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Last Days in Babylon: The Exile of Iraq's Jews, the Story of My Family Paperback – Jun 24 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (June 24 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141657204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416572046
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 526 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #820,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A clever and thoughtful 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 (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars recent history of Iraqi Jews June 16 2009
By Bookworm - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a book which told of Operation Ali Baba, the informal name for the flight of Iraqi Jews to Israel (and elsewhere) in the early 1950s. This book was informative about that time, since the author's mother, uncle, aunt and grandmother were among those who left, and ended up in London. The author tried to strike a balance between biographical, family stories and historical, geographical, political, economic details. It is a worthwhile book to help understand the background of the situation in Iraq today. She writes in an interesting and professional manner.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valued Addition Despite Vexing Political Commentary Oct. 16 2010
By Search For Nuance - Published on
Format: Paperback
In the "Last Days of Babylon," Marina Benjamin provides a valued addition to the literature on the Iraqi Jewish community, both as a history and as a family memoir. Given its human perspective, the book is accessible, engaging and offers a more intimate portrait of Iraqi Jews, especially of the role of women in society, than any academic work could present.

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.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells of the author's London upbringing and distance from her Iraqi past Aug. 15 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
LAST DAYS IN BABYLON: THE EXILE OF IRAQ'S JEWS, THE STORY OF MY FAMILY tells of the author's London upbringing and distance from her Iraqi past. She rejected Iraqi-Jewish culture and her family's heritage - until she had her own child and in 2004 visited Iraq seeking her family history. LAST DAYS IN BABYLON charts her extraordinary journey and discoveries and is a fine choice for any general-interest lending library.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last day in Babylon July 18 2009
By Haskel Amit - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is very acurret of what went on in Bagdad in the Early half of the century, the author's great grand mother Salha is the sister of my grand mother georgia, so this book and author is very close to me. I enjoy reading it.and I thank the author Marina For all the effort she put in bringing thi book. Sincerely. Haskel Amit (Sehayek)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read Sept. 10 2013
By Marina Benjamin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an Assyrian from Iraq myself i especially loved the book because it gave me a historical and political journey and facts about Baghdad and the Jews that lived there. I wasn't born when all this happened and I come from the northern city of Kirkuk and it was interesting to know so much about the capitol of the country of my origin. As a poet I always look back into history to find interesting facts to enrich my poetry. Thanks Marina for a great book