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Orphaned by the Armenian Genocide in 1915, Mannig and her sister Adrine struggle to stay alive in what is now eastern Iraq. Mannig lives on the streets and trades camel dung for bread; her sister works as a servant for an Arab family. With the help of Barone Madiros, a wealthy philanthropist, Mannig and Adrine eventually find their way to an orphanage for surviving Armenian children. In this refuge, after years of hardship, the two sisters find compassion, joy, safety ... and love. Told by Mannig's daughter, Between the Two Rivers is a candid and moving account of a mother's triumph over adversity. This revised 2nd edition includes a map and photographs.
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Aida Kouyoumjian, Mannig's daughter, was born in Felloujah and raised and educated in Baghdad, Iraq. She came to Seattle s University of Washington on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952. After a 30-year career teaching in the public schools, she now offers a course on Iraq at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington. She lives on Mercer Island.Review:
"Aida Kouyoumjian's rich memories of her mother will be a source of great fascination to anyone interested in the Armenian Genocide."
--Dawn MacKeen, Award-Winning Freelance Journalist
"The book reads like a chapter from One Thousand and One nights. An absorbing account that confirms the adage, 'Truth is stranger than fiction' ... The author's visual descriptions touch the senses."
--Mary Terzian, Author of The Immigrants' Daughter
"Anyone who has traveled in the Middle East will recognize the authenticity of Aida Kouyoumjian's voice. This story is told with the deep cultural understanding of one born, raised and educated within sight of the minarets of Baghdad. Aida's writing launches the reader into the exotic land of pre-Saddam's Iraq, overflowing with vibrant colors, sights, sounds--and dangers."
Joyce O Keefe, Writer and former Foreign Service Officer
"Mannig's spirit, resourcefulness and courage captivate the reader."
--Genie Dickerson, Journalist, Washington, D.C.
"I am impressed with how you have woven personal history with solid research. BRAVO!"
--Helene Moussa, Retired scholar of Coptic art/Author of Legacy to Modern Egyptian Art, Toronto, Canada
"I cannot put it away. I knew the story would be incredible. But that is just part of it. The book is also masterfully written, in a very direct and honest manner. It is both touching and thought provoking at the same time. The characters are so alive they seem to have become part of my life. The book is clearly a winner."
--Artak Kalantarian, son of celebrated Armenian author Artashes Kalantarian and Manager, Seattle Armenians Yahoo Group
"I was absolutely fascinated! Your descriptions put such vivid images in my mind, as though I were there next to your mother, hearing and seeing everything. But you left me so hungry for more information ... What a marvelous tribute to a remarkable woman, and yes a remarkable man!
--Kelly Givens, Mt. Vernon, Washington
"I feel like I'm there in Mosul in 1918 as a ten-year-old girl, shivering and bloated with hunger ... Family is everything in this book. The fact that Aida Kouyoumjian can retell her mother s story so convincingly is the value of memory ... Her stories teach us how to live and not give up under atrocious circumstances. Aida Kouyoumjian moved to America in 1952. The fact that this book is written in English is a testament to her intellect and very vibrant voice. The book depicts Arabic and Armenian traits and it weaves a carpet for me to get a glimpse of what life was like back then ... Growing up in the '50s, I remember my parents telling me to finish the food on my plate with 'Remember the starving Armenians.' "--Deborah Cooke, Retired editor/published writer travel
"This is a brutally honest story nothing seems to be exaggerated or glossed over in this true story--which makes more of an impact on the reader. Kouyoumjian did an amazing job at keeping the authenticity of the subject while writing a book with great literary value on its own."
--Hasmik Kalantarian, Seattle, Washington
"Aida Kouyoumjian paints in minute details the vivid memories of her mother's daily experiences. We smell, taste, see, hear ... feel, cry and laugh alongside the hero. The powerful depiction of imagery painted in a colorful palette, reminds one of an oriental style painting, we are entertained by exotic places, people, and even humor in the middle of a tragic story."
--Sona Stewart, Retired Art Critic, Issaquah, Washington
"My mind staggers at the disruption of simple human life by the whims and obsessions of others. This is a great book for you to revisit how you see other human beings on the verge of violent and disruptive behavior by those who do not have the right to do so. I just love your book ... It is a labor of love but worth every ounce of your heart and mind you poured into it. You are very gifted as a storyteller."
--Dr. William Rice, Professor of economics at California State University at Fresno.
"Thank you so much for sharing your mother's story with the world. You are a wonderful writer. I feel richer knowing you and your family's story."
--Vicki Heck, Librarian, Mercer Island Library, Washington
"What a great writer you are! Such rich detail, so evocative and emotional, such passion and feeling! Certainly your mother couldn't have told you ALL of this? And although you didn't dwell on the horrors of the Genocide, I was happy to read your book, which still contained so much hope. I can't wait for the sequel--and also wonder when Hollywood will film it?--Bruce Greeley, Library Systems Analyst, Seattle, WA
"Your Haji-Doo's words: 'If it is written in the heart it will be written by the hand,' certainly became the heart of your ability to write such an important book. Many thanks ... and may God continue to give you that grand voice to write another related book."
--Mary Hall, Mercer Island
"I was instantly pulled into a world of anguish, despair, perseverance, resourcefulness, devotion, hope and pride. It touched me and, in many ways, changed my life forever. I first wanted to thank you for sharing her story, your story and the Armenian story ....
--Shana Schreiber, student of Dr. Mary Johnson (Columbia College, South Carolina) researching the Armenian Genocide"It is amazing to think that someone so young had such determination. I loved Between the Two Rivers and I want to know more. I highly recommend this book as a good read and great story."
--Catherine, Registered Nurse, Bellevue, Washington
"This book is a valuable and personal account of what many went through at the hands of the Turks at the time. I have sent copies to my daughter, cousin and nieces so that they may also know. Thank you for undertaking this effort."
--Hratch Kouyoumdjian, Architect, San Francisco
"I read your book straight through in a couple of days (a record time for me). I enjoyed it all and had to keep going from page to page. Some girl! Some woman! Some mother! You are a great writer. Keep it up."
--Dr. John Lindberg, retired physician, Mercer Island
"A powerful read--I couldn't put it down. Read it in two and half days and for me that is a 'Wow!' A history lesson for me, too. The book deserves another visit."
--Carole Tye, retired teacher, Mercer Island
"Your unique writing style kept me enthralled throughout the book. I especially liked the last few chapters about how Mannig and Mardiros fell in love and got married."--Kyle Shanafelt, senior at Mercer Island High School
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