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Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco Paperback – 10 Mar 2009

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Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco + Western Sahara: The Refugee Nation (Iberian and Latin American Studies)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Tales Press; 1 edition (10 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964142392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964142398
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 723,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"[Allah's Garden] is a sad reminder of the cost of war in Western Sahara.... Hollowell's powerful an excellent account of a humanitarian disaster...." -- James Sater, author of Morocco: Challenges to Tradition and Modernity

"Hollowell deserves kudos.... There are many reasons to read Allah's Garden: It's a fast-paced and well-written adventure story with few equals, especially as it's true. The warmth of the regard between author and subject is a palpable presence, effusing the reading experience with a tenderness uncommon in such stories...bringing readers more global awareness." -- New Spirit Journal

"Allah's Garden...uses many strategies that make a war tale both gripping and bearable. The build of well extended, keeping the reader on chair-edge. With an exquisite sense of balance, Hollowell manages to tell everything without tarrying too lengthily in gory or painful details. The book is a tour de force of blending authenticity with grace and taste." -- North West Prime Time

"[Allah's Garden] is a harrowing tale of the fate of more than 1700 Moroccans held as POWs...[it] is told with great sensitivity." -- Helen Ranger, author of Fez Encounter (Lonely Planet)

"A real page-turner... very psychologically astute. The images stick with the reader well beyond the pages." -- Café du Livre, Morocco

"[The main character] could be a tragic figure, given the suffering, but due to his persistence, kindness, and courage, this is an inspiring book." -- Ariele Huff, Seattle-based columnist & editor

Hailing from Morocco, North Africa, Thomas Hollowell is the author of Allah's Garden. He has traveled well over 35 countries and territories and continues to deliver engaging stories from across the globe to his readership --

From the Publisher

A former volunteer's riveting story of dire hardship, faith, and human courage, Allah's Garden focuses on a Moroccan doctor's 25-year imprisonment in the Sahara interwoven with the author's own adventures (and misadventures) in Morocco. For those who are traveling to Morocco and/or those who want to learn a little more about the country, its history, culture, politics, amazing destinations, and contrasting landscapes all combined into an unforgettable narrative, this book delivers.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dwayne @ Girls Without a Bookshelf VINE VOICE on 29 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
I know Allah's Garden is not of the YA genre - I won it as part of a Goodreads giveaway and am glad I did. It's a book which I feel everyone should read; it's shocking, horrifying, and appalling, yet genuinely inspirational.

Allah's Garden is a book out of my comfort zone; I often shy away from deliberately informing myself of the less than pleasant aspects of the human existence. However, I have been quite enlightened by this book.

Allah's Garden is both shocking in its description of the horrors of war - what made it more poignant is that is focuses on a little known conflict in the Sahara. It drives a point home: Known or not known, a war will always be a war. There will be masses hurt, injured or kill, human rights abuses, tortures, sacrifices made. It is horrifying and appalling - more so for me, as a normal teenage girl with no inkling whatsoever to the roughness of the outside world. Glimpsing this world in midst of abuses as a POW is an eye-opener.

The book handles this and in the foreground highlights the epic character of a man suffering through all these; the heart, hope and perseverance that allows Azeddine, a physician who has been held captive as a POW for 24 years, to endure each and every horror and to persevere against such circumstance. I felt the authors empathy and respect to the man; however, notwithstanding the author's sentiments, readers will inevitably grow to admire Azeddine. Such dedication is uncommon in many men.

There were parts of the book which I would have liked to be more elaborated; there were elements here and there that I wanted more clarifications, more detail. Whilst the book is generous in its description of the effects of this particular war, I felt that the general overview of the situation needed more focus.
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By afisher84 on 20 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating insight into a lesson known part of West Africa and puts some perspective into the struggles of life near a border. The book follows a relationship between a doctor and a traveller. The book doesn't overembellish the events that occur, more keeps them factual and concise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Touching Story of Survival and the Indomitable Human Spirit 7 May 2009
By Sherice Jacob - Published on
Format: Paperback
Right from the start, Allah's Garden will pull you in on an unforgettable journey. From the author's introduction to Morocco through the Peace Corps through Azzedine's tortured story and eventual release, Allah's Garden will keep you involved with a stirring story until the end. A must read for anyone interested in this fascinating country, its people, and the tumultuous history they've overcome.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Balanced View 22 Jun. 2009
By Ariele M. Huff - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I read Allah's Garden, I was struck by how balanced the narrative remained. Of course, the story of one of the longest held POWs in history is dramatic, but the telling gives a fairhanded treatment to all. This book exemplifies a blend of clear-eyed fact and fast paced action. I recommend it as a way to gain insight into the motivations and conditions in other parts of the world that often are little understood by Americans. A signicant contribution to the honest telling of a life story, Allah's Garden also sets the model for exploring circumstances that create wars and abuses of power.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully Written About the Agony of War 13 Nov. 2009
By Linda McGurk - Published on
Format: Paperback
Allah's Garden isn't just an eye-opening read about a little-known war in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, it's also a heart-wrenching yet inspiring tale of survival despite all odds. Author Thomas Hollowell uses a creative literary narrative in order to bring to life the fate of one of the longest-held POWs in history, and he does a wonderful job of recreating historical events with extreme accuracy. The story is also interspersed with Hollowell's own encounter with Moroccan culture and its people during his brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer and, later, his travels around the country. Moving, relevant and intriguing, Allah's Garden gives the reader a rare insight into the plight of POWs everywhere. Read it!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Captivating story that brings to life a little-known North African conflict 19 Dec. 2009
By Molly K. Moran - Published on
Format: Paperback
Thomas Hollowell's book, "Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco," is a fascinating narrative of the author's experience of being a young American living in Morocco and befriending a former Moroccan POW who was imprisoned for over 25 years in the Sahara Desert. The book is an exploration of the POW's experience of being captured; but, at the same time, it is a coming of age story about the author, and follows his life trajectory from growing up in idyllic small-town America to moving across the world to Morocco.

Mr. Hollowell gave an excellent presentation of his book to a group of teachers at an outreach seminar on "Health and Conflict in the Middle East" that I organized at Yale University; the teachers were in agreement that Mr. Hollowell's work was an excellent means for engaging junior high and high school students in learning about the Middle East and North Africa. Further, some pointed out that one of the most valuable parts of the story was learning about Mr. Hollowell's own journey to Morocco, and how that impacted his life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Shocking Story Of Courage In The Face of Military Imprisonment 28 Oct. 2009
By SCKilgore - Published on
Format: Paperback
Allah's Garden opened my eyes to no only the struggle and conflicting emotions experienced by a prison of war, but also put a spot light on a larger human rights conflict I knew nothing about. Hollowell does an excellent job of blending narrative with illuminating facts. The mixing of his own cultural experiences with the often brutal nature of the Western Saharan conflict draws you, making you a part of the drama. If you want to expand your views on culture, religion, and the harsh truth of war, then you should read Allah's Garden.
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