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Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations Hardcover – May 18, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 275 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After a harrowing childhood lived according to a particularly strict interpretation of Muslim law, Somali-born Ali (Infidel) escaped to Europe rather than move to Canada to marry a man she'd never met. Arriving in Holland, she soon became an international cause célèbre for her willingness to publicly denounce the uglier sides of Islamic culture, particularly as in certain regions it oppresses women and girls. Many personal stories are repeated from her earlier accounts, but here Ali adds the story of her immigration to the U.S., and as always, her writing can be moving, as she bares heartrending moments such as her father's death. But with this third memoir, she has become tiresomely repetitive, and her wholesale condemnation of an entire religion and the multiple cultures it has engendered is so sweeping and comprehensive, and her faith in Western values (particularly her romantic view of Christianity) is so wide-eyed, that the book ultimately reads like a callow exercise in expressing the author's own sense of aggrievement. (May)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

While a few critics embraced Hirsi Ali for her intellectual integrity and bravery, most found her indictment of Islam too hard to swallow. Several reviewers argued that it is nearly impossible to generalize about a religion with more than one billion adherents. Others wrote that Hirsi Ali seems both oblivious to situations where Islam has brought peace and meaning into people's lives and naive about American culture, nomadic as she has been. But even the strongest critics of the book found something to admire in Hirsi Ali's personal story of survival and self-transformation. That said, if you haven't read her first memoir, start there--it's by far the better book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439157316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439157312
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ayaan Hirsi Ali related her physical journey from the Islamic tribal culture, beliefs and traditions in her book "Infidel". In her newest book she makes a personal and emotional exodus from Islam and describes her culture shock experiences during assimilation into Western Society.

The memoir is divided into four distinct sections, "A Problem Family", "Nomad Again", "Sex, Money, Violence" and "Remedies".

In "A Problem Family" she is reunited with her father on his deathbed in London. Ayaan publicly renounced Islam after of the 9-11 bombings causing her entire extended family to disown her, a rift that lasted until June 2008. She reconnects with her mother(one of her father's 4 wives), brother and cousins after her father's death. If you have read "Infidel" you know about the violent, dysfunctional world that made up her childhood. She finds little has changed, describing it as 'Gender Apartheid'.

Ayaan recounts her years making the rounds in the lecture circuit in "Nomad Again". She speaks against female genital mutilation, honor killings, and the control of female will through the veil. She notes American naviete disbelieving that these atrocities happen in Muslim communities within the USA. Ayaan counsels against complacency of the rise of Islam in America, believing younger and more impressionable people will be radicalized through slick jihadist tactics. She reminds us the Ft Hood killer was not indoctrinated into radical Muslim beliefs in an Islamic country but in the United States where he was a member of the our military.

"Sex, Money and Violence" deals with obstacles to true integration of Muslim communities in the West. Western education (critical thinking) is in direct contrast to Islamic teachings, especially the education of females.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't want to spoil the book for people who are just checking reviews. But I would like to say that I consider Ayaan to have made some very interesting and unique arguments, and argues viewpoints that may make her unpopular even with liberals and atheists, who normally stand behind her. I think this book, as much or more as her other books, makes her stand out as truly a brave, enlightened, and perceptive woman--not to mention incredibly well educated and eloquent. I recommend everyone read her books for a different opinion on the problems of integration of immigrants into Western society, and the dangers of being overly tolerant to the point of simply acquiescing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On May 29, 1453, the city of Constantinople, the Eastern capital of the Roman Empire, fell to invading Turks, ending a thousand years of Byzantine rule and beginning a push to conquer the rest of the Roman Empire that lasted over two hundred years. That push ended on 14 July 1683, when the Ottoman armies under the command of Kara Mustafa Pasha were defeated at the Battle of Vienna. For the next 250 years, the Islamic world gave up its dreams of conquest and turned inward. Science, history, literature and the arts were neglected in favor of religious study. The Islamic world that had once counted itself one of the most advanced societies on globe slowly ground to a halt.

And then, in 1928, something happened that was to change the course of modern Islamic history. A group of Sunni Egyptians formed what became the Moslem Brotherhood, a group whose central tenet was that the Koran should be the "sole reference point for ... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state." They had a lofty goal: To remake the entire world in this image. The movement grew, and one of its converts was a scholar by the name of Hirsi Magan Isse- the father of author Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Despite her father's elevated status and education, Ali was treated from the beginning in a way that seems frightening, almost primitive, to those of us raised in the West. Women in her world, she tells us, are mere chattel, the property of their fathers or husbands, kept only to bear sons or perform labor, and easily discarded when they no longer serve this purpose, or fall out of favor. Hirsi Ali's Grandmother was such a women, abandoned by her own husband when she did not produce any sons who lived to maturity.
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Ayaan Hirsi Ali's 2008 autobiography, "Infidel", a runaway bestseller, has justifiably become famous in the two years since it was published. "Nomad" is eloquent continuation of her startlingly eventful life story and an further elaboration of her ideas. Together they will probably be remembered--for their consequences as much as their passion & intelligence--as the 1845 "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave" is remembered today. (Douglass updated his own story with new books as he campaigned to end slavery.)

Comparing a religious defection to a physical escape from slavery is an inherently specious analogy--or is it? Wouldn't it be like comparing the body count of Nat Turner's Rebellion to that of suicide bombers and holy assassins? Slavery has a long, ugly history in human affairs, but has at last been eradicated in the modern world. Its few remaining pockets (and advocates) are virtually all in pre-modern Islamic countries. So maybe linking slavery and Islam isn't such a stretch.

One common way of distinguishing cults and religions is by the degree they seek to control believers. The word "Islam" itself means submission and as Ayaan's stories show, submission is the defining feature of Islamic life--escalating exponentially if you're female. Many Islamic women are de facto slaves. The second most common Muslim name is "Abdullah", the Slave of God. Mohammed (the ideal Muslim) executed and enslaved his enemies and their families en masse. Blasphemy or leaving the faith is a capital crime. By this "control standard" Islam, despite its billion plus adherents is more a cult than the Branch Davidians; the prophet outdoes Rev. Jim Jones.
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