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.
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.
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.
“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.
A transporting, good-humored, and revealing account of Greece’s dire troubles, reported from the mountain villages, idyllic islands, and hardscrabble streets that define the country today In recent years, small Greece, often associated with ancient philosophers and marble ruins, whitewashed villages and cerulean seas, has been at the center of a debt crisis that has sown economic and social ruin, spurred panic in international markets, and tested Europe’s decades-old project of forging a closer union. In The Full Catastrophe, James Angelos makes sense of contrasting images of Greece, a nation both romanticized for its classical past and castigated for its dysfunctional present. With vivid character-driven narratives and engaging reporting that offers an immersive sense of place, he brings to life some of the causes of the country’s financial collapse, and examines the changes, some hopeful and others deeply worrisome, emerging in its aftermath. A small rebellion against tax authorities breaks out on a normally serene Aegean island. A mayor from a bucolic, northern Greek village is gunned down by the municipal treasurer. An aging, leftist hero of the Second World War fights to win compensation from Germany for the wartime occupation. A once marginal group of neo-Nazis rises to political prominence out of a ramshackle Athens neighborhood. The Full Catastrophe goes beyond the transient coverage in the daily headlines to deliver an enduring and absorbing portrait of modern Greece. From the Hardcover edition.
This highly practical handbook teaches you how to unlock the value of your existing metadata through cleaning, reconciliation, enrichment and linking and how to streamline the process of new metadata creation. Libraries, archives and museums are facing up to the challenge of providing access to fast growing collections whilst managing cuts to budgets. Key to this is the creation, linking and publishing of good quality metadata as Linked Data that will allow their collections to be discovered, accessed and disseminated in a sustainable manner. This highly practical handbook teaches you how to unlock the value of your existing metadata through cleaning, reconciliation, enrichment and linking and how to streamline the process of new metadata creation. Metadata experts Seth van Hooland and Ruben Verborgh introduce the key concepts of metadata standards and Linked Data and how they can be practically applied to existing metadata, giving readers the tools and understanding to achieve maximum results with limited resources. Readers will learn how to critically assess and use (semi-)automated methods of managing metadata through hands-on exercises within the book and on the accompanying website. Each chapter is built around a case study from institutions around the world, demonstrating how freely available tools are being successfully used in different metadata contexts. This handbook delivers the necessary conceptual and practical understanding to empower practitioners to make the right decisions when making their organisations resources accessible on the Web. Key topics include: - The value of metadata Metadata creation – architecture, data models and standards - Metadata cleaning - Metadata reconciliation - Metadata enrichment through Linked Data and named-entity recognition - Importing and exporting metadata - Ensuring a sustainable publishing model. Readership: This will be an invaluable guide for metadata practitioners and researchers within all cultural heritage contexts, from library cataloguers and archivists to museum curatorial staff. It will also be of interest to students and academics within information science and digital humanities fields. IT managers with responsibility for information systems, as well as strategy heads and budget holders, at cultural heritage organisations, will find this a valuable decision-making aid.
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.
A librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life. If you love to read, and presumably you do since you’ve picked up this book (!), you know that some books affect you so profoundly they forever change the way you think about the world. Some books, on the other hand, disappoint you so much you want to throw them against the wall. Either way, it’s clear that a book can be your new soul mate or the bad relationship you need to end. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way. Filled with suggested reading lists, Spence’s take on classic and contemporary books is very much like the best of literature—sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and filled with universal truths. A celebration of reading, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is for anyone who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book...and another, and another, and another!
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rise and Shine, Blessings, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life. Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. “There comes a moment in every novelist’s career when she . . . ventures into new territory, breaking free into a marriage of tone and style, of plot and characterization, that’s utterly her own. Anna Quindlen’s marvelous romantic comedy of manners is just such a book. . . . Taken as a whole, Quindlen’s writings represent a generous and moving interrogation of women’s experience across the lines of class and race. [Still Life with Bread Crumbs] proves all the more moving because of its light, sophisticated humor. Quindlen’s least overtly political novel, it packs perhaps the most serious punch. . . . Quindlen has delivered a novel that will have staying power all its own.”—The New York Times Book Review “[A] wise tale about second chances, starting over, and going after what is most important in life.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Quindlen’s astute observations . . . are the sorts of details every writer and reader lives for.”—Chicago Tribune “[Anna] Quindlen’s seventh novel offers the literary equivalent of comfort food. . . . She still has her finger firmly planted on the pulse of her generation.”—NPR “Enchanting . . . [The protagonist’s] photographs are celebrated for turning the ‘minutiae of women’s lives into unforgettable images,’ and Quindlen does the same here with her enveloping, sure-handed storytelling.”—People “Charming . . . a hot cup of tea of a story, smooth and comforting about the vulnerabilities of growing older . . . a pleasure.”—USA Today “With spare, elegant prose, [Quindlen] crafts a poignant glimpse into the inner life of an aging woman who discovers that reality contains much more color than her own celebrated black-and-white images.”—Library Journal “Quindlen has always excelled at capturing telling details in a story, and she does so again in this quiet, powerful novel, showing the charged emotions that teem beneath the surface of daily life.”—Publishers Weekly “Quindlen presents instantly recognizable characters who may be appealingly warm and nonthreatening, but that only serves to drive home her potent message that it’s never too late to embrace life’s second chances.”—Booklist “Profound . . . engaging.”—Kirkus Reviews From the Trade Paperback edition.
1960. President Eisenhower was focused on Laos, a tiny Southeast Asian nation. Washington feared the country would fall to communism, triggering a domino effect in the rest of Southeast Asia. In January 1961, Eisenhower approved the CIA's Operation Momentum, a plan to create a proxy army of ethnic Hmong to fight communist forces in Laos. Kurlantzick shows how the brutal war lasted nearly two decades, killed one-tenth of Laos's total population, and changed the nature of the CIA forever.
Part of the ALL-NEW Ladybird Expert series. Learn about Timbuktu, in this clear and authoritative introduction to the place considered to be one of the most important trading cities of the medieval world. Written by curator and cultural historian Gus Casely-Hayford, this book delves into the rise of the largest empire in West Africa and what made Timbuktu the most significant Saharan desert-port of the age. You'll encounter the Mali Empire in its golden age, teeming with riches, scholars and trades. Its history steeped in magicians, epic wars, story-tellers and missing ships. You'll learn what made Timbuktu so notorious and irresistible to Europe, and why centuries later it still enchants the Western World with its beauty, wealth, mystery, intellectual excellence and legacy. Inside you'll discover . . . - The significance of The River Niger - The great advantages of the introduction of camels - The birth of Mali - The connections between Islam and the Mali Empire - How the libraries give vivid access to the medieval African perspective - And much more . . . Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture. For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
As heard on NPR's This American Life “Absorbing . . . Though it's non-fiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air “One of the most peculiar and memorable true-crime books ever.” —Christian Science Monitor A rollicking true-crime adventure and a captivating journey into an underground world of fanatical fly-tiers and plume peddlers, for readers of The Stranger in the Woods, The Lost City of Z, and The Orchid Thief. On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.
An experienced journalist offers a unique memoir that chronicles his relationship with his brother, who became estranged from his family when he joined an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect, discussing their eventual reconciliation as he accepts his brother's spiritual longings. 20,000 first printing.
It's 1970, and in the People's Republic of Congo a Marxist-Leninist revolution is ushering in a new age. But at the orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire where young Moses has grown up, the revolution has only strengthened the reign of Dieudonn Ngoulmoumako, the orphanage's corrupt director. So Moses escapes to Pointe-Noire, where he finds a home first with a larcenous band of Congolese Merry Men and then among the Zairian prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But the authorities won't leave Moses in peace, and intervene to chase both the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls out of town. All this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge. Could he really be the Robin Hood of the Congo? Or is he just losing his marbles? Vivid, exuberant and heartwarming, Black Moses is a vital new extension of Alain Mabanckou's extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers.
The gripping life story of the great war correspondent Marie Colvin told by one of her closest friends SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD WINNER OF THE JAMES TAIT BLACK AWARD Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking, braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world and her anecdotes about encounters with figures like Colonel Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat were incomparable. She was much admired, and as famous for her wild parties as for the extraordinary lengths to which she went to tell the story. Fellow foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum draws on unpublished diaries and interviews with friends, family and colleagues to produce a story of one of the most daring and inspirational women of our times. A Sunday Times Book of the Year 'A stunningly good biography' WILLIAM BOYD