Last Days in Babylon: The Exile of Iraq's Jews, the Story of My Family Paperback – Jun 24 2008
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"A clever and thoughtful book...rich in ideas." -- Lynne Truss, Sunday Times (London)
"A pleasingly garrulous and inquisitive book...Benjamin is judicious, generous, and insightful." -- The Independent (London)
"An elegantly written memoir." -- Publishers Weekly
"Agile insights and melodic phrasing make the trip a lot of fun." -- The Evening Standard (London)
About the Author
Marina Benjamin has worked as a journalist for fifteen years. She was arts editor of the New Statesman and deputy arts editor at the London Evening Standard, and she has written columns for the Daily Express and for Scotland on Sunday. Her last book, Rocket Dreams, was shortlisted for the Eugene Emme Literature Award. Marina lives in London with her husband and daughter.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Benjamin would better serve her audience though if she did not feel the need to offer her "unabashedly liberal, postcolonial, multiracial convictions." Symptomatic of this, she incredulously decided to devote the concluding pages of her work to condemning Israel's treatment of Iraqi Jews. Fortunately, Benjamin's views do not impair her ability to give a generally accurate historical account, though at one point she laughably describes the restrictive "dhimmi" legal apparatus formerly instituted on the Jews as "a fair deal by most measures."
Ironically, while Benjamin wrote this book to recapture her Iraqi Jewish heritage, her ideological worldview illustrates how alienated she is from her more conservative compatriots.
Despite these vexations, still highly recommended.
Benjamin integrates the historical events leading up to, and during, her family's departure from their home. The focus is on her grandmother, but we become acquainted with other members of her family. We learn of Benjamin's return to present-day Iraq, its difficulties and its meaningfulness to her.
There are many parallels to experiences I have been told of by others in the same circumstances. An excellent read to highlight a lesser-known part of the Diaspora.
Diane C. Donovan