Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
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Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

3.7 52
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
     
 

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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

Overview

"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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Illuminating analysis… [NOMAD’s] special strength…lies in the way that her arguments and perceptions are rooted in personal experience…. She rages eloquently…writes revealingly. NOMAD is an excellent read.”

—New York Review of Books

“Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new memoir is the most powerful book you will have read in a long time.” —Christian Science Monitor

"Brilliant” —Tunku Varadarajan, The Daily Beast

Nicholas D. Kristof
Since Hirsi Ali denounces Islam with a ferocity that I find strident, potentially feeding religious bigotry, I expected to dislike this book. It did leave me uncomfortable and exasperated in places. But I also enjoyed it. Hirsi Ali comes across as so sympathetic when she shares her grief at her family's troubles that she is difficult to dislike. Her memoir suggests that she never quite outgrew her rebellious teenager phase, but also that she would be a terrific conversationalist at a dinner party. She is at her best when she is telling her powerful story.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
After a harrowing childhood lived according to a particularly strict interpretation of Muslim law, Somali-born Ali (Infidel) escaped to Europe rather than move to Canada to marry a man she'd never met. Arriving in Holland, she soon became an international cause célèbre for her willingness to publicly denounce the uglier sides of Islamic culture, particularly as in certain regions it oppresses women and girls. Many personal stories are repeated from her earlier accounts, but here Ali adds the story of her immigration to the U.S., and as always, her writing can be moving, as she bares heartrending moments such as her father's death. But with this third memoir, she has become tiresomely repetitive, and her wholesale condemnation of an entire religion and the multiple cultures it has engendered is so sweeping and comprehensive, and her faith in Western values (particularly her romantic view of Christianity) is so wide-eyed, that the book ultimately reads like a callow exercise in expressing the author's own sense of aggrievement. (May)
Library Journal
A charismatic public figure and the author of a previous memoir—the best-selling Infidel about her Muslim Somali upbringing and her second life as a refugee in the Netherlands—Ali is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. She presents her second memoir with the explicit ideological motive to counter what she sees as naive liberal responses to Islam, but she dedicates a large portion to her struggles with culture shock as she seeks to find her footing first in Europe then the United States. The book's emotional power lies in her efforts toward a personal reckoning with her family. Those who accept Samuel P. Huntington's theory of the "clash of civilizations" will welcome this smoothly written, emotionally vivid memoir. Readers willing to accept that there is such a thing as "the Muslim mind" will take Ali's arguments at face value. Many readers, however, will reject her assertion that all Muslims think and behave as her tribal community does. Others will question her view that Islam is to be blamed for the social and political problems in predominantly Muslim third world regions and will ask how she would explain similar problems in non-Muslim countries. VERDICT A controversial book accessible to the general public, unlikely to change any minds.—Lisa Klopfer, Eastern Michigan Univ. Lib., Ypsilanti

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439157329
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
02/08/2011
Pages:
277
Sales rank:
167,982
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.

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Nomad 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Book_Woman More than 1 year ago
This is in response to the one-star review posted by Anonymous. I have read only a little of this book, but if Anonymous thinks Ms. Ali's "feelings" about Islam are based on Western media distortions, I doubt she has read "Nomad" either. Most of Ms. Ali's first autobiographical book, "Infidel," is devoted to her growing up in four countries where Islam is the dominant religion: Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia. She came to Europe when she was 22. I suggest she is a reliable witness to the reality of being a Muslim. I have read "Infidel" and have been eagerly awaiting the publication of "Nomad" to find out what has happened in the intervening years. As a sort of post script to this review, I would remind Anonymous that feelings are not under our control. They just happen. We can, though, control the actions we take based on our feelings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heyyyyy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walked in and strared at nolee longinly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it! Continue!
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Yordi More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary story. Everyone should read this book!
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