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Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos Paperback – August 1, 2010
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"Giving both an insider's and an outsider's view of the unfolding drama of Iraq, the memoir should prove worthwhile reading for anyone who has a keen interest in developments in the Middle East." - Book Pleasures
"We gain a picture of Baghdad beyond the Green Zone and through the eyes of a bright, young, idealistic humanitarian." - A Traveler's Library
"A must read." - East County Magaine
"You may not be able to lay Barefoot in Baghdad down for a while. This book will capture your interest." - South by Southwest
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins with Manal attempting to assist Kalthoum, a 16 year old girl who was married off at the age of 13, raped and abused, and escapes to the streets to become a prostitute. Manal's mission is to find a safe place for this girl before her family claims her and honorably executes her for dirtying their name.
This is a strong beginning and grabs my attention. Unfortunately, there are few things within the pages that hold my attention. Most of the book is Omar telling the reader about the politics of Iraq, including the different organizations and brutally painting the United States soldiers as insensitive and uncouth, describing their poor decisions regarding the war in Iraq, its occupation, and organizations that were wrong. At the same time, Omar contrasts her own work and decisions to live among the Iraqi downtrodden, her embracing of the Iraqi way, her sensitivity and Muslim lifestyle, and occasionally includes a brief story of her work as a humanitarian aid worker.
What disappointed me about this book is that I found Omar's agenda to be splashed on nearly every page that the military was wrong and she wanted nothing to do with them. She was an aid worker and balked at any association.Read more ›
Omar describes her daily battle to overcome prejudices in the society, which were present in many forms. She not only had to suppress her own misgivings about having to work sometimes in close conjunction with the US-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority, but also to persuade her Iraqi colleagues of the integrity of her intent. She asks a telling question at the outset of the memoir: "Who was better equipped to adapt within a country experiencing a period of tumultuous change than someone who had been raised with an ever-shifting identity?"
The redemptive nature of this tale, both on a personal and broader societal front, conveys a central message of hope overcoming what might so easily have been a position of despair.Read more ›
One reason I found this book interesting was that it provided a potential "Consider This" selection for the eleventh edition of my college textbook COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY (McGraw-Hill, 2012). In my textbook I have a chapter called "Intercultural Communication," and I am always on the lookout for possible "boxed" additions -- that is, sections that provide student readers with additional, insightful, and informative material that enhances, explains, or illustrates what is written in the text.
I have found Omar's explanation of her multiple identities instructive, and the fact that it gave her her "own secret superpower" a useful insight-especially in the variety of different ways she was able to make use of that power.
The second reason I found this book interesting is that I have engaged in a great deal of foreign travel, and Omar's description of and personal insights about Iraq are simply fascinating. Admittedly, many are personal -- and she states that at the outset. But, having lived in Bangladesh for 14 months, I agree and concur with her observations.
The third reason I found this book interesting is found in Omar's stories. They are captivating and heartwrenching, to say the least. The story of the five Iraqi girls inside an American trailer in the Green Zone (pp. 137-163) was especially touching.
The fourth reason this book is interesting is that it (along with a number of other books) well advertises the plight of women in many parts of the world. If you are a woman, and if you want to champion women's rights any place on the planet, this would be a good book to read to establish the foundation for strong arguments and to gather evidence for convincing disputation.
These four reasons alone are sufficient to recommend this book highly. It is interesting, insightful, and captivating.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't buy it for myself; the person I gave it to as a gift loved it.Published 6 months ago by Mary Ruth Harriss
Great perspective on day to day life in Iraq after the U.S. Invasion. Told with personal vigor and balance. Something that we loose in the daily sound bites that we hear.Published 11 months ago by Jane Smith
As a student of politics, Muslim women and in the midst of completing a MA degree focusing on conflict resolution in Iraq I was deeply moved by this book and grateful for the way... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Anisa
the life of women in the middle eastern countries. She was born there, grew up in the US and went back as an aide worker. A very interesting and tense story. BJLPublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fast moving true story of a Palestinian-American woman who leaves her parents in the U.S. to
help women in Baghdad in early 2000. Read more
Barefoot in Baghdad is going to be a hard book for me to review because I have very mixed feelings about it. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Just My Op