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Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  160 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Ali is a young camel in Egypt when he is captured by humans. Determined to "work, but never surrender," he earns a reputation as a disobedient animal and is sold to an American colonel. The year is 1856 and Ali soon finds himself in Texas as part of the U.S. Camel Corps. Crossing the landscape of 19th century America, Ali learns to balance his pride with the needs of his n ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Two Lions (first published 2004)
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Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute, quick little novel about a lesser known piece of history in the US army! I loved the camel point of view!
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
a young adult book/pre-teen maybe. Interesting subject idea- I never knew that the US Army had the idea to create a Camel Corp. Camels were brought over from Egypt in 1856/7 in an attempt to create a force usable in the desert southwest. the idea failed and the camels were sold off or let go. Camel sightings were recorded into the 1920's. Pretty crazy. the skeleton of one of the original camel's is in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Interesting- yes. The book is told from the viewpoin ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All animal lovers
This book was a great read, and gives you the little known US military history of the US Camel Corps. through the eyes of a Camel. By far one of the best books I have read
Jessica Chittester
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic little book. Here is not only a tale involving the long lost history of the American camel corps but also a story involving the animals involved. Though a historical fiction, this was deep and enriching. Such beauty. Such life! Everyone how is a history buff and animal lover needs to read this novel.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I should have hated this book. There were so many reasons for me to not finish it:

1) It was religious. So very very religious. A book written from a camel's point of view still mentioned the Quran and Allah more than once a page. The camels were all religious. It boggled me. If it had been any other religion, I would have tossed the book out, but I know so little about this one that learning new things kept me reading.

2) I love talking animal stories, however I like my animals to be animals, not
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A story of change set in the time when America is first expanding, Exiled is an amusing history of the United States not often told. Based in a time when camels were taken from Africa and brought to help the military explore the deserts of our own country, this is a work of historical fiction that should not be missed. Readers of all ages will experience first hand, through the eyes of Ali the camel, what it is like to be taken from all that you know, to be forced to work for people who do not u ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 1856 and 1857 United States Secretary of War Jefferson Davis imported camels from Egypt to serve the US Military in Texas and further West. This is their story, written from the point of view of one of the camels, Ali.

"Allah in His infinite wisdom created my kind, and I have no grudge to bear on that account. Are we not full of His meaning and high design? Are not we Ships of the Desert wonderfully practical? We can survive without water for days. We can live on thorns. But the part about car
Carol Royce Owen
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
In 1856 and 1857 camels were brought by boat from Egypt to be part of the United States Camel Corps, an experiment of then Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis. The camels were trained in Texas and used to help transport material, especially in the building of roads through desert terrain. When the Civil War broke out the experiment ended and many of the camels were sold off to mines and circuses or escaped.

Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel is told by one camel, Ali, who is brought over on the first trans
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel by Kathleen Karr tells a little bit of the story of the Camel Corps from a unique point of view: a camel named Ali. I never knew that the US Army brought two loads of camel to the US in the 1850s. They were trained in Texas (which, honestly, is what caught my attention when reading the synopsis) and then taken to California where they helped build roads and run mail to areas not easily accessible by other animals. Mostly, though, the experiment failed and was ended wit ...more
Bish Denham
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
If you or your kids want to learn about a little known bit of American history, written from the POV of a camel who lived through it, then Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel is for you! In 1856 a ship-load of camels was brought from Egypt to Texas. Another ship-load arrived the following year. It was hoped the camels would be useful to the U. S. Army for carrying supplies across the desert southwest. With Edward F. Beale in command, some of the camels were used to find a middle way to California. The ro ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Darlene by: Kindle Unlimited
I wish I had the hardbound book. I am glad that I was able to get the Kindle Unlimited version.

This is a fun little story based on true events between the gold rush and civil war. Camels were brought to America to aid in travel in the western deserts. This is from a fictional camel's point of view. Being from the land of the pyramids, Ali prays to Allah as is the custom from where he comes from.

Author, Kathleen Karr, wrote lovable characters. At times, there is a stretch of unbelievability, suc
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Ali, the spirited dromedary camel (that's a one-humped camel), has a story to tell of growing up and living under the shadow of the man-beasts. He is born next to the Nile River in 1855 and is blissfully happy during his milk-days with his mother. Then he is captured by the man-beasts and quickly learns the difference between yield and submit, as his mother tried to teach him. "We camels never submit willingly. Work, but never surrender," she tells Ali.

A year later, Ali was sold to an American m
Pamela Barrett
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-book
Exiled is based on a true story about the Camels who were brought to the United States in 1856 from Egypt, as part of the U.S. Camel Corps. They were used to help the army traverse the inhospitable Texan desert and create a new route to California. This cute story is told by a Camel named Ali, and his point of view makes this story come alive; in fact I’m still smiling as I write this because the author’s insights into camel behavior is entertaining and funny. Ali’s interaction with the other ca ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
I originally picked this book up because the title fascinated me. I mean, who knew that camels had memoirs?! It didn't disappoint. It may be a youth fiction book, but I believe all ages would enjoy reading it. It was fascinating and I had trouble putting it down!

I even learned a thing or two reading this book. For example, I never knew that our army had a camel corps before and during the Civil War. That's the whole premise behind this story - a camel is sent from Egypt to the United States to
A fictionalized story of a camel named Ali who is transported from Egypt to Texas as the United States Camel Corps. Two shipments in 1956 and in 1957 came to Texas in an experiment in using camels to travel in the American desert. The story is told from the camel's point of view and covers birth in the Egyptian wild, capture by Egyptians, attempting to tame the camel and being sold to American soldiers. The camel takes a three month trip on ship to Texas and the life under their new masters. The ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: america
12/13: Kindle Daily Deal. We all enjoyed this one as a family read-aloud and learned at the same time. It chronicles such an interesting chapter in American history in such a compelling way.

Amazon Book Description:
Ali is a young camel in Egypt when he is captured by humans. Determined to "work, but never surrender," he earns a reputation as a disobedient animal and is sold to an American colonel. The year is 1856 and Ali soon finds himself in Texas as part of the U.S. Camel Corps. Crossing the
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, historical
This reads like a classic tale; the writing is clear and sophisticated. Although short, recommended for strong readers for challenging word choices.[return] Ali is a camel born wild in Egypt, later captured and sold to a general who wants to make a camel cavalry for the United States army. Along the journey, he makes friends, enemies, and starts a family. Even though it is the memoirs of a camel, it reads realistically.[return]Fascinating author note details the research effort behind Exiled; th ...more
An awesome combination of all things I love - historical fiction, a unique perspective, and camels! This was a great story told from Ali the camel's point of view - about his capture and relocation from Egypt to Texas - and all of his adventures along the way as he dreams of regaining his freedom. You'll have to read to find out if he does!

Paired with a nonfiction book about camels, this would be a fun read for students. I read it after I read The Camel Family and was excited that many of the fa
Zach Miracle
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Every time I walked through the library and saw this book title and the engaging cover image, I was intrigued, and I finally had a chance to pick it up and read it this weekend.

This delightful book, by Kathleen Karr, follows the adventures of Ali, a camel from Egypt who is brought to Texas in 1856 as part of a US Army experiment to see if camels would be useful in the opening of the Great American West. This unlikely tale is based on true events, but told from the perspective of Ali. His observa
I thoroughly enjoyed your book Katherine . My sister wrote a small book, from the view of a cat. I enjoyed the parallels blending man and beast, home country's new home, still looking and finding their dreams. I am happy for the love between man and animals.

I rated Exiled Memoirs because it's so unique. I have told several friends about my camel book, but I read it on my kindle and don't know if available in book stores or library yet. But good luck and will be watching for more unique BOOKS fro
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Fun, quick read through the eyes of a young camel named, Ali. Little known account of a brief time in history when the US government used camels in the military. They were known at the United States Camel Corps and were shipped from Saudi Arabia to Texas in 1856. Unlike Arabia...the camels and young Ali have to acclimate to Texas..the deserts of the old West, Indians, rattlesnakes, and the California gold rush.

This book was entertaining and informative. I learned more about camels than I ever t
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This was an interesting story of the United States Camel Corps that was started in 1850. A number of camels were bought in Egypt and brought to Texas to use in mapping the United States. An Egyptian man named Hadji Ali (Hi-Jolly) was hired to care for the camels while on ship and after they got to Texas. The camels were used for a few years in various jobs, such as mail carriers, mapping the United States, and other activities like that. This is the story of one camel and his family, told from t ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: top-pics-jan-10
Ms. LaPorte's top pick for January 2010.

"Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel" is fiction, but much of fiction comes from information.
Could you imagine being a camel from Egypt, and being taken to the United States - Texas? This book is told from the point of view of a camel who had this experience.

Did you know the U.S. had a Camel Corp.? It ended with the Civil War. Read "Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel" and learn a bit more about it.

Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love finding off-beat incidents in history that give new insight to human endeavors. The camels brought to the U.S. before the Civil War, to help navigate the desert and build roads in the Southwest, are one of those exploits that have you rooting for the success of man and beast while you wonder, "What could the camels have been thinking?" Luckily, this tale is told as point-of-view of the camel!
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 4-5
Kathleen Karr's Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel tells of the historically true import of camels to the U.S. during President Buchanan's tenure, just before the Civil War. Even more than the story, I enjoyed the voice of the author and was encouraged to look for others she has written. Perhaps this was because telling the story through the eyes of a (semi)domesticated animal is somewhat limiting in terms of inter-character communication, other than in Camel.
Bg Mesina
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I count myself lucky to find this book piled up among kids books in an obscure bookstore in UAE. I was just looking for something to read. Funny that after Memoirs of a Geisha, Memoirs of a Camel became a favorite.
It is simple tale about camels and survival from point of view of a camel. It has drama, wit, adventure and lessons that are beneficial to growing kids. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus I get to learn about the US Camel Corps, something I had no idea existed.
Indeed it is a gem.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it liked it
I foound this in the juvenile section and the title caught my eye. It's a quick, fun read, but also historically interesting. It's about the US experiment in the mid-1800s on a beginning camel corps, through the eyes of one of the camels. It only took a couple of hours and could possibly be a good read-aloud for a family (which would take more than a couple of hours).
Jori Richardson
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: younger readers
I didn't especially enjoy this book, but I am not going to say it wasn't good. I am not exactly one for animal stories, but I have to admit that "Exiled" is a unique, very fun adventure story.
Kathleen Karr is a great, funny, and original author. Who else would have thought of doing a comedy-adventure story about camels during the Civil War?
Having been to Camp Verde, I was delighted to discover Exiled, the fictional memoir of a camel brought to America to serve in the US's short-lived camel corps. Simple but entertaining, the book educates on a little-known bit of history while also subtly encouraging tolerance of other cultures. Plus, you know, it has camels.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this little fast reading book. It is the story of Ali, a camel from Egypt, who is sent to American to be trained by the Army. When the Civil War starts the Army has better things to do then work with camels so Ali must figure out a way to find his dream and keep his family together. It is amazing how well readers get to know Ali and his other camel friends. Great Book!
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Kathleen Karr was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and grew up on a chicken farm in Dorothy, New Jersey. After escaping to college, she worked in the film industry, and also taught in high school and college. She seriously began writing fiction on a dare from her husband. After honing her skills in women’s fiction, her children asked her to write a book for them, (It Ain’t Always Easy, Farrar, Str ...more
More about Kathleen Karr