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Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women Paperback – December 1, 1995
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Geraldine Brooks spent two years as a Middle East news correspondent, covering the death of Khomeini and the like. She also learned a lot about what it's like for Islamic women today. Brooks' book is exceedingly well-done--she knows her Islamic lore and traces the origins of today's practices back to Mohammed's time. Personable and very readable, Brooks takes us through the women's back door entrance of the Middle East for an unusual and provocative view.
From Publishers Weekly
Having spent six years covering the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal, Brooks presents an exploration of the daily life of Muslim women and the often contradictory forces that shape their lives.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I found the book packed with vital, interesting, balanced information regarding religious practices in various Islamic countries. The author manages to cover the differences of attitudes and the attempts to make progress. She does a good job of explaining why some women, in the spirit of religious fever and anti-Western sentiment chose to start wearing a veil and even covering themselves from head to foot. It is hard for us in the west to accept this.
There is an good understandable discussion of the Koran and it is interpreted to require more seclusion and abuse that the prophet Mohammed required. Though I must state, the book is written by a woman who converted to Judaism. I assume that makes her statements unacceptable to many people who might read this.
This is a scholarly book with readable history of the Islamic countries and the various rulers of those countries. It also gave a good political analysis of how Western actions have helped increase fundamental fever rather than stop it (our misguided attempts have backfired). I also back came a conclusion that I had before I read the book. The only way Islamic women are going to gain some freedom from abuse is for them to find ways to lead their own people. Islamic men need to help and slowly they might make strides. I also had to resist injecting my own values into the reading of this - it was next to impossible but I did try.
The book does a fairly good job of describing the main branches of Islamic traditions and why they came about. I knew that there were two but did not know about the many sub branches and related traditions. Finally there is a wonderful section about women athletics and the competition of Islamic women from Russian dominated countries (fairly liberal) to those from traditionally conservative Islamic areas (little training available.)
I have a few minor negative comments. 1) the dictionary of terms is not go far enough. For instance there is a reference to a woman who is a Druse but nowhere was there an explanation of what a Druse is. 2) I would have liked a better understand what the term jihad really means to Islam. Many people believe all Muslims want to kill us. I think this is hardly true. But I would have like a deeper discussion of that point and similar attitudes to the west.
3) I would have liked to see a timeline on the progress of Islam and the major conflicts with Christianity as well as persecution from Judaism and other religions.
I know more now than I did when I started, but understand less.
Most recent customer reviews
Some of the ladies who did read it, liked it...