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"This woman is a major hero of our time." —Richard Dawkins

Ayaan Hirsi Ali captured the world’s attention with Infidel, her compelling coming-of-age memoir, which spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Now, in Nomad, Hirsi Ali tells of coming to America to build a new life, an ocean away from the death threats made to her by European Islamists, the strife she witnessed, and the inner conflict she suffered. It is the story of her physical journey to freedom and, more crucially, her emotional journey to freedom—her transition from a tribal mind-set that restricts women’s every thought and action to a life as a free and equal citizen in an open society. Through stories of the challenges she has faced, she shows the difficulty of reconciling the contradictions of Islam with Western values.

In these pages Hirsi Ali recounts the many turns her life took after she broke with her family, and how she struggled to throw off restrictive superstitions and misconceptions that initially hobbled her ability to assimilate into Western society. She writes movingly of her reconciliation, on his deathbed, with her devout father, who had disowned her when she renounced Islam after 9/11, as well as with her mother and cousins in Somalia and in Europe.

Nomad is a portrait of a family torn apart by the clash of civilizations. But it is also a touching, uplifting, and often funny account of one woman’s discovery of today’s America. While Hirsi Ali loves much of what she encounters, she fears we are repeating the European mistake of underestimating radical Islam. She calls on key institutions of the West—including universities, the feminist movement, and the Christian churches—to enact specific, innovative remedies that would help other Muslim immigrants to overcome the challenges she has experienced and to resist the fatal allure of fundamentalism and terrorism.

This is Hirsi Ali’s intellectual coming-of-age, a memoir that conveys her philosophy as well as her experiences, and that also conveys an urgent message and mission—to inform the West of the extent of the threat from Islam, both from outside and from within our open societies. A celebration of free speech and democracy, Nomad is an important contribution to the history of ideas, but above all a rousing call to action.

Topics: Islam, Politics, Feminism, Civil and Political Rights, Refugees, Coming of Age, The Middle East, Escaping Oppression, Provocative, Somalia, and Holland

Published: Atria Books on May 18, 2010
ISBN: 9781439171820
List price: $13.99
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In this follow up to her earlier memoir, Infidel, Hirsi Ali gives a brief update on her life since moving to the US, and updates on her intellectual work fighting global injustice done in the name of tradition (both Islamic and tribal).In the first section of the book, she examines various members of her highly dysfunctional family and their individual struggles. At first I wasn't particularly interested in these stories, until I saw how she was doing this to illustrate her main points. Each person was pushed, kicking and screaming, out of their extremely malfunctional society and toward a modern one, and each member, in his or her own way, failed miserably. As she goes on to expound on the problems of Islamic societies, she illustrates her points through her own experiences and those of her family.Hirsi Ali is a remarkable human who is incredibly brave and brilliantly intelligent. She is gifted at presenting her argument calmly, clearly and with great eloquence. Although she is controversial and has a vast number of detractors, I've yet to see anyone take her on who doesn't walk away looking foolish. One of her main goals is to end needless suffering--how can you argue with that?Recommended for: Anyone interested in the art of presenting an argument clearly and succinctly, whether you share her concerns or not. Also anyone who is interested in human rights, justice, women, and Islamic issues. If you haven't read Infidel yet, I'd recommend that one first, as it gives a fuller picture of her amazing life--Nomad is written for an audience who already knows her background.read more
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Terrific insight and courage. Must read I believe if anyone wishes to understand current Islamic strife with the west.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A critical look at the many facets of Islam and Mid-East tribalism from one who has lived the life and escaped from it. Hirsi Ali is an accomplished writer with an important story to tell. I can understand why she travels with body guards.read more
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In this follow up to her earlier memoir, Infidel, Hirsi Ali gives a brief update on her life since moving to the US, and updates on her intellectual work fighting global injustice done in the name of tradition (both Islamic and tribal).In the first section of the book, she examines various members of her highly dysfunctional family and their individual struggles. At first I wasn't particularly interested in these stories, until I saw how she was doing this to illustrate her main points. Each person was pushed, kicking and screaming, out of their extremely malfunctional society and toward a modern one, and each member, in his or her own way, failed miserably. As she goes on to expound on the problems of Islamic societies, she illustrates her points through her own experiences and those of her family.Hirsi Ali is a remarkable human who is incredibly brave and brilliantly intelligent. She is gifted at presenting her argument calmly, clearly and with great eloquence. Although she is controversial and has a vast number of detractors, I've yet to see anyone take her on who doesn't walk away looking foolish. One of her main goals is to end needless suffering--how can you argue with that?Recommended for: Anyone interested in the art of presenting an argument clearly and succinctly, whether you share her concerns or not. Also anyone who is interested in human rights, justice, women, and Islamic issues. If you haven't read Infidel yet, I'd recommend that one first, as it gives a fuller picture of her amazing life--Nomad is written for an audience who already knows her background.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Terrific insight and courage. Must read I believe if anyone wishes to understand current Islamic strife with the west.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A critical look at the many facets of Islam and Mid-East tribalism from one who has lived the life and escaped from it. Hirsi Ali is an accomplished writer with an important story to tell. I can understand why she travels with body guards.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I have mixed feeling about Hirsi Ali and this book. I really enjoyed Infidel and it was eye opening. This book on the other hand, I feel like was her recaping Infidel and then adding in all her opinions on Muslims and how they should change or other countries should change. I agree with a few things she states in this book, but on the other hand I don't agree in many aspects. I work with Muslims on daily basis and I see many of the things she refers too, but I have also met many men and women who were able to assimilate just fine. Though she brings up many very interesting points, sometime I cannot relate to her way of thinking.
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I have recommended this book be required reading for all future students taking the course on Islam. I also will be purchasing my own copy and re-reading it, taking notes, and thinking through the numerous issues that Ali challenged my thinking on... I honestly cannot recommend this book enough, to everyone EVERYWHERE, but particularly to Christians who may find themselves more ignorant than they think when it comes to Islam and world issues. Ali is a former Muslim who is now an atheist, and as a refugee who has gone through unspeakable horrors in her lifetime, she provides a unique perspective on Islam, its treatment of women, and how the Western world often harms refugees with its 'openness' and 'tolerance' of other religions and cultures.I found myself very forcefully challenged by many of her ideas and perspectives, and I am still struggling to figure out where I stand on many of the issues she raised. A lot of things I thought I knew -- or believed firmly -- about refugees, tolerance, and cultural awareness have been torn to shreds after reading this book, and I'm still trying to fit the pieces back together. Ali's life experiences (including FGM) will shatter you, rip your heart out, and force you to confront the way Western society approaches Islam and hidden social injustices right within our cities. You think female circumcision is something that happens "over there" across the ocean? Think again. You think giving money to refugees is always a good idea? Consider that it's a cultural norm to send all that money back home to help support their relatives, and because they have no understanding of finances whatsoever, they remain in poverty here in our rich nations. And we wonder why there are immigrant ghettos.I could talk for hours about this book and why everyone in the West needs to read a copy, but hopefully I've given you enough here to entice you to pick up a copy and give it a shot. Be prepared to have your mind opened and your perspectives challenged. And that's a good thing.
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This is not just a straight linear story of Ayaan's life, or volume 3 thereof. She follows several of her family members, giving their story and showing their problems, quite simply how Islam messed with their heads, all of them and prevented them leading a 'normal' life. All this is interweaved with her own history but much more reflective than her previous volumes as to the how and why. For that reason it's slightly less accessible than Infidel. She identifies the three key problems facing Muslim refugees as 'sex, violence and money' due to the completely different attitudes towards them in the West'. Her experiences in the Netherlands working with refugees give weight to what she says.Ayaan is uncompromising in her description of the violence and subjugation of women that Islam produces. She is also uncompromising in her denunciation of Western tolerance towards Islam, its welcoming of all things multicultural and the West's refusal to criticise Islam lest it upset people.As an atheist I find her suggestion that Christians ought to proselytise more in order that Muslims can transfer their religious beliefs from Allah to God unpleasant but understandable. It strengthens the need for atheism to be seen as a positive force rather than a vacuum.She writes clearly and concisely in a very calm manner considering the tale that she is telling. This strengthens her voice and makes it louder. She is impassioned and yet reasoned. This is a book that everyone ought to read, not just women, not just westerners.
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