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.
the bad ass librarians of timbuktu 3
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Everyday Faith in Sufi Senegal explores the historical, religious, cultural and economic contexts of Islam in Senegal through the narrative first-hand accounts of people's everyday lives. Drawing on rich ethnographic fieldwork conducted by the author over a period of seven years, the result is a critical look at Senegal's religious diversity within Islamic beliefs and practices. Containing interviews from men and women in both rural and urban locations, this book is an important contribution to the literature on Islamic practices, providing a much-needed perspective from ordinary practitioners of the faith. It is essential reading for scholars of the anthropology of religion, Islamic studies, mysticism, African studies, and development studies.
In this timely, original and sophisticated collection, writers from the Global South demonstrate that forms of publicness are multiple, mobile and varied. The notion that societies mediate issues through certain kinds of engagement is at the heart of imaginings of democracy and often centers on the ideal of the public sphere. But this imagined foundation of how we live collectively appears to have suffered a dramatic collapse across the world, with many democracies apparently unable to solve problems through talk – or even to agree on who speaks, in what ways and where. In the 10 essays in this timely, original and sophisticated collection, writers from southern Africa combine theoretical analysis with the examination of historical cases and contemporary developments to demonstrate that forms of publicness are multiple, mobile and varied. They propose new concepts and methodologies to analyse how public engagements work in society. Babel Unbound examines charged examples from the Global South, such as the centuries old Timbuktu archive, Nelson Mandela as a powerful absent presence in 1960s public life, and the challenges to the terms of contemporary debate around the student activism of #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall. These show how issues of public discussion span both archive and media, verbal debates in formal spaces and visual performances that circulate in unpredictable ways.
A rollicking true-crime adventure about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs—and the wildlife detective determined to stop him. On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales. So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s hell bent on protecting the world’s birds of prey. The Falcon Thief whisks readers from the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, all in pursuit of a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.
Follows the story of the Palestinian uprising, covering such topics as Israel's most wanted guerilla leader, the Israeli invasion of Bethlehem, and the standoff at the Church of the Nativity. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.