The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq

(Author) (Translator)
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$16.95  $15.76
New Directions Publishing Corporation
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5.1 X 7.9 X 0.7 inches | 0.55 pounds

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About the Author

Dunya Mikhail was born in Baghdad, Iraq. After graduating from university, she worked as a journalist and translator for The Baghdad Observer. Facing censorship and interrogation, she left Iraq, first to Jordan and then to America, settling in Detroit. Her prior book, The Beekeeper, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing and works as a special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland University in Michigan.
Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, New Jersey. He is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi`ism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon (2010), co-editor (with Jens Hanssen) of Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (Cambridge, 2016), and translator, most recently, of Nihad Sirees, States of Passion (2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East History from Stanford University, held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and the Harvard Society of Fellows, and his research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Commission, the Social Science Research Council, and the Carnegie Corporation. Currently, he is writing about the intellectual and cultural history of modern Syria, and translating several works of modern and contemporary Arabic literature.


Remarkable. A child's perspective mingles freely with the poet's mature voice, both baffled by the paradoxes of so much beauty and so much destruction.--Ron Charles
Shakespeare would have enjoyed the poetry of Dunya Mikhail, who has spoken of love as a response to a war-torn world-an aesthetic, a value, and a practice.--Elizabeth Toohey
The Beekeeper is a brutally important, electrifying, and lyrical true story.--Paige Van de Winkle
A searing portrait of courage.
Iraqi journalist and poet Mikhail lays bare the agonizing experiences of the Yazidi people at the hands of ISIS in this visceral account of the outskirts of modern day Iraq. In 2014, ISIS began invading villages of northern Iraq, killing most of the men and enslaving the women and children. Much of Mikhail's account is made up of first-person testimonies of several survivors who speak of being repeatedly raped, sold to the highest bidder, and tortured. They recall losing their families and witnessing their children, raised by ISIS supporters, becoming "a distorted version" of who they once were. Mikhail also homes in on the rescue efforts of a man named Abdullah, a local beekeeper who used his knowledge of the region and the money he made selling honey in Iraq and Syria to cultivate a "hive of transporters and smugglers" to save women; he subsequently connected Mikhail to several survivors. Powerful and heartbreaking, this work lets the survivors tell their stories and highlights the courage of those risking their lives to rescue others.-- (02/19/2018)
Dunya Mikhail, award-winning poet, has gathered first-person stories from those who survived [an] unthinkable ordeal, as well as those who worked tirelessly to rescue them. We should all read it.-- (07/31/2018)
This remarkable book tells of one man's attempts to fight back and to rescue his people from a life of horror. In the hands of Dunya Mikhail, an Iraqi Assyrian poet, the stories of these women and their escape, with Abdullah's help, become a horrifying tightrope walk. Abdullah's story is a remarkable one, and it is told with great intensity by Mikhail.-- (08/05/2018)
Haunting and captivating--a powerful portrait of courage.
Mikhail's harrowing account of the horrors inflicted on women captured by Isis...A powerful reminder.