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Literature from the "Axis of Evil": Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations Hardcover – September 18, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Press; 1 edition (September 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595580700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595580702
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,089,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Reading Literature from the ‘Axis of Evil’ inevitably makes you think about whether art and literature can help prevent hatred and even war." —San Francisco Chronicle

"[It] has more to say about the historical complexities, conflicts, and nuances of so-called enemy nations than a hundred shelves of polemics and political rhetoric that clutter the front rows of our bookstores." —The Bloomsbury Review

"The best kind of armchair travel book, one that gifts its reader with the cultural understanding and appreciation that even travel doesn’t always provide. . . . If you read this book, you will know more than the Administration does about the cultures and people of America’s so-called enemy nations." —Maudnewton.com

About the Author

Alane Mason is a senior editor at W. W. Norton & Company. Dedi Felman is a senior editor at Oxford University Press and lives part-time in Princeton. Samantha Schnee is the former senior editor of Zoetrope: All-Story and lives part-time in Houston. All are editors at Words Without Borders and live primarily in New York City. Words Without Borders is an online magazine for international literature. A partner of PEN American Center, it is hosted by Columbia University and Bard College.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was published in 2006 and collected 21 works by 20 writers from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Cuba. There were 7 short stories, 7 excerpts from novels and 7 poems.

The countries were President George W. Bush's three "axis" nations, plus four others that have been called enemy nations. These nations have been rated by Freedom House among the world's most repressive societies in terms of political rights and civil liberties, with North Korea, Libya and Sudan at rock bottom, Cuba and Syria slightly higher, and Iran and Iraq just above them.

The collection wasn't intended to either attack or justify the nations, but to promote "international conversation through literature," show common humanity, dispel ignorance and stimulate curiosity. It did oppose the use of rhetoric like "axis of evil," which ignored great differences between the countries and peoples. It didn't pretend to give anything like a definitive insight into each nation's literature.

With only two to five pieces per country, some of them very short poems, only the briefest glimpses could be offered into each country. Iraq and North Korea had the greatest number of works, at four to five each. Each country was given only a cursory introduction. Iran was described as diverse, with both cosmopolitan and repressive elements, Libya was said to have some of the most severe restrictions on freedom of expression in the world. For North Korea, the editors said that contrary to expectations they'd been unable to locate any nonofficial literature. Writing from Sudan was likewise difficult to obtain. From Cuba, on the other hand, the editors had had an abundance of work to select from, much of it widely available in the United States.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Colleen on May 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Put together by Writers without Borders, I was sad to read of authors who backed out of this project out of fear of reprisal. Even the first short story of the Vice Principal reflects this fear alive in our world today. Censorship in the US of this misnommer of cultures (Axis of Evil) has encouraged me to read these verses, excerpts and short stories and want to pass the book on to another reader.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blusuede on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I think some reviewers are under the (incorrect) impression that this anthology is meant to be comprehensive or of a high literary caliber. Rather, the pieces serve their purpose by constructing bridges of understanding between the presumed Western reader and the cultures of the "Axis of Evil." The snippets of poems, stories and novels work well as introductions, spurring the reader to delve deeper into authors and cultures hitherto invisible.

Further, the entire book undercuts the narrative promoted by the US and other governments that seek to dehumanize disparate peoples based purely on their rulers. For that reason alone, this anthology is a triumph -- not just in presenting fresh and different points-of-view but also for reminding us that we have much more in common with far-flung peoples than ruling elites would have us believe.
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4 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Afarin Majidi on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I call this literature light and I do not believe that many writers backed out due to fear of reprisal. Writers right here at "home" in the U.S who are nationals live in fear and are silenced. And it's good to look into the lives of editors and publishers of books, see what their husbands do for a living, let's say, to see how honest these books really are. Nothing in this book addresss the current genocide against muslims, not in any real concrete way...this is bullshiite without borders.
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1 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son needed this book for college. Fast shipping and better price than local store.
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