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Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia Paperback – January 1, 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Horwitz has the touch, the ability to astutely capture the ludicrous essence of an experience while filling in all the pertinent socio-historic details. He chews qat with the Yemenis, plays soccer with the Sudanese Dinka refugees and listens to an endless refrain of "You are the perfume of Iraq, oh Saddam" in Baghdad. Horwitz' eye and wit are equally sharp, and his book is an exceptionally good read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Horwitz ( One for the Road , Random, 1988), now a Wall Street Journal reporter, covered the Middle East in the late 1980s and returned to Baghdad in August 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait. With a sense of humor and eye for detail, he presents the turbulent Middle East from the vantage point of the "man in the street," whom we meet in traditional Yemeni villages, sophisticated Cairo, regimented Libya, disintegrating Sudan, a luxury hotel in the United Arab Emirates, and a seedy Baghdad nightclub. Among other adventures, the author attends the funeral of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. A Jewish American, he shows empathy for Arabs in the Middle East. The Kuwait crisis will focus attention on the two chapters on Iraq. In comparison with Christopher Dickey's Ex pats ( LJ 6/15/90) and Charles Glass's Tribes with Flags ( LJ 4/1/90), Horwitz's book better captures the point of view of the average person and covers more territory, omitting only Syria from his itinerary. A valuable and timely acquisition for public libraries.
- 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (January 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452267455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452267459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on December 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Some men follow their dreams, some their instincts, some the beat of a private drummer. I had a habit of following my wife.
-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 ›
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Another wonderful read by the journalist who brought us "Confederates in the Attic"! This book, which chronicles his stint as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and other publications from 1990 to 1991, captures the ludicrous essence of his experiences in the Middle East.
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.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Horwitz has delivered another very witty book that also enlightens. I have read his "Confederates in the Attic," an often hilarious writing that delves into the shadow of the Civil War in the current South.
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.
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