Monday, November 19, 2012

Barefoot in Baghdad: A story of identity—my own and what it means to be a woman in chaos

By Manal M. Omar

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

One reason I found this book interesting was that it provided a potential “Consider This” selection for the eleventh edition of my college textbook COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY (McGraw-Hill).  In my textbook I have a chapter called “Intercultural Communication,” and I am always on the lookout for possible “boxed” additions—that is, sections that provide student readers with additional, insightful, and informative material that enhances, explains, or illustrates what is written in the text.

I have found Omar’s explanation of her multiple identities instructive, and the fact that it gave her her “own secret superpower” a useful insight–especially in the variety of different ways she was able to make use of that power.

The second reason I found this book interesting is that I have engaged in a great deal of foreign travel, and Omar’s description of and personal insights about Iraq are simply fascinating.  Admittedly, many are personal—and she states that at the outset.  But, having lived in Bangladesh for 14 months, I agree and concur with her observations.

The third reason I found this book interesting is found in Omar’s stories.  They are captivating and heartwrenching, to say the least.   The story of the five Iraqi girls inside an American trailer in the Green Zone (pp. 137-163) was especially touching.

The fourth reason this book is interesting is that it (along with a number of other books) well advertises the plight of women in many parts of the world.  If you are a woman, and if you want to champion women’s rights any place on the planet, this would be a good book to read to establish the foundation for strong arguments and to gather evidence for convincing disputation.

These four reasons alone are sufficient to recommend this book highly.  It is interesting, insightful, and captivating.

Barefoot in Baghdad: A story of identity—my own and what it means to be a woman in chaos can be purchased at Amazon.  

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