Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

Nomad is a philosophical memoir, telling how Ayaan Hirsi Ali came to America in search of a new life, and the difficulties she faced in reconciling her two worlds. With vivid anecdotes and observations of people, cultures, and political debacles, this narrative weaves together Hirsi Ali's personal story — including her reconciliation with her devout father who had disowned her when she denounced Islam — with the stories of other women and men, high-profile and not, whom she encounters. 3.4 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 304
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication May 2010
ISBN 978-1847376640
Publisher Simon & Schuster
 

Nomad is a philosophical memoir, telling how Ayaan Hirsi Ali came to America in search of a new life, and the difficulties she faced in reconciling her two worlds. With vivid anecdotes and observations of people, cultures, and political debacles, this narrative weaves together Hirsi Ali's personal story — including her reconciliation with her devout father who had disowned her when she denounced Islam — with the stories of other women and men, high-profile and not, whom she encounters.

Reviews

The Times

Catherine Nixey

[An] uncomfortable and brilliant book … Anyone who considers themselves liberal should read it.

12/03/2011

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The Sunday Times

Rod Liddle

It is, in parts — especially early on — a brilliant book. But it may again not go down terribly well with the jihadis. Nor, indeed, with the politically correct white left … She is perhaps a little too dewy-eyed about the USA…

23/05/2010

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The Financial Times

John Lloyd

Confrontational, stinging, unsparing: Hirsi Ali has positioned herself at a pole that courts odium and danger. But those who see her as, herself, a danger — to good community relations or to mutual understanding between cultures — mistake trenchant criticism for insult. The greater insult to Muslims is to treat them as incapable of rational, robust engagement.

13/06/2010

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The Observer

Alexander Linklater

... she calls her ancestral voices into direct confrontation with her demands for reform of Islamic theology. The result is electrifying. This is not the same as saying she is always right; but when she calls on western feminists to stand with her, to celebrate the better values of the west, and to confront the worst of the abuses perpetrated on Muslim women, it is not clear what more useful thing those feminists might be doing.

13/03/2011

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The New York Review of Books

Malise Ruthven

As a work of impassioned zealotry, Nomad is an excellent read. It is a book that never hesitates to stand up for the Enlightenment and to proclaim that “West is Best.” As a manifesto for individual freedom it is powerfully subversive, appealing to wives, daughters, and sisters to abandon the tyranny of custom, to throw off the patriarchal yoke. But it offers no plausible avenues for religious reform within Islam (although, as a visitor to American churches, Hirsi Ali seems well disposed toward liberal versions of Christianity). With her knowledge largely confined to her own background in Somalia and Saudi Arabia (and among immigrant communities in Holland), she exhibits little interest in or understanding of the complex processes currently at work in the wider Muslim world.

19/08/2010

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The New York Times

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.

30/05/2010

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The Economist

The Economist

Ms Hirsi Ali is surely oversimplifying when she says that Islam’s problems are almost entirely self-inflicted ... On the other hand, she offers a powerful riposte to those who insist on the opposite: that the brewing clash of civilisations is all the fault of Western misdeeds, for which no apology will suffice. But surely there is a more interesting possibility, which she does not consider: that Western misbehaviour, starting with Anglo-French colonial adventures in the Middle East and South Asia, reinforced some of the worst features of Islamic societies — creating a vicious circle which has yet to be broken.

03/06/2010

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The New Statesman

Hans Kundnani

… a thought-provoking but ultimately frustrating book … She argues that Islam is simply incapable of genuine reform. Hirsi Ali accuses western multiculturalists of assuming that Muslims cannot evolve. Her own idea of evolution, however, is simply for them to stop being Muslims. Given her extraordinary life, the simplicity of these ideas is rather disappointing.

07/06/2010

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The Literary Review

Joan Smith

… Nomad is a confused and incoherent book which will dismay many of her admirers. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a brave woman who has given up her religion, but on this evidence she’s managed to hang on to some deeply conservative values.

01/07/2010

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The Sunday Telegraph

Mona Siddiqui

… her writing has an almost arrogant air of self-justification. She despises everything that the Prophet and the Koran stand for because of what she has undergone. Of course, our personal experiences shape our world views, but part of being an intellectual should be to inject some nuance into the debate.

05/06/2010

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