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.