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A poignant account of personal bravery, love, and loss and a chronicle of the tragedy of our times.

With the assistance of Robbins, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Abdi chronicles the ravages of the ongoing civil war in Somalia and her efforts to establish a safe haven amid the destruction.

The author begins in 1960, when, at the age of 13, she witnessed the end of colonial occupation. She describes the first years of independence as a glorious time. After a border war with Ethiopia and severe drought, corruption and civil strife emerged, and people turned to their clans for protection. Violence followed as warlords clashed and rampaged across the land. “An entire generation has grown up without law and order,” writes the author, providing fertile ground for Muslim fundamentalism to take hold. Against this backdrop, Abdi's accomplishments are remarkable. Although raised in a traditional male-dominated society, she liberated herself and got a formal education, receiving a scholarship abroad to train as a physician. Returning, she was one of only 60 physicians in Somalia, 35 of whom worked in the hospital to which she was assigned. She married, and she and her husband moved to land on the outskirts of Mogadishu that was owned by her family. Abdi continued working at the hospital while starting a clinic for mothers and children on the property, and her husband farmed the land. As the political condition in the country deteriorated, the farm provided food and a haven for refugees. Despite threats to her safety and her husband's desertion, she stayed and organized support from international organizations. In 2010, the enclave of the farm, which by then sheltered 91,000 people, was overrun and destroyed. She was forced to live abroad, where she continued her advocacy for the people of her homeland.

A poignant account of personal bravery, love, and loss and a chronicle of the tragedy of our times.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4555-0376-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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