Guest House for Young Widows: among the women of ISIS (Hardback)Azadeh Moaveni (author)
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Painting a complex, disturbing portrait of the myriad young women who abandoned settled, comfortable lives to commit themselves to the cause of Islamic State, Guest House for Young Widows addresses major socio-political themes through a prism of profound humanity. Rich in both personal testimony and penetrating commentary, Moaveni’s book is the definitive work on a hugely significant topic.
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2020
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019
An intimate, deeply reported account of the women who made a shocking decision: to leave their comfortable lives behind and join the Islamic State.
In early 2014, the Islamic State clinched its control of Raqqa in Syria. Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, urged Muslims around the world to come join the caliphate. Having witnessed the brutal oppression of the Assad regime in Syria, and moved to fight for justice, thousands of men and women heeded his call.
At the heart of this story is a cast of unforgettable young women who responded. Emma, from Germany; Sharmeena, from Bethnal Green, London; Nour, from Tunis: these were women - some still in school - from urban families, some with university degrees and bookshelves filled with novels by Jane Austen and Dan Brown; many with cosmopolitan dreams of travel and adventure. But instead of finding a land of justice and piety, they found themselves trapped within the most brutal terrorist regime of the twenty-first century, a world of chaos and upheaval and violence.
What is the line between victim and collaborator? How do we judge these women who both suffered and inflicted intense pain? What role is there for Muslim women in the West? In what is bound to be a modern classic of narrative nonfiction, Moaveni takes us into the school hallways of London, kitchen tables in Germany, the coffee shops in Tunis, the caliphate's OB/GYN and its 'Guest House for Young Widows' - where wives of the fallen waited to be remarried - to demonstrate that the problem called terrorism is a far more complex, political, and deeply relatable one than we generally admit.
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 458 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 28 mm
'For those interested in understanding ISIS brides, this book is essential reading.' - The Saturday Times
'...a skilful, sensitive report on the women who left their homes to join Islamic State - and found misery' - The Guardian
'Azadeh Moaveni has written a powerful, indispensable book on a challenging subject: the inner lives and motivations of women who joined or supported the Islamic State militant group. It is a great read, digestible and almost novelistic, but it is much more than that. Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIStackles many taboos that have hampered clear-eyed discussion of Islamist extremism in general and ISIS in particular. The book provides an illuminating, much-needed corrective to stock narratives, not only about the group that deliberately and deftly terrified officials and publics across the world, but also about the larger 'war on terror' and the often ineffective, even counterproductive policies of Western and Middle Eastern governments.' - Anne Barnard, The New York Times
'Eloquent, empathetic, insightful - and essential reading. A book chief international correspondent goes beyond slogans and stereotypes on a journey into a world we know too little about, in an attempt to understand young women whose stories startle and sadden.' - Lyse Doucet, BBC chief international correspondent
'What an extraordinary subject and what an extraordinary writer. This book will stun people ... It takes you somewhere you've never been before ... She writes wonderfully clearly and reveals these lives and these stories in all their complexities ... An incredibly important book.' - Frances Wilson
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