The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (Paperback)

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By Dunya Mikhail, Max Weiss (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

Since 2014, ISIS has terrorized northern Iraq by killing men who won’t convert to Islam and kidnapping their families. Those enslaved are forced into the sex trade and sometimes work with chemical weapons. Abdallah is a beekeeper who organizes a network of rescuers consisting of unnoticed farmers or shopkeepers. His ability to find ransom, plan escape routes across countries and remain calm with terrorists is remarkable. The fearlessness of the captives who trust strangers in order to escape is equally striking. Mikhail, an Iraqi-born American citizen, relays a series of heart-wrenching conversations with several Iraqi women, interspersed with her reminiscences of her childhood in Iraq. Headlines don’t do justice to many victims of global terror, and so this book gives needed attention to one such group.

- Cindy

— From Cindy's Recs


Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won't convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women.

The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women--who've lost their families and loved ones, who've been sexually abused, psychologically tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons--and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety.

In the face of inhuman suffering, this powerful work of nonfiction offers a counterpoint to Daesh's genocidal extremism: hope, as ordinary people risk their own lives to save those of others.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811226127
ISBN-10: 0811226123
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: March 27th, 2018
Pages: 240
Language: English