- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 1 edition (June 18, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442214775
- ISBN-13: 978-1442214774
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,005,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fear and Faith in Paradise: Exploring Conflict and Religion in the Middle East 1st Edition
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Counter to the homogeneous portrayal of the Middle East and North Africa in American media, Karber reveals the kaleidoscope of cultures, ethnic identities, and belief systems that comprise the region. Beginning in 2006 in Syria and concluding in 2011 in Tunisia, Karber traveled through the Middle East, witnessing critical periods of humanitarian distress and political foment from the 2006 Lebanon War to the postwar development of Kurdistan to the birth of Arab Spring. He shows genuine enthusiasm and curiosity for the people and places he visits as well as an understanding of, and sensitivity to, the diverse cultures of the region. Throughout his travels, Karber engaged locals in discussions on their perceptions of the U.S. and on the political climate in their own country. He couches these conversations in the wider history of the region, weaving in historical events dating back to BCE. A fascinating travel memoir and a revealing look at the devastating toll that war has taken on the Middle East. (Booklist)
Karber, a travel writer whose previous books have explored Africa and Indochina, now turns his focus to the Middle East and parts of Muslim North Africa, chronicling for the reader his travels through Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, and Tunisia, where he attempts to understand the history and the culture of the region as a lens through which to view the turbulent political climate of the past decade. Karber is intrepid and inquisitive, with a lyrical prose style and a commendable eye for detail, and he has done copious background research, which makes the book rich with historical context. . . . The book is well worth reading, since it offers a fascinating glimpse into some underexplored countries and adds valuable color and context to the headlines. (Publishers Weekly)
It will be a huge mistake if Karber's Fear and Faith in Paradise gets labeled merely a travel book. While his vivid and entertaining descriptions of his travels among the people of the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond paint for us a clear understanding of their communities, cultures, politics (or lack thereof), and beliefs, the book's real strength is the insight it provides into the lack of understanding and trust our leaders and we, as Americans, have of the Muslim world—and theirs of the United States. In this turbulent and uncertain Arab Spring and post-9/11 era, it is a must read for our leaders and policy makers and all of us who put them in power. (John Lancaster, board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace)
Phil Karber is part scholar, part seeker and full-on adventurer, a boots-on-the-ground writer who has regularly been drawn to some of the world's most complex and turbulent places. He began exploring North Africa and the Middle East years ago—sleeping rough, eating local, hitching rides. And now, with Fear and Faith in Paradise, he has delivered a riveting, poignant and up-to-the-minute account of the region, from its history, peoples and cultures to its modern politics and recent upheavals. This book is a guide, a compass, a marvel. (Mark McDonald, foreign correspondent for the International Herald Tribune and New York Times)
Fear and Faith in Paradise comes to us from Phil Karber as everyman . . . on the road. Not a historian, nor a development worker. Not a sociologue, nor a novelist. But rather, he invites, 'Come with me, America, and sit by my side,' as this incorrigible native son moves among foreign people. (David Holdridge, founder and president, Bridging the Divide)
About the Author
Phil Karber is an award-winning travel writer. He is the author of The Indochina Chronicles: Travels in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and Yak Pizza to Go: Travels in an Age of Vanishing Cultures and Extinctions. Since the mid-nineties he has called home Nairobi, Kenya; Hanoi, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; and East London, South Africa. He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit the author on his website here.
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In it you will meet Walid, the fixer at the Baron Hotel in Aleppo, and his son Mohammed, Karber's driver in his trek across Syria; Abdullah, the manager of the guest house in Hama; Abdul and his Pontiac Eight racing 90-miles an hour on the Damascus Highway; Ghousson Arnuk, a volunteer with the Syrian Red Crescent and Hani, another volunteer, at a refugee center in Damascus; David Holdridge, director of Mercy Corps Middle East in Beirut, and his wife Annie; Farid Chrabieh, Karber's dragomanon a tour along the Lebanon coast and through the Qadish Valley; Mira Mahdavi, a very independent Iranian woman and Karber's guide through Iran; Sayyid Jousiane, an instructor at an Islamic Shiite seminary; and Idder Mournier, an aspiring politician in Marrakech, to name a few.
In all of his encounters, Karber let's the people he meets speak for themselves, without embellishment or explanation, and lets the readers listen and form their own opinions. Fear and Faith is a tableau of the Middle East and its people, rich in deatail and full of historical facts. The author is a seasoned traveller and not a tourist. The places he visits are not resorts. In Fear and Faith, Karber lets us meet the people who are living through the change and turmoil in the region. He humanizes the communities that he visits and what emerges from this book is a picture of the Middle East that is different from what we see in most media. It is a region filled with "people like us" with perceptions and misconceptions about the U.S. and the West informed by their experiences against the backdrop of revolution, civil war, and uncertainty.
Read this book if you want to know what the people of the Middle East think of Americans. You will learn something new. It will give you hope.