Baghdad Sketches

Baghdad Sketches : Journeys Through Iraq

3.93 (130 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Freya Stark Collection Freya Stark first journeyed to Iraq in 1927. Seven years after the establishment of the British Mandate, the modern state was in its infancy and worlds apart from the country it has since become. During her many years in Iraq, Freya Stark was witness to the rise and fall of the British involvement in the country as well as the early years of independence. Typically - and controversially - she chose to live outside the close-knit western expatriate scene and immersed herself in the way of life of ordinary Iraqis - living in the 'native' quarter of the city and spending time with its tribal sheikhs and leaders. Venturing out of Baghdad, she travelled to Mosul, Nineveh, Tikrit and Najaf, where she perceptively describes the millennia-old tensions between Sunni and Shi'a, time not having dissipated their hatred. In the 1940s she returned again, this time travelling south, to the Marsh Arabs, whose way of life has now all but disappeared; north into Kurdistan and later, Kuwait, in the days before the oil boom.
Painting a portrait of both the political and social preoccupations of the day as exquisitely as she does the people and landscapes of Iraq, Baghdad Sketches is a remarkable portrait of the country as it once was.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 22.86mm | 246g
  • Tauris Parke Paperbacks
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1848856555
  • 9781848856554
  • 52,173

Table of contents

List of Illustration
Preface
The Desert Route
An Introduction from Damascus
In the Moslem Quarter
Marie the Armenian
Life in the Slum
The Making of a Nationalist
Concerning Smells
A Chapter of Discord
The Life of the River
A Visit in the Desert
European and American Ladies in Iraq
The Social Status of Ladies
Concerning Manners
A Syriac Christmas
Education
Ramadhan
The Fellahin
The Nisibin Road
The Young Effendi and the Sentimental Traveller
The Devil-Worshippers
The Death of Mandali
The Kuwait Journey
Kuwait. II 1937
Failichah
The "Slaves" Club
Cosmetics
Builton Sand
The 'Ashura
One of the Four Holy Cities of Iraq
Samarra and Tekrit
Nejf
Index
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Review quote

'It's hard to think of a writer in the travel game who most closely demonstrates the merits of Flaubert's three rules for good writing: clarity, clarity and finally clarity. Re-reading her now, her restrained powers of description shine as brightly as they ever did, and they will continue to shine until the next Ice Age... Her books are more relevant than ever. Besides sheer enjoyment, one should read her for a fresh perspective on the intractable issues dogging Christian-Muslim relations. She was able to see both sides and what she found was similarity, not difference. The greatest woman traveller of the 20th century? I think so.' - Sara Wheeler, The Times; 'It was rare to leave her company without feeling that the world was somehow larger and more promising. Her life was something of a work of art - The books in which she recorded her journeys were seductively individual - Nomad and social lioness, public servant and private essayist, emotional victim and mythmaker.' - Colin Thubron, NY Times; 'Few writers have the capacity to do with words what Faberge could do with gems--to fashion them, without violating their quality. It is this extraordinary talent which sets Freya Stark apart from her fellow craftsman in the construction of books on travel.' - The Daily Telegraph; 'Freya Stark remains unexcelled as an interpreter of brief encounters in wild regions against the backdrop of history.' - The Observer; 'It is... as the writer of beautiful, measured prose rather than as a traveller or as an exotic 'character' who wore Dior in the wilder reaches of Asia and Arabian dress in London, that Freya Stark will ultimately be remembered.' - The Independent; 'One of the finest travel writers of our century.' - The New Yorker; 'A Middle East traveler, an explorer and, above all, a writer, Freya Stark has, with an incomparably clear eye, looked toward the horizon of the past without ever losing sight of the present. Her books are route plans of a perceptive intelligence, traversing time and space with ease.' - Saudi Aramco World
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About Freya Stark

Freya Stark (1893-1993), 'the poet of travel', was the doyenne of Middle East travel writers. Her travels earned her the title of Dame and huge public acclaim. Her many, now classic, books include 'Traveller's Prelude', 'Ionia', 'The Southern Gates of Arabia', 'Alexander's Path', 'Dust in the Lion's Paw', 'East is West' and 'Valleys of the Assassins'.
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Rating details

130 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 25% (33)
4 47% (61)
3 24% (31)
2 4% (5)
1 0% (0)
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