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Last Days in Babylon: The Exile of Iraq's Jews, the Story of My Family [Paperback]

Marina Benjamin


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (1 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141657204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416572046
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 14 x 20.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,950,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars recent history of Iraqi Jews 16 Jun 2009
By Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valued Addition Despite Vexing Political Commentary 16 Oct 2010
By Search For Nuance - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read 10 Sep 2013
By Marina Benjamin - Published on Amazon.com
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
5.0 out of 5 stars History with a personal touch 12 April 2013
By Susan Gabbay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the story of a family, part of the last generation of the 2500 years' sojourn of Jews in Iraq since the Babylonian Captivity.
Benjamin integrates the historical events leading up to, and during, her family's departure from their home. The focus is on her grandmother, but we become acquainted with other members of her family. We learn of Benjamin's return to present-day Iraq, its difficulties and its meaningfulness to her.
There are many parallels to experiences I have been told of by others in the same circumstances. An excellent read to highlight a lesser-known part of the Diaspora.
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 16 Aug 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
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
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