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Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad
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Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In Farewell, Babylon, Naim Kattan takes readers into the heart of exotic mid-19th-century Baghdad's then-teeming Jewish community. Jews had lived in Iraq for 25 centuries, long before the time of Christ or Muhammad, but anti-Semitism and nationalism were on the rise. In this beautifully written memoir, a young boy comes of age and describes his discoveries — of work, liter ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published February 6th 2006 by Raincoast Books
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Mary Soderstrom
Ten years ago the world was in turmoil after the ill-advised invasion of Iraq by American-led forces. Over the last two weeks there has been considerable comment on what happened--and didn't happen. Sadly, it seems that the lot of Iraqis is perhaps even worse than it was before.

This kind of reflectioin always sends me looking to see what I've read in the past that might resonate with the future. One of the most interesting is Naim Kattan' memoir Farewell, Babylon, first published in French in 1
Our images of Iraq today are quite tainted by recent events. This book tells of a very different era, a time of more openness and cooperation in the early 1940's - in the evolving years after attaining self-rule from British occupation. The Jewish community in Baghdad (in the era before the birth of the Israeli state) was accepted and respected.

The author was a young Jewish intellectual who enjoyed meeting with Muslim and Christian friends and discussing European literature, and their dreams for
Michael Lewyn
A coming of age memoir about Jewish life in 1940s Iraq. The book begins with a pogrom in 1941 and ends in 1947 when the author left the country. Although Baghdad was somewhat westernized, I was surprised by how traditional the society was: women were still secluded from male society (especially among Muslims), and marriages were still arranged with just a few minutes of contact between bride and groom.
I finished it just three days ago and I already forgot what it was about.
Hilary Hicklin
A coming-of-age memoir of a Jewish boy in Baghdad in the 1940s; I learnt a few new things but this is a poor translation which really marred any pleasure in the book. Had I known it was originally published in French I would have read it in that language.
Mark Nenadov
I found this title fairly interesting. It gives a good biographical look at a Jew living in Iraq. No "fireworks" or extremely dramatic stuff, just a good look at the human elements of the situation and some of the hardships encountered.
Adrian Brown
Interesting account of life in pre-1948 Jewish Baghdad, although not as flowing due to obvious translation of the work (it was originally published in French). Still good for those interested in Middle Eastern history.
David R.  Godine
"A fine portrait of a particular place and time that is no more."
- Library Journal

"In all respects, a most moving and haunting work."
- Montreal Star
Sandra D
Oct 15, 2008 Sandra D rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandra D by: Lynne
Shelves: middle-east, memoir
Life in mid-20th century Baghdad from an unexpected point of view. Interesting, but not captivating.
Arwa Alyasiri
I am reading the history of iraq from other viewpoint
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