminder of the cost of war in Western Sahara.... Hollowell's powerful narrative...is an excellent account of a humanitarian disaster...." -- James Sater, author of Morocco: Challenges to Tradition and Modernity

"Hollowell deserves kudos.... There are many reasons to read Allah's Garden: It's a fast-paced and well-written adventure story with few equals, especially as it's true. The warmth of the regard between author and subject is a palpable presence, effusing the reading experience with a tenderness uncommon in such stories...bringing readers more global awareness." -- New Spirit Journal

"Allah's Garden...uses many strategies that make a war tale both gripping and bearable. The build of tension...is well extended, keeping the reader on chair-edge. With an exquisite sense of balance, Hollowell manages to tell everything without tarrying too lengthily in gory or painful details. The book is a tour de force of blending authenticity with grace and taste." -- North West Prime Time

"[Allah's Garden] is a harrowing tale of the fate of more than 1700 Moroccans held as POWs...[it] is told with great sensitivity." -- Helen Ranger, author of Fez Encounter (Lonely Planet)

"A real page-turner... very psychologically astute. The images stick with the reader well beyond the pages." -- Café du Livre, Morocco

"[The main character] could be a tragic figure, given the suffering, but due to his persistence, kindness, and courage, this is an inspiring book." -- Ariele Huff, Seattle-based columnist & editor

ABOUT THE BOOK:
A former volunteer's riveting story of dire hardship, faith, and human courage, Allah's Garden focuses on a Moroccan doctor's 25-year imprisonment in the Sahara interwoven with the author's own adventures (and misadventures) in Morocco. For those who are traveling to Morocco and/or those who want to learn a little more about the country, its history, culture, politics, amazing destinations, and contrasting landscapes all combined into an unforgettable narrative, this book delivers.

About the Author

Hailing from Hoosier land (Indiana) and residing in Morocco, North Africa, Thomas Hollowell is the author of Allah's Garden, a true account of a Moroccan doctor held for 25 years in the Sahara Desert. Traveling well over 35 countries and territories, Thomas Hollowell continues to deliver engaging stories from across the globe to his readership.

Also by Thomas Hollowell: "The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Tales Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964142392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964142398
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Hollowell is the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running" along with "Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco," and "The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland." Happy reading!

Customer Reviews

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See all 18 customer reviews
It's definitely an interesting read.
Book Femme
I also have quite a pet peeve about someone who did not come close to finishing service taking the title of RPCV in biographies.
Kelly Violet
Hollowell does an excellent job of blending narrative with illuminating facts.
SCKilgore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sherice Jacob on May 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Right from the start, Allah's Garden will pull you in on an unforgettable journey. From the author's introduction to Morocco through the Peace Corps through Azzedine's tortured story and eventual release, Allah's Garden will keep you involved with a stirring story until the end. A must read for anyone interested in this fascinating country, its people, and the tumultuous history they've overcome.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ariele M. Huff on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I read Allah's Garden, I was struck by how balanced the narrative remained. Of course, the story of one of the longest held POWs in history is dramatic, but the telling gives a fairhanded treatment to all. This book exemplifies a blend of clear-eyed fact and fast paced action. I recommend it as a way to gain insight into the motivations and conditions in other parts of the world that often are little understood by Americans. A signicant contribution to the honest telling of a life story, Allah's Garden also sets the model for exploring circumstances that create wars and abuses of power.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Linda McGurk on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Allah's Garden isn't just an eye-opening read about a little-known war in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, it's also a heart-wrenching yet inspiring tale of survival despite all odds. Author Thomas Hollowell uses a creative literary narrative in order to bring to life the fate of one of the longest-held POWs in history, and he does a wonderful job of recreating historical events with extreme accuracy. The story is also interspersed with Hollowell's own encounter with Moroccan culture and its people during his brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer and, later, his travels around the country. Moving, relevant and intriguing, Allah's Garden gives the reader a rare insight into the plight of POWs everywhere. Read it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Molly K. Moran on December 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Thomas Hollowell's book, "Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco," is a fascinating narrative of the author's experience of being a young American living in Morocco and befriending a former Moroccan POW who was imprisoned for over 25 years in the Sahara Desert. The book is an exploration of the POW's experience of being captured; but, at the same time, it is a coming of age story about the author, and follows his life trajectory from growing up in idyllic small-town America to moving across the world to Morocco.

Mr. Hollowell gave an excellent presentation of his book to a group of teachers at an outreach seminar on "Health and Conflict in the Middle East" that I organized at Yale University; the teachers were in agreement that Mr. Hollowell's work was an excellent means for engaging junior high and high school students in learning about the Middle East and North Africa. Further, some pointed out that one of the most valuable parts of the story was learning about Mr. Hollowell's own journey to Morocco, and how that impacted his life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SCKilgore on October 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Allah's Garden opened my eyes to no only the struggle and conflicting emotions experienced by a prison of war, but also put a spot light on a larger human rights conflict I knew nothing about. Hollowell does an excellent job of blending narrative with illuminating facts. The mixing of his own cultural experiences with the often brutal nature of the Western Saharan conflict draws you, making you a part of the drama. If you want to expand your views on culture, religion, and the harsh truth of war, then you should read Allah's Garden.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Chenard on October 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
While participating in Yale University's Council for Middle Eastern Studies summer institute for educators focused on "Health and Conflict in the Middle East," I met Thomas Hollowell when he presented his new book to our class. Hollowell's compelling biography of this Moroccan prisoner-of-war is spellbinding. As the narrator, Hollowell provides the reader with the social, political, and historical context of the story; then, he translates his subject's words and allows him to present his first-hand account of the harrowing tale. This highly inspirational story conveys how a captured Moroccan soldier who served as a medical doctor endured twenty-five years of imprisonment under cruel and inhumane conditions without losing his mind or his deep faith. Death became part of his daily existence due to the harsh desert working conditions and the lack of adequate food and water. His courage and determination to survive and return to his family underscore the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend this book to all educators, Middle Eastern and North African enthusiasts, human rights advocates, and travel enthusiasts.
Susan Chenard, co-author of Running for All the Right Reasons: A Saudi-born Woman's Pursuit of Democracy
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Violet on May 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Though the main story (Azzedine's story) was interesting and I admire the author's wanting to get the story out, the autobiographical portion of the book was cringe-worthy, and the epitome of Generation Y: self-centered and self-aggrandizing.

First of all, the way that the author talks about the people in the village where he couldn't make it as a Peace Corps volunteer was insulting. He certainly fell into the trap of defining the people there as "The Other," and comes across as an arrogant jerk who couldn't handle being in the Peace Corps and blaming his shortcomings on the people he stayed with. As a former Peace Corps volunteer (and, no, I've never met the author; and, yes, I finished two years of service), this section infuriated me. It shows the "ugly American" in all its glory. I also have quite a pet peeve about someone who did not come close to finishing service taking the title of RPCV in biographies. If you didn't pay your dues, don't take credit for it.

To tell the story of his arrest without permission of the woman he was dating is atrocious. The intimate details he shared are horrifying, and it's entirely inappropriate and unethical to share that with a greater audience without her permission, even if her name is changed. I understand that the author claims that he is an expert on Morocco having lived there for so long and working in tourism, but it shows either a lack of cultural understanding or a lack of respect for him to publish this part of the story. I really felt like it was the mark of an arrogant young man trying to prove his street cred or show how "hard core" he is. Putting this in the same book as Azzedine's story is an insult to Azeddine.

I couldn't get past this. If the goal is to tell someone's story, do it.
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