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Elvis Is Titanic: Classroom Tales from the Other Iraq Hardcover – August 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307264564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307264565
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,860,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rhodes scholar Klaus chronicles a 2005 semester spent teaching the English language and U.S. history in Arbil, showing that the semiautonomous, historically distinct region of Iraqi Kurdistan also experiences many of the contrasts, tensions and challenges facing Iraq as a whole in the post-Saddam years. Hoping to give his students a better understanding of the actions and character of the United States, Klaus leads discussions of African-American history and pop culture that invite both teacher and students to consider how American history might inform the problems and decisions facing the ethnically, religiously and politically divided Iraqis. Although well liked, Klaus finds his perspective frequently challenged by his students. The reader, too, might question the otherwise keen-eyed Klaus's largely unexamined faith in free markets, elections and the good intentions of U.S. foreign policy, this last leading him to dismiss specific questions about Bush administration ties to the oil industry as unanswerable questions of conspiracy or fanciful tales of oil grabs. Nonetheless, these vignettes and profiles add welcome depth to the too homogenous image of the Kurds and Kurdish nationalism in the Western media. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In January 2005, after the first election in Iraq following the American occupation, Klaus began teaching American history and English at Salahaddin University in Arbil. A 26-year-old Rhodes scholar, Klaus was inspired by the curiosity of young Americans about the culture of the Middle East and the spirit of volunteerism of those wanting to do something more than fight in the war. So Klaus went among the Kurds. What he found were people equally curious about American culture, mostly holding favorable opinions but furious about the occupation and hungry for the opportunities that came with English-language skills. Negotiating checkpoints and the occasional explosive blast, Klaus adapted to the cultural mix. Young men interrupted prayer to answer cell phones; heavily made-up young women refused to shake hands for religious reasons. Klaus chose texts from disparate American voices, including Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman, and Elvis Presley. In this engaging book, Klaus places his experience within the broader context of history, philosophy, and religion tied into the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East. Bush, Vanessa

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
This is an excellent book: intelligent, incisive and entertaining.
Mertha
I think this book would be an eye opener for the many Americans that have not had any personal experience with people from third world countries.
R. Gwiazda
Also though it is very informative about the culture for the average American, I found the book lacking in depth.
Minehava

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mertha on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book: intelligent, incisive and entertaining. I learnt a lot about Iraqi Kurdistan (a part of Iraq we usually don't hear so much about), but also about American culture and values. In fact, it is the interplay between American values and how they are received in Kurdistan that makes this book so interesting. Plus, many of the classroom stories are just hilarious...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Bodhiman on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fresh and remarkably insightful look at what's going on in the Kurdish section of Iraq through the eyes and writing of a fresh and insightful young man for whom we can credit courage, respect and talent. His characters are real and interesting, as is he and the manner in which he shares with us his experiences with them. We should be reading more in the future from Ian Klaus.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Klaus digs deep in this well-writen narrative that's part ethnography, part history, and part philosophy, detailing a fresh American perspective on a still-complex and still-relevant part of the world--Iraqi Kurdistan.
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By Katherine Guerra on July 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful and fresh perspective on a area often given a single story. Looking forward to his next book!
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