- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 19 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781476777405
- ISBN-13: 978-1476777405
- ASIN: 1476777403
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 540 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts Hardcover – Apr 19 2016
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**New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice**
“This is, simply, a fantastic story, one that has been beautifully told by Josh Hammer, who knows and loves Mali like some farmers know their back forty. At a time of unprecedented cultural destruction taking place across the Muslim world, Abdel Kader Haidara, the savior of Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts and this book's main character, is a true hero. If you are feeling despair about the fate of the world, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is a must-read, and a welcome shot in the arm.” (Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad)
“[The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu] has all the elements of a classic adventure novel [and] it is a story that couldn’t be more timely. . . . Suffice it to say that [the librarians] earn their “bad ass” sobriquet several times over. Riveting skullduggery, revealing history and current affairs combine in a compelling narrative with a rare happy ending.” (Seattle Times)
“The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu . . . vividly captures the history and strangeness of [Timbuktu] in a fast-paced narrative that gets us behind today’s headlines of war and terror. This is part reportage and travelogue . . . part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract and part out-and-out thriller." (Washington Post)
“I’ve long known that the versatile Joshua Hammer could drop into the midst of a war or political conflict anywhere in the world and make sense of it. But he has outdone himself this time, and found an extraordinary, moving story of a quiet—and successful—act of great bravery in the face of destructive fanaticism.” (Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and To End All Wars)
“Part history, part scholarly adventure story and part journalist survey of the volatile religious politics of the Maghreb region. . . . Hammer writes with verve and expertise.” (New York Times Book Review)
"A picaresque and mysterious adventure that rushes across the strife-torn landscape of today’s Mali, The Bad-Ass Librarians tells the unlikely but very real story of a band of bookish heroes from Timbuktu and their desperate race—past dangerous checkpoints, through deserts, and often in the dead of night—to save a culture and a civilization from destruction. Josh Hammer has seen firsthand how ordinary people can respond with extraordinary heroism when faced with evil. He also gives us a dramatic example of what it means to stick with a story; he knows this one from the beginnings in the late 1300s up until the present day, with its extremism and acts of cultural repression and erasure. Hammer has an unerring sense of what matters and his storytelling is impassioned and fun at the same time." (Amy Wilentz, author of Farewell, Fred Voodoo)
"Gripping [and] ultimately moving. . . . History depends on whose stories get told and which books survive; in Timbuktu, thanks to Haidara and his associates, inquiry, humanity, and courage live on in the libraries." (Boston Globe)
"A completely engrossing adventure with a sharp--and prescient--political edge. Josh Hammer, a veteran correspondent of numerous conflict zones, tells a fascinating story about the quest to save Timbuktu’s priceless Islamic writings from the grasp of jihadists. This is an entertaining, and extremely timely, book about the value of art and history and the excesses of religious extremism." (Janet Reitman, author of Inside Scientology)
“Hammer has pulled off the truly remarkable here—a book that is both important and a delight to read. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is the wonderfully gripping story of Abdel Kader Haidara and the hundreds of ordinary Malians who, at great personal danger, endeavored to save the ancient fabled manuscripts of Timbuktu from destruction by Islamic jihadists. 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)
About the Author
Joshua Hammer was born in New York and graduated from Princeton University with a cum laude degree in English literature. He joined the staff of Newsweek as a business and media writer in 1988, and between 1992 and 2006 served as a bureau chief and correspondent-at-large on five continents. Hammer is now a contributing editor to Smithsonian and Outside, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and has written for publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, the Condé Nast Traveler, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Atavist. He is the author of four nonfiction books, including The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, and has won numerous journalism awards. Since 2007 he has been based in Berlin, Germany, and continues to travel widely around the world.See all Product description
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following the current news of Mali! EMS
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an amazing look at a part of the world few of us in the West really think about. Located in the west African country of Mali, Timbuktu has a rich and beautiful history that the people of that country are willing to do quite a bit to protect. Once upon a time Timbuktu was the center of learning and knowledge in the Islamic world. Scholars would come from every corner of the known world to study there, sharing information on topics as far ranging as literature, religion, law, medicine and the sciences. And from all this learning and information sharing came the amazing manuscripts. Books, created hundreds of years ago, written by the greatest scholars and savants of their time. These manuscripts are priceless relics of a time of intellectual enlightenment we in the West had no idea existed.
These manuscripts, lost to time for so very long, have only had a resurgence in the last 30 or 40 years. Thanks to the work of locals who were raised with a deep, unshakable respect for the history and knowledge contained in these manuscripts, the world was finally beginning to celebrate the amazing achievements of the medieval Islamic world. All the work that those dedicated to bringing Timbuktu’s history to light as an enlightened society was put in peril not that long ago, thanks to radical jihadist groups and their determination to destroy anything that did not fit into their interpretation of faith.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu describes the work put forward to rescue these manuscripts - first from the ravages of time and secrecy, and then again from the depraved attentions of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIB), an off-shoot of the organization most of us are familiar with in the Middle East. A dedicated group of volunteers worked tirelessly to smuggle the written treasure of Timbuktu to safety, risking their own lives in the process. It is thanks to them that over 377,000 volumes of irreplaceable knowledge and history have been preserved.
This book is eye-opening. It tugs at your heart-strings. It transports you to another place and drops you in the middle of a band of real-life heroes. It is a book everyone should read and a victory everyone should celebrate.
Paul Boehmer is a fine audio performer and brings so much to life with his talents.