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Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia Paperback – January 1, 1992
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From Library Journal
- James Rhodes, Luther Coll . , Decorah, Ia.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
-Tony Horwitz, Baghdad Without a Map
Tony Horwitz has a pretty good shtick going; he follows his journalist wife (Geraldine Brooks) from assignment to assignment, across
the globe, and then wangles freelance assignments in the new locale. In the meantime, he's produced three excellent books set in these
widely varied ports of call : One for the Road relates his adventures hitchhiking through the Australian Outback; Confederates in the
Attic is a very amusing account of Civil War reenactors in the American South; and Baghdad Without a Map takes him through the
Middle East in the year or so just prior to the 1991 Gulf War.
At a time when all of us are scurrying around trying to figure out what makes the Arab world so much different than the West, Horwitz
is an excellent guide. Whether listening to Egyptians denigrate Gulf Arabs ("The Gulfies had oil but they didn't have a civilization to
rival that of Egyptians, who were tossing up pyramids five thousand years before the Gulfies moved out of goat-hair tents"); getting
whacked on qat, the narcotic leaf that is the national passion of Yemen; or describing the oppressive atmosphere of Iraq--he compares
entering Iraq to "walking through the gate of a maximum-security prison"--Horwitz always manages to both make us laugh and scare the
bejeezus out of us. His portrait of the region is one of unrelenting paranoia on the part of the Islamic world.Read more ›
He's very much the central character as he chews an intoxicant called "Qat" with Yemenis, plays soccer with Dinka refugees in southern Sudan and travels with a pack of reporters to view corpses from the Iran-Iraq war. Through it all, he keeps a sense of humor and wry observation and, at the same time, gives insightful historical details of the countries his visits. The people he meets are memorable, his experiences are high adventure, and his viewpoint is something I can relate to.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. Mr. Horwitz is an excellent writer and I love reading about his journalistic exploits. I learned a bit about Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Libya, Sudan and Lebanon. Of course it was just a taste. There's just so much you can pack into a small 280-page book. However, sometimes this is the best way to learn -- in small doses and including his personal experiences that are not likely to appear in any news story. It left me yearning to know more. And that is what it basically set out to do.
The last chapter of the book was finished just before the Gulf War, but the author added an additional chapter in 1992 including his experience in Baghdad when the war started.
Highly entertaining and very informative.
Like "Confederates...," "Baghdad Without a Map" is breezy, funny and illuminating. The author spent three years in the Middle East in the period before the Gulf War. Stationed in Cairo, this free lance writer visited Israel (during the Infatada) Lebanon (during active warfare), Iraq (during its war with Iran), Iran (during Khomeni's funeral), Yemen, the Sudan and The U.A.Emerites and Libya. In each country, he gets off of the beaten track to meet with ordinary people and delve into their daily existence.
What emerges is a picture of life under Islam that as a whole is very much different from that experienced in the West, but one that also varies tremendiously among the individual countries. Each is shaped in a unique way by georgraphy, the relative lunacy of its political autocrats and history. The book serves to highlight some of the difficult problems facing many of the people in the region as well as the basic humanity and hope that can thrive even under trying circumstances.
Horwitz does not laugh at the people he meets, in fact he is quite sympathetic to many of them he becomes acquainted with. However, many of the situations in which they are placed as well as Horwitz's response while diving into very different cultures from his own are often witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny in the hands of this skilled observer and writer. This is one of those books that will cause you to chuckle and guffaw even in places of public quiet like the commuter train on which I ride.
His book is fast, very enjoyable and leaves the reader with something of substance after it's finished. A good book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book arrived on time, and in great condition for a used book. It didn't seem touched at all. Horwitz does a good job at describing his experiences in the Middle East and the stark... Read morePublished 1 day ago by jonah Conley
I love non-fiction and this book is best in class, mixing great writing, history and insightful observations. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Dawn Omaha
Excellent book. Horwitz always writes good books. I would like to know his thoughts about the situation in the Middle East today.Published 2 months ago by Gordon Peck
This is an earlier work of Tony Horwitz and the information is dated because it was written in 1992. Read morePublished 2 months ago by prairie woman
loved this book - and went back and ordered 3 more written by Tony HorwitzPublished 10 months ago by Mitch
After reading Blue Latitudes and Confederates in the Attic I was hopeful that this held up considering the change of the region. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Clev Landers
Anything Tony Horwitz writes is a trip ... no pun intended. I love seeing new places through the eyes of someone else. He can be laugh out loud.Published 17 months ago by Joan Altgelt