An ultimately heart-wrenching personal account.


An as-told-to autobiography explores an Islamist marriage.

The pseudonymous Nadia grew up in rural Algeria, the eldest daughter of poor parents who were alternately loving and abusive. Her village community was religious enough—they observed Muslim practices, if not especially strictly. When Nadia was a teenager, she became smitten with a neighbor boy, Ahmed. Though her parents objected to the match—Ahmed was a bit of a rogue—eventually the lovebirds married. Ahmed, it turns out, wasn’t just a harmless scoundrel. In the months before he married Nadia, he had become a militant Islamist, and joined the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, a terrorist organization determined to bring Islamist government to Algeria. Nadia tried to adjust to her husband’s Islamist zeal. Ahmed insisted that she cook meals for him and all of his comrades; complying required Nadia to spend literally every waking hour in the kitchen. Even once Nadia was pregnant, Ahmed pushed her to make sacrifices for the movement, working more and sleeping less. She contemplated disobeying him, but she knew that he would kill her without thinking twice. Eventually, Ahmed vanished and Nadia, fearful that the state police were hunting for her, fled her home. After giving birth and learning that Ahmed was dead, she made her way to an agency for victimized women and began to piece her life back together. Algerian journalist Gacemi interviewed Nadia in 1997, and shaped the interviews into this book, which was published in France in 1998. Occasionally, Gacemi’s penchant for breathless cliffhangers grows old: too many chapters end with dramatic sentences like “Saloua and Fatiha were later decapitated” or “I’ve paid dearly for it.” Nadia tells her story simply, offering little analysis. It is the very directness of the narrative that will push readers to consider both the appeal Islamism holds for some downtrodden women, and the way militant Islamism keeps women prisoners.

An ultimately heart-wrenching personal account.

Pub Date: June 20, 2006

ISBN: 0-8032-2204-1

Page Count: 159

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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