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Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations [Paperback]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 May 2010
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. With a deep understanding and intimate perspective of the situation of Muslim women and moderates in the world today and her singular, unwavering intellectual courage, Hirsi Ali offers her always notable, often controversial analysis of Islam vis a vis the superiority of Western democratic values.

Frequently Bought Together

Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations + Infidel + Why I Am Not a Muslim
Price For All Three: 32.96

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  • Infidel 6.29
  • Why I Am Not a Muslim 16.99

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (13 May 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1847376649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847376640
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.1 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Both brave and intellectually honest...It is, in parts - especially early on - a brilliant book' --Sunday Times, May 23, 2010

'Zoe Strimpel is hooked by this dense, powerful meditation on religion, family and society' --City AM, May 13,2010

'a bold and passionately written book which should be essential reading for any politician [dealing with]...Islamism and immigration' --Evening Standard, May 13, 2010

'in this memoir she reiterates her strong preference for Western democracy and the urgent need for Englightenment values'
--The Times, May 22, 2010

'A story of rivalry, political intrigue and conspiracy . . . beguilingly written' --Guardian

'A rich and intricate story . . . full of colourful incident and detail, both historical and artistic . . . Jonathan Jones writes with engaging passion'
--RA Magazine

'Fearlessly uncompromising, it's no wonder [Hirsi Ali] has won plaudits from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens' --Shortlist

'A bold and passionately written book, essential for any politician dealing with the closely related problems of Islamism and immigration' --Scotsman

`Confrontational, stinging, unsparing: Hirsi Ali has positioned herself at a pole that courts odium and danger' --Financial Times

`For anyone who has ever felt a tinge of rose-tinted nostalgia for the traditional . . . a bracing, and on the whole healthy, cold shower'

'To all those who argue that feminism is a dead cause, I recommend a few hours in this woman's company' --The Times, Summer reading choice

'[Hirsi Ali] combines a withering blast against liberals and multiculturalism alongside pen portraits of her own Muslim family'
--Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia, was raised as a Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992 Hirsi Ali went to the Netherlands as a refugee, escaping a forced marriage to a distant cousin she had never met. She denounced Islam after 9/11 and now works as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and for security in the West.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem of a Book 20 May 2010
Hirsi Ali's previous book, 'Infidel', ranks as one of the best I've ever read. If it were a work of fiction, I would acclaim its writer as one of the greatest of our time. That it is also true makes it even more of a compelling read. 'Nomad' is its worthy successor in every way. Whereas 'Infidel' was a systematic account of her life, this book constitutes more of a compendious collection of her messages about women, integration of Muslims into Western society, and personal freedom. The result is a stunning thesis, drawing from a myriad of sources, to construct an argument of compelling, inexorable logic, while still retaining the compassion and humanity of its predecessor.

The book itself is divided into four sections. In the first, she gives accounts of the lives of her immediate family members, and describes in each case how a combination of tribal mentalities and the oppressions of Islam have ruined their lives. In the second, she tells of how she came to leave the Netherlands, why she chose to live in the United States, and the status of Islam there. In the third, she explains each of the three reasons which she believes hinder integration of Muslims into Western society. In the fourth, she details what we can do about it. (All of this is listed and explained in the Introduction to the book.) Some of the book is derived from her own personal experiences, other parts are from the experiences of people she knows, and some is from other sources. All of it is moving, fascinating and inspiring.

It is a rare book that can simultaneously horrify you, with its blunt, uncensored, hard truths, and uplift you with its message of reason, hope, and Enlightenment values. I couldn't recommend it more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight 24 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fascinating insight into another world, how tough and regimented and outdated and cruel can anyone be to their daughters/womenfolk and children all in the name of 'religion'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read this 13 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
hirsi ali is a superlative auto-biographical writer. she is engaging on every page.

she makes very good arguments, and touches areas which many are afraid to touch upon.

i cant recommend this highly enough
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayyan Hirsi Ali 25 May 2010
By MarkusG
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in muslim societies in Somalia, Saudi etc, and fled to Holland when her father tried to wed her to a man in Canada. Hirsi Ali is today one of the most prominent critics of islam. And the price for this is living with bodyguards under constant threat of death. If you want a feel-good or PC description of life under islam, this book is not for you.

After an introduction "Nomad" deals with Hirsi Alis' family, and the problematic relations with her father and mother after she chose to become an "infidel". This part is very interesting as it provides glimpses of life in a muslim family and culture. It is also a story of opression of women, physical violence, sexual taboos and the fear of hell.

The following part is about her move to USA. She really likes the US, but sees it as threatened from the inside by the rise of fundamentalist islam. She is met by angry muslims when holding speeches at universities (in one case, a girl in headscarf cried out "Who in hell gives you the right to talk about islam?". And another student replied: "The first amendment!". "That was inspiring", Hirsi Ali comments (p 135).) She also comments on how there are student activist groups for everything, but nothing for the right of muslim women, women fleeing islam or against violence in the name of islam.

She also delivers in depth criticism of islam as an opressive system where women are reduced to breeding machines under sex apartheid, and where people are taught to be submissive, afraid of allah, and not to question religious authority. This has created docile subjects, easily manipulated by radical imams.

The temperature rises when Hirsi Ali confronts western feminists who have failed to criticise the opression of women under islam.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Admire the woman; question the analysis 23 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is a truly remarkable woman. Born in Somalia and fluent in six languages, she grew up in a middle-class Somali family. Contrary to her father's wishes, she was circumcised at the age of seven by her paternal grandmother. Her family was forced to flee Somalia after her father led an unsuccessful revolt against the country's ruler. She and her family finally settled in Nairobi, Kenya. En route to an arranged marriage in Canada, she sought asylum in the Netherlands. There, she studied political science at the University of Leiden, abandoned her ancestral Islamic faith and became a Member of Parliament (MP) under the banner of the VVD, a Dutch liberal party.

This book is primarily an autobiography. Ayaan Hirsi Ali gives a fascinating account of her childhood. Her authoritarian father, Abeh, loved Ayaan and her sister, but was a violent taskmaster to Ayaan's older brother. Ayaan's mother, on the other hand, mollycoddled the brother, valuing him above her other children simply because he was male. Fast forward to Ms. Ali's life in the Netherlands. Her apostasy deeply hurt Abeh, leading to estrangement between father and beloved daughter. Despite the years of hurt, Ayaan and Abeh finally reconcile. In a very moving scene, Ms. Ali describes how Abeh sent for her while on his deathbed. At last, they reconcile one week before Abeh passes away.

Ms Ali's family troubles extend beyond her relationship with Abeh. Her brother divorces his wife and becomes 'mad'; her cousin is infected with HIV, yet manages to deny ever having sex; another cousin, trapped in a dreary, immigrant neighbourhood in London, has abandoned all hopes of earthly happiness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and insightful
I like how Ayaan uses her own background to analyse culture clashes of today and suggest solutions to the issues. She makes a lot of sense.
Published 10 days ago by S. Topzand
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will influence you
I struggled to put this book down and read it in a few days. It was fascinating and awful in equal measure and having seen the plight of women in Iraq and Afghanistan at first... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Mr. Stephen H. Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ
This book is being subjected to a campaign by Islamists who do not want you to hear her story of her death threats from fellow Somalis and the how and why she has to be under 24... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Madridman
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Ayan
I feel for her but her poor and dysfunctional family are to blame for her ignorance, not Somali society or Islam. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ascera
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I have just read Infidel and Nomad by AH Ali and was fascinated by her life history and inspired by her courage. Read more
Published 6 months ago by verydeb
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave lady, fascinating book
Brave lady, fascinating book about her experiences growing up as a Muslim in Somalia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia and becoming an atheist and campaigner for Enlightenment values in... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Legal Vampire
5.0 out of 5 stars No wonder Sam Harris liked this book
Far more of a book than I was expecting. This remarkable woman is so impressive in terms of achievement and independent thinking. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by Austin
1.0 out of 5 stars Service
Delivery arrived quickly unfortunately the book came with some other heavy products and in transit had either moved which bent the pages of the book. Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2011 by P. J. Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling True Story
This is one of the books that I wish everyone would read. I have read the other books by Aayan Hirsi Ali, and found them very touching, sad, brutally honest, and at times... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2011 by lenika
5.0 out of 5 stars NOMAD
This book should be read by every sensible politician. It shows what we are up against when asylum seekers (especially from Northern Africa and the Middle East)come to the country... Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by G. T. M. Rutherford
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