Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Minority reports: Babylon book reviews

Joan Smith reviews Marina Benjamin's Last days in Babylon and Naim Kattan's Farewell Babylon in The Times:

"One of these books consists of recollections by an Iraqi Jew born in Baghdad who left in the 1940s. Written more than three decades ago, it is published for the first time in Britain.

"The other is by an Englishwoman who went to Iraq for the first time in 2004, to search for her Jewish family’s lost heritage. Their accounts reflect very different experiences but the question at the heart of Naim Kattan’s book, whether it is possible to be a Jew and an Arab, goes to the heart of unresolved conflicts in the Middle East today.

"Behind both books lies an extraordinary fact: the near-total exodus – actually a state-sanctioned expulsion – of Iraq’s Jewish population in the middle of the 20th century."

Read article in full

Review of Last days in Babylon in Jewish News

Review by Moris Farhi in The Independent

Review by Ian Thomson in The Sunday Times

Review by Jeremy Seal in The Sunday Telegraph

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