Banned Books
February 1, 2017 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this, I would love your recommendations for engaging non-fiction about the seven countries included in Trump's visa ban: Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Bonus points for good books about any of the first three.
posted by eugenen to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
A classic one would be Reading Lolita in Tehran. It's a beautiful book, if you haven't already read it!

Dave Egger's What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng is a novel based on the live of a Sudanese refugee. Egger's is polarizing, and this is technically a novel, but this book absolutely gutted me and is an amazing introduction to what horrors the Lost Boys of Sudanese faced.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 1:39 PM on February 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

TIm Mackintosh-Smith has two books on Yemen. I've read the frst Yemen:The Unknown Arabia
posted by JPD at 1:41 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Steven Charles Caton's "The Peaks of Yemen I Sunmon" presents a view of Yemeni folklore and poetry. Google Books link:

A houseguest gave it to me when I was reading about oral traditions for storytelling; it compelled me to visit Yemen and to study Yemeni Arabic language.
posted by lasagnaboy at 1:51 PM on February 1, 2017

Peter Little's Somalia: Economy without State is especially interesting if you have anarchist leanings. From blurb: Little focuses on those who have managed to carve out a productive means of making ends meet under difficult conditions and emphasizes the role of civic culture even when government no longer exists.
posted by bertran at 2:34 PM on February 1, 2017

I just finished Arabia Felix by Thorkild Hansen, about a doomed 18th century Danish expedition to Yemen. It's really great!
posted by Hypatia at 2:34 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can read Churchill's account of the Mahdist war for free.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:47 PM on February 1, 2017

Iraq + 100 is a collection of Iraqi writers exploring visions of the country in 2103. A few of the stories I didn't fancy much but there were some really brilliant ones in there.
posted by Lluvia at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Thesiger

"During the years he spent among the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, Wilfred Thesiger came to understand, admire and share a way of life that had endured for many centuries. Travelling from village to village by canoe, he won acceptance by dispensing medicines and treating the sick. In this account of his time there, he pays tribute to the hospitality, loyalty, courage and endurance of the people, describes their impressive reed houses, the waterways and lakes teeming with wildlife, the herding of buffalo and hunting of wild boar, moments of tragedy and moments of pure comedy, all in vivid, engaging detail."

Between 1951 and 1958.
posted by ITravelMontana at 5:32 PM on February 1, 2017

"TIm Mackintosh-Smith has two books on Yemen. I've read the frst Yemen:The Unknown Arabia"

I've read the second! Yemen: Travels in Dictionaryland

Slightly too many digressions into qat-chewing for my taste but I gather that is also true of Yemen.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:34 PM on February 1, 2017

Elizabeth Fernea's books.
posted by brujita at 6:43 PM on February 1, 2017

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