Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew

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9789659012589: Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew

A wise and often gently funny memoir by one of the world's authorities on Arabic literature, this book offers an intimate view of Jewish life in Baghdad in the 1930s and 40s. It describes vividly the young writer's intellectual and emotional growth and maps the now-vanished world of Baghdad's book stalls and literary cafes, its Arabic-speaking Jewish bank clerks, tuxedoed Iraqi-Jewish weddings, outdoor movies at the Cinema Diana, and bonfires by the Tigris. As the pieces of Somekh's unsentimental and sharply drawn memoir accumulate, they also mount in meaning.

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About the Author:

Sasson Somekh was one of the founders of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at Tel Aviv University and is former head of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo.

Review:

"It is hard to overstate the beauty, originality, lucidity, gentleness, wisdom and importance of Baghdad, Yesterday." --Ma'ariv (Israel)

"The picture that emerges from Baghdad, Yesterday is one of closeness, cooperation, and a shared fate among the members of the city's different religions. A letter [Somekh] received from the great Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz could serve as the book's motto: 'Both our peoples knew extraordinary partnership for many years in ancient times, during the Middle Ages, and in the modern era, with...quarrels and disputes being few and far between. Unfortunately, we have documented the disputes one hundred times more than the periods of friendship and cooperation. I dream of the day when, thanks to the collaboration among us, this region will become a home overflowing with the light of learning and science, and blessed by the highest principles of heaven.'" --HaMifneh (Israel)

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Somekh, Sasson
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