“This work could easily be used in a number of different courses. It is rich with details about women’s lives and struggles, contains concrete examples of the ins and outs of government-sponsored development, and vividly paints a portrait of the Middle East through the eyes of a sympathetic outsider who came to understand so much more about her own culture because of her experiences there.”
“A rich and absorbing read.”
"Simple Gestures, and indeed the rich life Andrea Rugh has made for herself, is based on her genuine interest in all that makes us different and all the many ways we are the same. Dr. Rugh's non-judgmental explanations of the cultural differences and similarities she has encountered allow her readers to come closer to understanding Middle Eastern cultural practices, including some that many Westerners find remote or alien, such as honor killings, the veil, and arranged marriages. In so doing she also helps Westerners to see their own cultural practices--which often go unexamined--in a new light. This is truly a remarkable book and thoroughly enjoyable read.”
“Andrea Rugh has written a remarkably honest and insightful account of what it was like to be both a diplomat's wife and a professional anthropologist in the Muslim world. Her avid interest in people and her respect for other cultures enabled her to build bridges and forge lasting friendships wherever she went. One wishes that President Obama had read her chapters on Afghanistan before getting himself committed to a military strategy in that country.”
“This wonderful memoir has the ring of authenticity that only someone who has lived and worked in the Middle East can provide. A trained anthropologist whose innate sensitivity has given her extraordinary access to the poor and powerful alike, Dr. Rugh has produced the rarest of all studies - the real thing.”
“Dr. Rugh’s fast-paced and engaging narrative is a must read for anyone wanting reliable insight into Middle Eastern societies and how they have changed over time. Even though I’m a bit of an old hand myself when it comes to this part of the world, I couldn’t put the book down.”
"Within minutes of starting to read Simple Gestures, I was hooked. I wanted to travel everywhere Andrea Rugh had, meet everyone she did, and enjoy the small daily pleasures she brings to life so vividly. An outsider to the region, she nonetheless captures its humanity with great objectivity, sensitivity, and intelligence."