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Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World

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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK "Explains powerfully how Muslim women are affected by the rise of fundamentalism."--Dan Rather In recent years, the expanding movement of militant Islam has changed the way millions think, behave, dress, and live, but nowhere has its impact been more powerfully felt than in its dramatic, often devastating effect on the lives of women. Award-winn A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK "Explains powerfully how Muslim women are affected by the rise of fundamentalism."--Dan Rather In recent years, the expanding movement of militant Islam has changed the way millions think, behave, dress, and live, but nowhere has its impact been more powerfully felt than in its dramatic, often devastating effect on the lives of women. Award-winning journalist Jan Goodwin traveled through ten Islamic countries and interviewed hundreds of Muslim women, from professionals to peasants, from royalty to rebels. The result is an unforgettable journey into a world where women are confined, isolated, even killed for the sake of a "code of honor" created and zealously enforced by men. Price of Honor brings to life a world in which women have become pawns in a bitter power game, and gives readers a provocative look inside Muslim society today--in their own words.


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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK "Explains powerfully how Muslim women are affected by the rise of fundamentalism."--Dan Rather In recent years, the expanding movement of militant Islam has changed the way millions think, behave, dress, and live, but nowhere has its impact been more powerfully felt than in its dramatic, often devastating effect on the lives of women. Award-winn A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK "Explains powerfully how Muslim women are affected by the rise of fundamentalism."--Dan Rather In recent years, the expanding movement of militant Islam has changed the way millions think, behave, dress, and live, but nowhere has its impact been more powerfully felt than in its dramatic, often devastating effect on the lives of women. Award-winning journalist Jan Goodwin traveled through ten Islamic countries and interviewed hundreds of Muslim women, from professionals to peasants, from royalty to rebels. The result is an unforgettable journey into a world where women are confined, isolated, even killed for the sake of a "code of honor" created and zealously enforced by men. Price of Honor brings to life a world in which women have become pawns in a bitter power game, and gives readers a provocative look inside Muslim society today--in their own words.

30 review for Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    Anyone who was paying attention may have noticed it took me forever to finish this book. That's because I had to stop between sections and fits of depression/insanity. The author traveled from country to country in the Islamic world and interviewed women in all parts of Muslim society for this book, and the views she presents are appalling, heart-breaking, enraging, and terrifying. From women in their kitchens to women who own and operate businesses there is one message: the first move of Islami Anyone who was paying attention may have noticed it took me forever to finish this book. That's because I had to stop between sections and fits of depression/insanity. The author traveled from country to country in the Islamic world and interviewed women in all parts of Muslim society for this book, and the views she presents are appalling, heart-breaking, enraging, and terrifying. From women in their kitchens to women who own and operate businesses there is one message: the first move of Islamic fundamentalism is to reduce the power of Muslim women, to veil them and restrict them at all times to their homes. From there the stories vary to triumphs over the male establishment to litanies of freedoms lost and brutalities practiced on helpless women who have no one to turn to. More frightening is the picture of many secularized governments, agencies, women, and men surrendering more and more to the allure of Islamic fundamentalism, whether the intent is to buy the fundamentalists off with a few concessions, only to find the universal truth of allowing the camel to get his nose in the tent (I use this analogy for plenty of things, not only when I'm talking about the Islamic world), or whether the intent is full-fledged conversion to a style of Islam that accepts no shades of gray. The women who have leadership positions in different countries are splendid creatures, and they are supreme realists. They know their world, and I think what they have to say about it is illuminating. Of interest also is the women who have also become speakers for fundamentalist Islam. Goodwin doesn't editorialize about them or about the men she interviews; she lets their words speak for them, which I appreciated. It's the words of the women without privilege that made me cry. This is a very painful read. My husband asked me to stop talking about it to him very early on--he can't stand hearing about people who are victimized if there is nothing he can do about it. My view is that we need to learn what is happening. We need to see what we can do, if anything. We can't ignore what is going on, not just with Islamic fundamentalists, but fundamentalism here. Women are in trouble and there has to be a way to help.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    When I picked up this book I thought it would be just a sad tale of women's abuse in Islamic countries, but this is so much more. It's also a look at the geopolitics and history of the Middle East and Subcontinent, and is very well researched. The author is an investigative journalist who spent four years traveling to 10 Islam-dominated countries interviewing women from all walks of life: from the very poor and disenfranchised, to privileged Saudi princesses and doctors. She allows us a rare acc When I picked up this book I thought it would be just a sad tale of women's abuse in Islamic countries, but this is so much more. It's also a look at the geopolitics and history of the Middle East and Subcontinent, and is very well researched. The author is an investigative journalist who spent four years traveling to 10 Islam-dominated countries interviewing women from all walks of life: from the very poor and disenfranchised, to privileged Saudi princesses and doctors. She allows us a rare access into their world that we don't have through the regular media channels. She interviews women who have suffered psychologically, physically and sexually at the mercy of fundamentalist Islam, and also women who actively work towards a stronger Islamification of their own countries. In this way she shows both perspectives of the trend towards a resurgence of fundamentalism, and what issues arise because of it. She also explores the changing nature of the religion, how Islam used to be a lot more liberal and inclusive towards women, and how the trend towards fundamentalism and radicalisation is strongly tied to political endeavours and geopolitics. She also explores how the West's, especially the US's reliance of crude oil from the Arab states, and their purposeful lack of investment into renewable sources of energy such as solar, leaves them extremely vulnerable to a region of the world that is highly politically volatile and unstable. This book was published in 1994 and lastly revised and updated in 2003, so with that in mind, you realize that a lot of the events predicted by experts on the region, and as outlined in this book, have come to fruition. For example the toppling of Saddam Hussein is not covered in this book, and the outcomes the second Iraq-US war had on the security and situation for women in that country. Also the commencement of the second Intifada in Palestine is not addressed. It would be really interesting to hear how the situation has changed in these regions, and what consequences it has had for women. This is not an anti-Islam book. This is a well researched account of the lives of women from all levels of society in the Middle East, the differences in how they live, in what way their personal and professional lives are curtailed and shaped by the decisions of men and religious leaders. It was extremely fascinating, and anyone interested in women's issues, the Middle East, the history of Islam and politics would probably find it so as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Graciela

    This book gave me nightmares! Not a lot of books do that. The characters were so vivid in my mind - the struggles these women faced were horrifying - everything was stuck in my mind. The book was so good, it drew me in - the author did an awesome job depicting Muslim women's daily lives in Dubai and other places in the middle east. I have a lot of respect for the author, she knew it was necessary to write about women's lives by actually living with them. I believe that this is the best way to wr This book gave me nightmares! Not a lot of books do that. The characters were so vivid in my mind - the struggles these women faced were horrifying - everything was stuck in my mind. The book was so good, it drew me in - the author did an awesome job depicting Muslim women's daily lives in Dubai and other places in the middle east. I have a lot of respect for the author, she knew it was necessary to write about women's lives by actually living with them. I believe that this is the best way to write. The author was forced to follow Muslim customs, and in some areas had to wear traditional clothing. She also placed herself in danger while associating with women writers, journalists and political figures who challenged the Taliban regime. She also writes about the Burka and the effect it had in women, and their daily tasks. In this book you will also find a description of building structures ( houses with windows located in the roof ) so that women weren't seen without their traditional wear while at home. T.V channels are also enforced by the government along with radio stations, life in the middle east is overly controlled. Although this book gave me the goosebumps and nightmares I recommended it - the voices of these women need to be heard, reading about them will create conscience and hopefully promote social change.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    An extremely intense read about women in the Islamic world, in particular the Middle East. It should be noted that Goodwin is respectful toward Islam. The first chapter of the book is a look at the history of Islam, in particular in regards to women. The people that Goodwin interviews are followers of Islam. The point is that the treatment is due to fundementalism, which would be true of any religion. Goodwin looks at not only the treatment of women under a fundementalism regim, but also why such An extremely intense read about women in the Islamic world, in particular the Middle East. It should be noted that Goodwin is respectful toward Islam. The first chapter of the book is a look at the history of Islam, in particular in regards to women. The people that Goodwin interviews are followers of Islam. The point is that the treatment is due to fundementalism, which would be true of any religion. Goodwin looks at not only the treatment of women under a fundementalism regim, but also why such regimes gain power. A must read not only for the current events in the Middle East but also for the treatment of women.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lalove

    This book left me shocked and outraged. While the book is not anit-Muslim, it definitely illustrates the plight of many Muslim women who are falling prey to the anti-female teachings of Islamic fundamentalists. Though parts of the book were hard to read, I was very glad I read it, and it left me really wishing there was something I could do to help these poor women. It makes me sick to think that these kinds of abuses are happening in our world today. I'm so gratefuly I live in the U.S.! This book left me shocked and outraged. While the book is not anit-Muslim, it definitely illustrates the plight of many Muslim women who are falling prey to the anti-female teachings of Islamic fundamentalists. Though parts of the book were hard to read, I was very glad I read it, and it left me really wishing there was something I could do to help these poor women. It makes me sick to think that these kinds of abuses are happening in our world today. I'm so gratefuly I live in the U.S.!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen C.

    I thought this book was extraordinary. It is filled with amazing, hard to find, information. It’s extremely depressing from a woman’s perspective and painfully eye-opening. The saddest part about this book is the way Muslim women have internalized this misogyny in the name of religion. No true God would make an entire gender fall to the mercy of another. But this misogyny is cloaked in the name of honor and is falsely assumed to be written in the Quran. I see no end in sight unless the men come I thought this book was extraordinary. It is filled with amazing, hard to find, information. It’s extremely depressing from a woman’s perspective and painfully eye-opening. The saddest part about this book is the way Muslim women have internalized this misogyny in the name of religion. No true God would make an entire gender fall to the mercy of another. But this misogyny is cloaked in the name of honor and is falsely assumed to be written in the Quran. I see no end in sight unless the men come to their senses or the women take up arms. I would have given this book five stars; however, I was not happy with the Palestinian chapter. The author tiptoes around the fact that in 1967 Israel won the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem during an attack by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt (and with the help of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as others). As a result, a reader not familiar with the history would find extreme fault with Israel. I don’t agree with how the Israelis treat the Palestinians, if in fact what she describes is true. There are many innocent victims in this mess and at the rate they’re going, there will be no peace, and only deep scars will carry the hatred on for generations to come. However, Israel cannot be blamed for the egoistic and misogynistic Muslim men writing up Sharia Law and severely punishing their women. I too pray five times a day--in all directions--that they don’t ever rule the world.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Holli

    I cannot finish this book. I tried really hard. I got almost to the last chapter, but I've come to dread picking it back up again. It took me a long time to read as far as I did. I had to stop after ever chapter to read some happy novels. This book is full of sexual terror, gender based trauma, and just about every form of suffering a woman can encounter, all in the name of honor and religious ideals. I give 5 stars to women brave enough to share their stories. I give 3 stars to the author for h I cannot finish this book. I tried really hard. I got almost to the last chapter, but I've come to dread picking it back up again. It took me a long time to read as far as I did. I had to stop after ever chapter to read some happy novels. This book is full of sexual terror, gender based trauma, and just about every form of suffering a woman can encounter, all in the name of honor and religious ideals. I give 5 stars to women brave enough to share their stories. I give 3 stars to the author for her analysis on the nature of Islam. She quotes passages from the Quran to prove Islam is in fact a benefactor of women's rights, but the passages she quotes make my toes curl. Her passages prove Islam offers rights to women, but it is very clear that they are vastly inferior to those offered to their male counterparts. I have studied Islam in depth and have personally traveled more than once to the Middle East, I know first hand that Islam, at its core, does NOT support women's rights. Let me rephrase. It does not support equal rights. Be warned before you read this book: it is difficult, it will take a long time, and you will end up sharing in the suffering of every woman who shared her story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alleydancer07

    I read this book in 2000, before the American media really exposed any of the plight of muslim women living under strict Islamic rule. An incredibly jarring eye-opener of a book. Dr Goodwin has succeeded in opening up long-barred doors and windows into the lives of these women, and eloquently and respectfully told the tales of those who would otherwise remain silenced by the oppressive regime under which they live. Anyone and everyone should read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda Tuplin

    I found this a difficult book to read, partly because the politics is unfamiliar to me, and mostly because of the poverty, pain, and powerlessness of the women interviewed. I wonder how much the situations have changed since the book was written? I am profoundly grateful for where I live and the freedoms I enjoy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Corvus

    I actually read this years ago but was reminded of it this morning. If I'm remembering it right at all, it was interesting and moving. While not painting a pretty picture of life for muslim women, Goodwin took care to show a variety of experience. I actually read this years ago but was reminded of it this morning. If I'm remembering it right at all, it was interesting and moving. While not painting a pretty picture of life for muslim women, Goodwin took care to show a variety of experience.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Cahoon

    Goodwin is an excellent author and presents a fantastic portrayal of the conditions of women in various countries throughout the Middle East. I liked how the author divided the chapters up by country, rather than separating the chapters by issue--it aids the reader in keeping track of what's going on. Obviously, there are many aspects of this book that are not cheery or uplifting in the slightest. It describes horrible instances of abuse and torture, and Goodwin doesn't shy from providing detail Goodwin is an excellent author and presents a fantastic portrayal of the conditions of women in various countries throughout the Middle East. I liked how the author divided the chapters up by country, rather than separating the chapters by issue--it aids the reader in keeping track of what's going on. Obviously, there are many aspects of this book that are not cheery or uplifting in the slightest. It describes horrible instances of abuse and torture, and Goodwin doesn't shy from providing details that can be graphic and disturbing. The stories make the reader angry and appalled--they are supposed to. On the other hand, she also does a good job of describing, talking to, and introducing those women, men, and organizations in the Middle East and abroad who are striving to increase women's access to resources, aid, and improve their conditions--however difficult the task ahead of them may be. I felt the book was well researched and the author did an excellent job of remaining educational and neutral--while still seeming extremely knowledgeable and deeply involved in the culture (and well connected!--the interviews she had were with some fantastic people!). On the other hand, some comments from previous reviewers I completely disagree with; I viewed the chapter on Israel to be more pro-Palestine, but felt that she took a similar standpoint to most scholars--that it takes work from both sides to achieve any goal. My only negative was that I felt the epilogue didn't fit with the book at all--it focused entirely on foreign oil and I felt that came entirely out of the blue when compared with the rest of the book. If she were to update it (which I would suggest, given some of the significant changes that have occurred over the last ten years, e.g., Egypt, Libya, Iraq-Afghanistan, Hussein), I would suggest changing the epilogue to more accurately reflect the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    This is an excellent book about the real lives and experiences of Muslim women. I learned a lot about this book and it is a great insight into how different women have different experiences in their "oppressed" lives. I put oppressed in quotes because one of the lessons of the book is that all of these women felt bad for the author Jan because she was childless which in their eyes is the worst thing that could happen. It was also enlightening to see how the "liberation" from the Taliban did impr This is an excellent book about the real lives and experiences of Muslim women. I learned a lot about this book and it is a great insight into how different women have different experiences in their "oppressed" lives. I put oppressed in quotes because one of the lessons of the book is that all of these women felt bad for the author Jan because she was childless which in their eyes is the worst thing that could happen. It was also enlightening to see how the "liberation" from the Taliban did improve many lives but in many cases caused women to become pawns in the warlords game of Risk. A great read and I believe it still to be very current.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tushar Tyagi

    Although this book was published good 15 years ago and the world has gone through some changes (Saddam's death, 9/11, America's invasion of Iraq to name a few), it greatly defined the gruesome conditions of women in middle east. It is sad to read how they were ill-treated and disrespected all in the name of giving them a "better place" at home and after-death. Although this book was published good 15 years ago and the world has gone through some changes (Saddam's death, 9/11, America's invasion of Iraq to name a few), it greatly defined the gruesome conditions of women in middle east. It is sad to read how they were ill-treated and disrespected all in the name of giving them a "better place" at home and after-death.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    An interesting exploration of the situation of Muslim women in countries in the Middle East. The book explores political and religious pressures that impact the lives of women. I liked how the book went from country to country exploring the lives of rich, poor, educated, and uneducated women. Even within each country the lives of women can be different depending on the resources available to them and the status/beliefs of their husbands. The whole reason this book earned four stars was because of An interesting exploration of the situation of Muslim women in countries in the Middle East. The book explores political and religious pressures that impact the lives of women. I liked how the book went from country to country exploring the lives of rich, poor, educated, and uneducated women. Even within each country the lives of women can be different depending on the resources available to them and the status/beliefs of their husbands. The whole reason this book earned four stars was because of this aspect. I felt that the author did a reasonable job of presenting the views of these women fairly. She doesn't appear to judge them for views that may contrast with western women's views. She lets them speak for what they view as appropriate and inappropriate restrictions on their lives. She interviews the men who make the rules as well - to get their perspective. There is quite a bit of discussion on what the Koran does and doesn't say about these rules that are seemingly put in place by humans - in the name of the Koran. (Many of which are not so far off, at least intellectually, from the types of discussions that come about with what the Bible does and does not say about rules for humans.) The only downside of this book is that it is politically out of date. The political climate is very relevant to the worlds that these women live in, and as we know, things are constantly changing in the middle east. The version I read was published in 1994, and although it appears that there is a newer version from 2006 - that won't be up to date either. On the bright side - you can always read about the politics as they existed when the book was written, and then reach out to educate yourself on the current state of affairs. I guess one can never really keep up on the whole world though ... or maybe just I can't.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I read it then put it down, then pick it up again. It's a difficult book to read only because my mind conjures up terrible images of brutality impressed upon these Afgani women. Too much negativity, I need to set it down for a while and think positive thoughts, good thoughts. (BREATHE) I can't believe the mentality of some people! I understand it's a culture and all and if I were brought up to think that way then I might see it differently. However, I'm an American, a proud and grateful American I read it then put it down, then pick it up again. It's a difficult book to read only because my mind conjures up terrible images of brutality impressed upon these Afgani women. Too much negativity, I need to set it down for a while and think positive thoughts, good thoughts. (BREATHE) I can't believe the mentality of some people! I understand it's a culture and all and if I were brought up to think that way then I might see it differently. However, I'm an American, a proud and grateful American brought up in a Christian faith that doesn't consort to violence on women. THANK GOD. According to the book, the Koran does not outright say to disregard women and do with them as you please. It seems as if these extremists (mostly men, Taliban) have corrupted their holy book rewritten it to suit them all the while keeping their people ignorant so that hardly anyone understands the language in which the Koran is written. I've often heard, ignorance is bliss. In this case I think not! Frustrating read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I like the way the book is organized, by country, although I think this made for slower reading since I have tended to want to read about one country at a time, lol! Anyway, a great book - I have learned a lot! I was not aware of the situation of women in Pakistan at all and knew very little about the UAE. Things in Iraq have changed somewhat since this book was written. As I've gotten farther along in the book, it's interesting to compare policies/conditions in the different countries. This kind I like the way the book is organized, by country, although I think this made for slower reading since I have tended to want to read about one country at a time, lol! Anyway, a great book - I have learned a lot! I was not aware of the situation of women in Pakistan at all and knew very little about the UAE. Things in Iraq have changed somewhat since this book was written. As I've gotten farther along in the book, it's interesting to compare policies/conditions in the different countries. This kind of book always reminds me how lucky, privileged and wonderful my life is here. It is really hard for me to imagine having to live the way a lot of these Muslim women do - a testimony to the human spirit.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ladan F

    Muslim women, symbols of honour for their men, speak out and take us into the volatile heartland of Islam, the world's fastest growing religion. Price of Honour recounts a wide range of telling, often horrific stories about the ways in which Muslim women are abused and oppressed by their menfolk, and shows how restrictions on women act as a barometer for measuring both the growth of fundamentalism and the Muslim regimes' willingness to appease extremists. Muslim women, symbols of honour for their men, speak out and take us into the volatile heartland of Islam, the world's fastest growing religion. Price of Honour recounts a wide range of telling, often horrific stories about the ways in which Muslim women are abused and oppressed by their menfolk, and shows how restrictions on women act as a barometer for measuring both the growth of fundamentalism and the Muslim regimes' willingness to appease extremists.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenreichs

    It actually took me over a year to read this. I was so disturbed by the disgusting way these women are treated...it was hard for me to read without feeling sick. However, i was impressed that the author used to work for a cheesy magazine and yet managed to write brilliantly. It is slightly outdated (Hussein and Bhutto was still alive, etc). Nevertheless, it opened my eyes to the fundamentalist islamic way of life. chilling.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is an enlightening book about the struggle of Muslim women as they are abused and oppressed by men who interpret the Koran to gain advantages for the men of the Islamic religion. The women are often kept illiterate and ignorant to be more easily controlled. Portrayed within the book are the lives of many amazingly courageous women who speak out and work hard for women’s rights in the Arab countries. After reading this book I am even more concerned about the US dependence on Arab oil.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ambereen

    This is a great book for anyone who is interested in the varying opinions of Muslim women in regards to their relationships with God/faith and men. It shows the differences between women in different countries and an array of their thoughts on men, faith, America (and Western cultures), and their rights. I hope that this book inspires people to learn more about Islam and what it actually says in the Koran before automatically stereotyping Muslims.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I thought this book was great. The cover and title are a little misleading however, because it more about the state of the arab countries and then the effect it can have on women. And it isn't a casual read. It is very dense and political. The author definitely did great investigative research and I was impressed with how she got around and how many people she interviewed. I thought this book was great. The cover and title are a little misleading however, because it more about the state of the arab countries and then the effect it can have on women. And it isn't a casual read. It is very dense and political. The author definitely did great investigative research and I was impressed with how she got around and how many people she interviewed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Smith Ramsborg

    This book had some very interesting detail and was enlightening about the lives of Muslim women throughout the Middle Eastern countries. However, toward the end it got a little dry and I abandoned it within 60 pages before the end. I would have liked more focus on the women's stories of their lives vs. the political focus. This book had some very interesting detail and was enlightening about the lives of Muslim women throughout the Middle Eastern countries. However, toward the end it got a little dry and I abandoned it within 60 pages before the end. I would have liked more focus on the women's stories of their lives vs. the political focus.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan O' Sullivan

    This book is great and well worth the read, It really opened my mind about things in the middle east, although written in 1994, it paints a picture of a world that could not be real almost like something you'd expect to read about the "olden days", it makes you think how have western countries stood for this type of treatment of women...... scary! This book is great and well worth the read, It really opened my mind about things in the middle east, although written in 1994, it paints a picture of a world that could not be real almost like something you'd expect to read about the "olden days", it makes you think how have western countries stood for this type of treatment of women...... scary!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zoey M

    Goodwin provides a fascinating look at women in Muslim culture and Muslim culture in general. I really appreciated how she looked at so many different countries and compared them. Her look at the spread of radical Islam was also really interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yakking Yogini

    I enjoy reading about Arab culture, but why do the women always seem so unhappy? Everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect and thus, I listed this bookshelf under the "Horror" genre on my bookshelf. I enjoy reading about Arab culture, but why do the women always seem so unhappy? Everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect and thus, I listed this bookshelf under the "Horror" genre on my bookshelf.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Doris Herrmann

    Wow - I'm not finished with this book, but I do feel that as members of a world society, we should all read this. Wow - I'm not finished with this book, but I do feel that as members of a world society, we should all read this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    a seriously insightful look at a culture vastly different from our own. a real eye opener to the fortune we have, as women, to live in the united states.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not only has this book aged poorly, it is debatable whether it should have been written in the first place. The title alone makes it clear that this book is meant to titillate western readers by "lifting the veil" which both eroticizes and others the women who are presented in the text. At heart, the issue I have with this book is that it is peak white feminism. The author is a white woman who is telling stories about Muslim women, stories that focus heavily on sexual violence (often with grueso Not only has this book aged poorly, it is debatable whether it should have been written in the first place. The title alone makes it clear that this book is meant to titillate western readers by "lifting the veil" which both eroticizes and others the women who are presented in the text. At heart, the issue I have with this book is that it is peak white feminism. The author is a white woman who is telling stories about Muslim women, stories that focus heavily on sexual violence (often with gruesome attention to detail) and minimizes their agency and resistance. Additionally, the fact that each chapter in the book is focused on a different region within the middle east is unacceptable since the complex sociopolitical histories of each one could fill volumes on their own. The author's description of the cities she visits likewise reveals her unexamined privilege, as evidenced when she calls Karachi a "city that seems intent on committing suicide" (Goodwin, 65). My copy was the original 1994 edition so I can't speak to the updated version, but I would argue that instead of reading accounts of Muslim women written from a eurocentric perspective, readers should seek out the works of Muslim women themselves.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    I read a first edition 1994 copy. It contains history from that time period. I was familiar with it, but many readers will not be. I like that the author took a secular approach to her viewpoint. She is not trying to defend another religion. This is just a critique of the treatment of women in Islamic nations. In fact, she can be quite critical of all religion. Liberals seem unable to take that sort of look today. Why is that? They have no problem attacking Christian excesses. With Islam, all I I read a first edition 1994 copy. It contains history from that time period. I was familiar with it, but many readers will not be. I like that the author took a secular approach to her viewpoint. She is not trying to defend another religion. This is just a critique of the treatment of women in Islamic nations. In fact, she can be quite critical of all religion. Liberals seem unable to take that sort of look today. Why is that? They have no problem attacking Christian excesses. With Islam, all I seem to hear is "tolerance." Speaking out against such treatment is critical to bringing about change.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann Tonks

    I came to this book 25 years after it was written. it's impressive piece of journalism - providing political and cultural context for the life of women in a range of countries where Islam is the dominant religious. Goodwin interviews both the women damaged by Islam and those that support the religion. I'm always heartbroken to read of intelligent well educated women who seek to serve a culture, defined by a religion, that oppresses them. The description on this book on Goodreads starts with a rev I came to this book 25 years after it was written. it's impressive piece of journalism - providing political and cultural context for the life of women in a range of countries where Islam is the dominant religious. Goodwin interviews both the women damaged by Islam and those that support the religion. I'm always heartbroken to read of intelligent well educated women who seek to serve a culture, defined by a religion, that oppresses them. The description on this book on Goodreads starts with a review from the New Yorke : -'Goodwin reminds us that the Koran nowhere supports the brutal treatment of women - but it does. It says that we can be beaten if we disobey our husbands (4:34). Isn't that brutal? It's the same clause that says that men supposedly excel over women. When we're told we have to respect a book with such words in it, I'm can't. I can't respect the Koran but I can respect Goodwin for capturing such important stories.

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