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Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Allah's Garden is a true story of a Moroccan doctor's 25-year imprisonment in Sahara Desert. Told alongside the author's own time as a volunteer, the two stories combine to unveil secrets held deep within the desolate land known as "Allah's Garden."
Paperback, First Edition, 198 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Tales Press
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Mar 12, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it

Here is my updated review.

March 12
Allah’s Garden

This is two stories, one is of the author Thomas Hollowell, a idealistic but entitled kid who wants to do good in the world. His interest in service and in Morocco leads him to the Peace Corp, but we find out quickly that his desire to help is not really as strong as his desire to move to Morocco and he tells a recruiter if they don’t put him in his country of choice he might decline the assignment. He drifts around, quits his Peace Corp gig and e
Jul 04, 2012 Nezka rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, history
I received "Allah's Garden" as part of Goodreads Firstreads giveaway, and was both touched and horrified by the story. Unfortunately I had not heard about the conflict between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario group in the Western Sahara, but as usual, the toll was meted out on decent people. This book is a short narrative of the POW story of a young Moroccan doctor who was captured and in a camp for 24 years (the longest POW detention known in history). This man's compassion, kindness a ...more
Abby Jean
Feb 22, 2010 Abby Jean rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa, 2010
i really enjoyed learning the history of this story of Moroccans held as POWs in the saharan desert during disputes over the ownership of western sahara. however, other than the personal circumstances of the POWs held captive, this book was thin on historical context motivating the captors. I also wanted to know more about how NGOs such as the red cross could be so present in the camps without detecting the horrific abuses. this book whet my appetite for more information, but wasn't that substan ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Marcy rated it it was amazing
I have been wondering why the author named this book Allah's Garden. For the Western Sahara Desert was no garden for the over 2,000 Moroccan prisoners who were living under the brutal rule of the Polisario, an Algerian backed militant group who were out to claim their rightful homeland over twenty years. Prisoners were beaten with barbed wire, and worked to build structures for the Polisario from 4:00am to 12:00 midnight. Prisoners were dehydrated, underfed, and the stench of their own feces and ...more
Sep 23, 2014 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, morocco
The content is interesting - the author was in the Peace Corps in Morocco and met a man who was a prisoner of war (and a doctor in the prison, thus very slightly privileged) in the Sahara for 24 years. He learned the man's story and wrote about it and about his own experience in that part of the world. But I didn't think the two stories blended very well, and I didn't get enough historical context to really understand the interests of the two political groups. I just got the message that being a ...more
Aug 05, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting book about a conflict that has been going for decades and yet rarely grabs the headlines. When Western Sahara won its independence from Spain in 1975, Morocco laid claim to the land and sent thousands of settlers. Since then, an organisation called the Polisario has been fighting against Moroccan occupation.

This book tells the story of Azeddine, a young doctor who, during a brief stint of compulsory military service, is captured by the Polisario and kept in a POW camp in t
Jun 29, 2010 Dwayne rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Reviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.

Allah's Garden is a book out of my comfort zone; I often shy away from deliberately informing myself of the less than pleasant aspects of the human existence. However, I have been quite enlightened by this book. It's a book which I feel everyone should read; it's shocking, horrifying, and appalling, yet genuinely inspirational.

Allah's Garden is both shocking in its description of the horrors of war - what made it more poignant is that is focuses on a little k
Apr 15, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book as part of goodreads first reads. The story of the Moroccan doctor held prisoner for 24 years was eye opening as I did not know anything about the conflict regarding the Western Sahara. The author did a great job exposing the reader to the abuses these thousands of prisoners had to endure. I would have liked more historical background about this conflict included in the book. I would like to have learned a lot more information about the author's Peace Corps experience, what he di ...more
Najib El
Jun 28, 2013 Najib El rated it it was amazing
I bought this book to dig deep into the Sahara issue and its impact on humans affected on that pathway. What I assumed to be just another sad story turned out to be the most horrendous account of the conditions a substantial number of people suffered but mainly ignored in history books. The writer did an outstanding job of drawing the readers' attention by switching in time and in setting to enclose a break from the tragic events and to allow a shy presence of hope for the future. This book made ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Stefanie rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting and eye-opening about an area of the world and a conflict, I really had no previous knowledge of. To know that this type of situation was going on for essentially my whole life, is rather disturbing. I do wish that there had been a bit more detail- I felt the book could have tripled in size to add more. I would have loved to go into more of the doctor's past and present and also find out about the author a bit more. I would also love to know where things are no ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I won this from goodreads. It was an interesting read about a war I have never heard about in Morrocco. A very detailed account of a POW. Parts of the book read more like a text book rather than a reading book. Also a bit vague on the narrator story. Gives some clips to make you interested in his story, but then lets it drop. Similar in the feel as the book "Three cups of Tea" but a much better book in my opinion.
May 02, 2010 Sue rated it it was amazing
This book was very interesting. I am a student of political science yet I had never heard of this war in the Sahara. Definitely a forgotten war. I am glad that Thomas Hollowell wrote this book, the story needed to be told.
Daniel Pelaez
Apr 25, 2010 Daniel Pelaez rated it liked it
quick read and a very sad story about a POW in Western Sahara. I read similar books about kidnapping victim in other countries however this one was concise. I would recommend it to anyone.
Sep 16, 2010 Leah rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
First, I thought the cover was great, and I am someone who does--on occasion--judge a book by its cover. This book got a solid three stars from me.
Jun 21, 2010 Brandon rated it really liked it
Intriguing, moving, and relevant story concerning the plight of POWs.
Nov 29, 2010 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won from first-reads 1/30/10.
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Thomas Hollowell is an author and avid reader. He started out writing for magazines that eventually led him to writing books. Thus far he has published two books: Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco (Tales Press, 2009) and The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland (Adams Media, 2010). He has a wonderful agent in Connecticut. Thomas presents him with so ma ...more
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