Book advice and more II

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 22 October 2008

Infidel (book)

Infidel is an autobiographical book and New York Times bestseller by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, published in 2007. It is a translation of the Dutch book Mijn Vrijheid (“My Freedom”), which was released on September 29, 2006. It was released in English on February 1, 2007. For security reasons, a female ghostwriter of this book remains anonymous.

 Hirsi Ali writes about her youth in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, about her flight to the Netherlands where she applied for political asylum, her university experience in Leiden, her work for the Labour Party, her transfer to the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, her election to Parliament, and the murder of Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the film Submission. The book ends with the controversy regarding her citizenship, which helped bring down the Dutch government.

The launch of the book in the Netherlands was a great success, with the initial print run selling out in two days. A review in de Volkskrant concluded that “anyone who discovers Hirsi Ali’s tumultuous history can only sympathise with her”. The German edition of the book, Mein Leben, meine Freiheit, debuted in the top 20 of the bestseller list of Der Spiegel.

The book was also well received upon the release of the English edition in 2007. Reviewing the book for The Sunday Times, Christopher Hitchens called it a “remarkable book.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, writing in The Washington Post, said “Infidel is a unique book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a unique writer, and both deserve to go far.” A review in The New York Times described the book as a “brave, inspiring and beautifully written memoir”. In an interview, Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria described it as “an amazing book by an amazing person”.

The book was also praised by Andrew Anthony in The Observer, though with a critical note: “But of course in voicing her opinion in the style she does, she risks lumping together over a billion people from different nations, cultures and traditions as a single ‘problem'”. A book review in the The Economist echoed Anthony’s sentiment, stating “much as she tries, the kind of problems that Ms Hirsi Ali describes in Infidel are all too human to be blamed entirely on Islam. Her book shows that her life, like those of other Muslims, is more complex than many people in the West may have realised. But the West’s tendency to seek simplistic explanations is a weakness that Ms Hirsi Ali also shows she has been happy to exploit.” Lorraine Ali in Newsweek magazine gave the book a negative review, claiming that the reader will feel “manipulated” by Hirsi’s story and “Hirsi Ali is more a hero among Islamophobes than Islamic women.” and said that, Hirsi sounds as “single-minded and reactionary as the zealots she’s worked so hard to oppose.”

Taken from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidel_(book)” 

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