The Bad Ass Librarians Of Timbuktu
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To save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven in this “fast-paced narrative that is…part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract, and part out-and-out thriller” (The Washington Post). In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door. “Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey….Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” (The New York Times Book Review) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist “has all the elements of a classic adventure novel” (The Seattle Times), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.
Describes how a group of Timbuktu librarians enacted a daring plan to smuggle the city's great collection of rare Islamic manuscripts away from the threat of destruction at the hands of Al Qaeda militants to the safety of southern Mali.
Hammer has pulled off the truly remarkable here-a book that is both important and a delight to read ... It is also an inspirational reminder that, even as the forces of barbarism extend their thrall across so much of the Muslim world, there are still those willing to risk everything to preserve civilization. A superb rendering of a story that needs to be told.' - Scott Anderson, author of Lawrence in Arabia To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean's Eleven. In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world's greatest and most brazen smugglers. In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned unmarried couples to death and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer has visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara's heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali's-and the world's-literary heritage. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring and entertaining account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary, analysis and review of the book and not the original book. Joshua Hammer's harrowing tale, "The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu" tells the story of the secret mission to smuggle almost 400,000 manuscripts from Timbuktu in a fascinating and in-depth look at a piece of history many are unfamiliar with. This SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis offers supplementary material to "The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu" to help you distill the key takeaways, review the book's content, and further understand the writing style and overall themes from an editorial perspective. Whether you'd like to deepen your understanding, refresh your memory, or simply decide whether or not this book is for you, SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis is here to help. Absorb everything you need to know in under 20 minutes! What does this SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis Include? An Executive Summary of the original book Editorial Review Key Takeaways and analysis from each chapter Chapter-by-chapter summaries A short bio of the the author Original Book Summary Overview Joshua Hammer's, "The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts" tells the true-life story of Abdel Kader Haidara's secret mission to smuggle 377,000 centuries-old manuscripts out of Timbuktu during the 2012 jihadi occupation of northern Mali. Hammer's book is packed with thrill-a-minute adventures well-told by one of today's most prominent journalists. This action-packed narrative is a great read not only for history buffs and bibliophiles, but for anyone who wants to understand more about the rise of radical Islam and the way events have unfolded leading up to the modern-day Middle East. BEFORE YOU BUY: The purpose of this SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis is to help you decide if it's worth the time, money and effort reading the original book (if you haven't already). SUMOREADS has pulled out the essence-but only to help you ascertain the value of the book for yourself. This analysis is meant as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, "The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu."
'An exemplary work of investigative journalism that is also a wonderfully colourful book of history and travel' Observer, Books of the Year 'A piece of postmodern historiography of quite extraordinary sophistication and ingenuity... [written with] exceptional delicacy and restraint' TLS The fabled city of Timbuktu has captured the Western imagination for centuries. The search for this 'African El Dorado' cost the lives of many explorers but Timbuktu is rich beyond its legends. Home to many thousands of ancient manuscripts on poetry, history, religion, law, pharmacology and astronomy, the city has been a centre of learning since medieval times. When jihadists invaded Mali in 2012 threatening destruction to Timbuktu's libraries, a remarkable thing happened. A team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit the precious manuscripts into hiding. Based on new research and first-hand reporting, Charlie English expertly tells this story set in one of the world's most fascinating places, and the myths from which it has become inseparable.
Yokohama Burning is the story of the worst natural disaster of the twentieth century: the earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis of September 1923 that destroyed Yokohama and most of Tokyo and killed 140,000 people during two days of horror. With cinematic vividness and from multiple perspectives, acclaimed Newsweek correspondent Joshua Hammer re-creates harrowing scenes of death, escape, and rescue. He also places the tumultuous events in the context of history and demonstrates how they set Japan on a path to even greater tragedy. At two minutes to noon on Saturday, September 1, 1923, life in the two cities was humming along at its usual pace. An international merchant fleet, an early harbinger of globalization, floated in Yokohama harbor and loaded tea and silk on the docks. More than three thousand rickshaws worked the streets of the port. Diplomats, sailors, spies, traders, and other expatriates lunched at the Grand Hotel on Yokohama's Bund and prowled the dockside quarter known as Bloodtown. Eighteen miles north, in Tokyo, the young Prince Regent, Hirohito, was meeting in his palace with his advisers, and the noted American anthropologist Frederick Starr was hard at work in his hotel room on a book about Mount Fuji. Then, in a mighty shake of the earth, the world as they knew it ended. When the temblor struck, poorly constructed buildings fell instantly, crushing to death thousands of people or pinning them in the wreckage. Minutes later, a great wall of water washed over coastal resort towns, inundating people without warning. Chemicals exploded, charcoal braziers overturned, neighborhoods of flimsy wooden houses went up in flames. With water mains broken, fire brigades could only look on helplessly as the inferno spread. Joshua Hammer searched diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts and conducted interviews with nonagenarian survivors to piece together a minute-by-minute account of the catastrophe. But the author offers more than a disaster narrative. He details the emerging study of seismology, the nascent wireless communications network that alerted the world, and the massive, American-led relief effort that seemed to promise a bright new era in U.S.-Japanese relations. Hammer shows that the calamity led in fact to a hardening of racist attitudes in both Japan and the United States, and drove Japan, then a fledgling democracy, into the hands of radical militarists with imperial ambitions. He argues persuasively that the forces that ripped through the archipelago on September 1, 1923, would reverberate, traumatically, for decades to come. Yokohama Burning, a story of national tragedy and individual heroism, combines a dramatic narrative and historical perspective that will linger with the reader for a long time.
In the months leading up to the American invasion of Iraq, this New Yorker correspondent “embedded’ himself among the people of Baghdad and, along with a small number of other Western reporters, rode out the entire invasion and much of the subsequent occupation from inside the city. Jon Lee Anderson’s dispatches from Baghdad were immediately and widely recognized as the most important writing anyone was doing on the war anywhere, for any publication. In recognition of its significance, The New Yorker routinely held the magazine open an extra day and set up a special production team to deal with the pieces; around the office, comparisons to John Hersey’s fabled article “Hiroshima” were flying. The Fall of Baghdad is not a collection of New Yorker pieces, though; it is an original and organically cohesive narrative work that tells the story of what the people of Baghdad have endured at the hands of Saddam Hussein, during the war and during its aftermath. This is not a pro- or anti-war book; the point is to bear witness to what the people in this city have endured, to put a human face on a calamity of epic dimensions. The focus alternates among a small cast of characters, a group of disparate Iraqis who allow Anderson to bring to life different facets of the story he wants to tell; and he fills in the canvas around his figures with rich background that makes their significance sing, and helps bind the book together as the definitive reckoning with one of the most fateful stories of our time.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, this is a brilliant writer’s account of a long, painful, ecstatic—and unreciprocated—affair with a country that has long fascinated the world. A foreign correspondent on a simple story becomes, over time and in the pages of this book, a lover of Haiti, pursuing the heart of this beautiful and confounding land into its darkest corners and brightest clearings. Farewell, Fred Voodoo is a journey into the depths of the human soul as well as a vivid portrayal of the nation’s extraordinary people and their uncanny resilience. Haiti has found in Amy Wilentz an author of astonishing wit, sympathy, and eloquence.
“Timbuktu is a real place, and Charlie English will fuel your wanderlust with true descriptions of the fabled city’s past, present, and future.” –Fodor’s Two tales of a city: The historical race to “discover” one of the world’s most mythologized places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend. To Westerners, the name “Timbuktu” long conjured a tantalizing paradise, an African El Dorado where even the slaves wore gold. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, a series of explorers gripped by the fever for “discovery” tried repeatedly to reach the fabled city. But one expedition after another went disastrously awry, succumbing to attack, the climate, and disease. Timbuktu was rich in another way too. A medieval center of learning, it was home to tens of thousands—according to some, hundreds of thousands—of ancient manuscripts, on subjects ranging from religion to poetry, law to history, pharmacology, and astronomy. When al-Qaeda–linked jihadists surged across Mali in 2012, threatening the existence of these precious documents, a remarkable thing happened: a team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit the manuscripts into hiding. Relying on extensive research and firsthand reporting, Charlie English expertly twines these two suspenseful strands into a fraught and fascinating account of one of the planet's extraordinary places, and the myths from which it has become inseparable.
Falling in love against the backdrop of 19th-century Paris, struggling impressionist artist Claude Monet and the enigmatic Camille Doucieux carve out a life together that is threatened by Camille's dark past. By the National Book Award-winning author of The Physician of London. Reprint.