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Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,817 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
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 disowne ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 13th 2010 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published April 1st 2010)
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Nicki Hill
Jul 26, 2010 Nicki Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very pertinent to me: "Social workers in the West will tell you that immigrants need to maintain group cohesion for their mental health, because otherwise they will be confused and their self-esteem destroyed. This is untrue. The idea that immigrants need to maintain group cohesion promotes the perception of them as victim groups requiring special accommodation, an industry of special facilities and assistance. If people should conform to their ancestral culture, it therefore follows that they s ...more
Libby (Streed's Reads)
FTC NOTICE: Library Book

REVIEW:Nomad” exists as one of the best books I have ever read. Ayaan Hirsi Ali presented herself as an incredible, multi-faceted, dynamic human being, and her book did not waste a single word in its effort to directly and thoughtfully convey her Somali clan culture, Muslim history, and personal growth that paved the way to an atheistic position.

She clearly defined how the Muslim religion manifested itself in numerous familial generations and those around her. This beli
Aug 23, 2010 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Undoubtedly an exceptional mind here. There is no surprise that she has attacted so much attention. One only wishes that her personal life could have been richly rewarding, but then, one can't have everything. Perhaps if she had a family that loved her, we would not be the recipients of her mental largesse. A couple of things stand out: 1) this is yet another woman from a Muslim background telling us Islam an irreparable and damaged religion focused on doing harm to women and non-Muslims and we ...more
Yet another author that I wish I knew personally! This book is an excellent sequel to her first book, “Infidel”. Everyone should read both of them, and, mind you, this is coming from me. Honestly, I’m rarely pushy with books, or at least I try not to be. The older I get, the less I seem to tell people what to do. Her two books are an exception.

Towards the end of the book, she does a brilliant job calling feminists to action to take up the cause of Muslim women and girls. After all, how can toda
Oct 02, 2010 Milan/zzz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s books are not the type of books for which you can say “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. Those sorts of evaluations are just too trivial and utterly inadequate. ”Nomad” is not exception. Her Infidel” blown me away and this one is a sort of sequel.

She’s an exceptionally brave woman and in her books she’s not compromising with very sensitive issues which leaves two options to the reader: to agree or disagree. But then she elaborates her statements incredibly strongly so when yo
Meneesha Govender
Dec 05, 2010 Meneesha Govender rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia into a strict Muslim family.

When her father sent her overseas to marry a man she did not know, Ali chose to ignore her family's wishes and carve out a new life for herself in the Netherlands.

After studying political science and getting a degree, she joined the Labour Party.

After 9/11, Ali denounced Islam and this paved the way for her to become a member of the Dutch Parliament.

She captured the world's attention with her first book Infidel - a coming-of-age me
May 04, 2011 Marjorie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, no more pussy foot'in around about the conflict between tribal and urban, western, traditional. 'In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colorful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse.'

Women, girls bare the weight of Islamic violence of male domination; physically, legally, psychologically. Female genital ci
Feb 26, 2015 Karla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Religion has always mystified me, even as a kid.

When I heard about the whole "no meat on Friday" thing as a young grade schooler, I immediately - and for years afterward - assumed that these people would get sick if they ate a wrong food on a specific day. Catholics obviously had different digestive systems. Seemed logical. Same with that whole kosher deal. HOLY SHIT, A FORK THAT HAS TOUCHED PORK WILL MAKE THEM DROP DEAD??!!!? D: Silly me assumed that there was something scientifically valid in
Chris Aylott
Oct 11, 2012 Chris Aylott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an excellent writer. The events she has seen with her own eyes are gripping and worth serious consideration. However, I'm also convinced she's a paranoid wingnut who throws out a bunch of wild assertions instead of facts.

She is convincing when she describes the abuse she and the women she knows have suffered in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and other lovely hotspots in Africa and the Middle East. "I saw this and that happen" is great evidence. However, there is no evidence that sugge
Jillian O'connor
Hirsi Ali's second polemic is a personal story of her disillusionment with Islam and her infatuation with the West. Her romantic interpretation of American ideals through show tune lyrics smacks of a newcomer's naivete. Her assertion that her family's dysfunction is entirely the result of Islam ignores the role that mental illness seems to have played in her family's history.

Her passionate arguments for feminists to stand up and call out the mistreatment of women within the Muslim community are
Nov 04, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Respecters of words
I was thirty-eight years old and I was only beginning to truly understand why people want to belong somewhere, and to understand how difficult it is to sever all ties with the culture and religion in which you are born. Outwardly I was a success. People wrote articles about me, they asked me what books I was reading and what I thought of Barack Obama. My speeches received standing ovation. But my personal life was a mess. I had escaped from my family and gone to Europe because I hadn't wanted
When I began this book I knew there'd be some opinions I would not share (knowing Ayaan's been published in a prominent right-wing newspaper in Australia). But I always think it's good to challenge yourself with differing opinions as they can only enhance your own views, so I persevered 'til the end.
The one thing I really liked was her chapter on Western feminism and their ignorance and inaction on Muslim women's issues for fear of being Islamophobic. However, a similar and better critique of We
Петър Стойков
Защо емигрантите от мюсюлманските страни не могат да се интегрират в западното общество? Защо второ, трето и четвърто поколение мароканци във Франция, сомалийци в Холандия и анадолски турци в Германия не само не говорят местния език, но и мразят родната си държава и се поддават на влиянието на радикалния ислям…

Три са основните колони, на които се крепи назадничавостта на културата в традиционно ислямските държави, подхранвана от самите постулати на религията им – секс, пари и насилие. Именно сре
"We make our sons. This is the tragedy of the tribal Muslim man, and especially the firstborn son: the overblown expectations, the ruinous vanity, the unstable sense of self that relies on the oppression of one group of people--women--to maintain the other group's self image."

I found the above quote to be one of the most powerful statements in Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book Nomad. It is all the more significant because it occurs in a chapter devoted to her brother who, Ms. Hirsi Ali argues, is as much a
Mikey B.
Dec 15, 2012 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, again, is a most striking work by the maverick Somailian, ex-Muslim writer. She is begging the West not to give away its’ values of liberty and secularism, and to stop giving into and appeasing Islamism. She provides many useful warnings – as in honour killings (in the U.S. and Canada) not recognized as being linked to Islamic beliefs for the fear of being offensive to religious values.

This book is even more personal than her previous books. She describes in some detail her family and the
Jun 27, 2012 Gaby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wonder what it would have been like to read this book without having read Infidel first. I feel that without reading the author's experiences as she describes them in Infidel, and the bravery and strength that oozes out of the pages of that book, it would be hard to understand where she is coming from. That personal connection was missing from Nomad, with the exception of the first part of the book. She still makes very interesting arguments, but due to some bad editing or writing, ends up rep ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Ayann is just impressive. It is hard to believe she was born speaking Arabic and Somali and that English is not her mother tongue. I was born speaking Arabic, but she is far more sophisticated, more intelligent, more academically analytical than I am. I read her book, sit at her feet and learn from her, such an excellent scholar. Her life comes through this book and she is every bit as real and at the same time she is really well-learned and you can't help but read her phrases over and over agai ...more
She is a courageous woman but this book, I'm sorry to say, is disappointing, disjointed and ranting.
Blast you Marty Moss-Coane! I was going to buy this book when it came out in paperback, mostly because I enjoyed Infidel. Then who does Marty Moss-Coane have on Radio Times? Yes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As usual for Moss-Coane, it was an excellent interview and made it impossible for me to wait for the book to come out in paperback. (As an aside, Radio Times is one of the reasons why NPR should be supported. Excellent, unbiased interviews. Hurtful to your wallet though).

This book is not a sequel or fol
Kevin McAllister
This book was a real eye opener for me. As a left wing liberal I was totally opposed to Bush's invasion of Iraq. And I'm still opposed to the reason U.S. troops were sent in. Lets face it the U.S. didn't invade Iraq to spread democracy, we went in for the oil.
But what I learned from reading Nomad is that perhaps offensive actions against Islam do need to be taken. Liberals believe in acceptance of foreign cultures. That it's wrong to force our beliefs and ideas on cultures universally. But what
Lady Jane
In Nomad, Ayaan Hirsi Ali's sequel to Infidel, Ms. Ali takes a different tactic. She uses her story of being a nomad, and that of relatives who remained ensconced in Islamic culture, as a vehicle and springboard to share her political views on Islam and Islam's impact on culture--both of predominantly Islamic and Western democratic societies.

Ms. Ali communicates bold insights, conclusions and remedies to the conflict between Islam and Western democratic societies, providing a clarion call to Am
May 27, 2010 Adella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feeling about the book. Very glad I read it. But prefer Infidel. Nomad attempts to explain how to deal with fundamentalist/jihadist Islam, and while I think Ayaan makes some good points based on her personal experience, I am bothered by her political ideas about how to combat breeding grounds for Islamic fundamentalists. For instance, one solution she describes is to get the Church involved. Really? Combat religion with religion?

Yet she makes no reference to the rise of political power in
Jul 30, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I very much enjoyed reading her story. I thought it was heartfelt, honest, and very informative. This book is based soley on her experiences, thoughts, and opinions and the reader should remember that throughout.
Verna Seal
Feb 03, 2011 Verna Seal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most amazing books I've ever read. And I quote: "Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society. And yes, it includes the right to blaspheme and to offend.
♥ Marlene♥
First of all I am going to point you to my friend Milan's review.

To my surprise he touched all the subjects in the book that I wanted to.

Milan's great review

To be honest this book was very hard for me to read. Why? Because she warned us so many years ago and it seems that the people have had it with all the immigration and the wrong ways of treating them. It is affecting many people's daily life but the politicians do not listen and keep on muddle cuddling them to the expense of the people that
Apr 29, 2012 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book tells us why the West should be wary of Islam. I found it interesting, but a bit scary (that the Muslims can do real harm to the world). The author grew up Muslim, then when she was being forced into marriage with a distant cousin, "escaped" to the Netherlands. She tells us many of the differences between Western culture and the Moslem culture.

The author seems incredibly intelligent. After she escaped, she learned 2 new languages (Dutch and English). She went to college and studied, a
Faith Spinks
I was expecting this to be a continued biography picking up from her move to the USA and where she left off in Infidel. But Nomad is so much more than that and it far exceeded my expectations! She thinks beyond just her own life and compares her own experience to those of other members of her family, either as migrants to the west or remaining in Africa, and with other Muslim women.

Throughout the book Ayaan is highly critical of Islam and the threat she perceives that it could pose to western c
Apr 27, 2011 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to add to my review of this book now that I have a little more time. Ayaan's main purpose in writing this book was to enlist the help of the West in protecting Islamic women (website She describes the practices she is concerned with: denial of education for girls, genital mutilation, forced marriage, honor violence, and restrictions on girls' freedom of movement. Her personal experience with these abuses is disturbing. Critics of her book argue that her experi ...more
Oliver Holm
May 11, 2016 Oliver Holm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"All human beings are equal, but all cultures and religions are not.

A culture that celebrates femininity and considers women to be the masters of their own lives is better than a culture that mutilates girls' genitals and confines them behind walls and veils or flogs or stones them for falling in love. A culture that protects women's rights by law is better than a culture in which a man can lawfully have four wives at once and women are denied alimony and half their inheritance. A culture that
Sep 18, 2010 Marieke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
i started this this morning. and quickly decided it was pointless for me to read. I read Infidel and that was enough for me. this is nothing but more propaganda custom-made for people who need an excuse to continue to vilify Islam or "feel sorry" for the "oppressed" Muslim woman, and in which she mixes up Islam with patriarchy and puts western civilization on a pedestal, despite her claims to value "critical thinking." Also, this book did seem nearly as well-written as Infidel. Granted I only go ...more
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This book is a complete waste! 2 12 Mar 31, 2015 02:02PM  
  • Why I am Not a Muslim
  • The Flight of the Intellectuals
  • From Fatwa to Jihad
  • A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam
  • Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith
  • The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith
  • Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars
  • Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World
  • The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought
  • What's Left?
  • Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate
  • Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An Education in War
  • Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless
  • No One Left to Lie to: The Values of the Worst Family
  • Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror
  • Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers
  • Not the Impossible Faith
  • The Al Qaeda Reader: The Essential Texts of Osama Bin Laden's Terrorist Organization
"Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch feminist, writer, and politician. She is the estranged daughter of the Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She is a prominent critic of Islam, and her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh's movie Submission led to death threats. Since van Gogh' ...more
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“It is easy to be disgruntled if you are denied rights and freedoms to which you feel entitled. But if you are not coherent, if you cannot put into words what it is that displeases you and why it is unfair and should change, then you are dismissed as an unreasonable whiner. You may be lectured about perseverance and patience, life as a test, the need to accept the higher wisdom of others.” 34 likes
“In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colorful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse.” 33 likes
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