Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books 2016
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Description

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world's greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.

Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara's heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali's—and the world's—literary patrimony. Hammer explores the city's manuscript heritage and offers never-before-reported details about the militants' march into northwest Africa. But above all, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
04/19/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781681681436
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20
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f237bfd4-c141-d650-7d1b-c2ca00090315
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:08:01
Date Updated:
Jun 19, 2019 13:29:07
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 19, 2019 13:29:31
Last Metadata Change:
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Last Availability Change:
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        Joshua Hammer was born in New York and graduated from Princeton University with a cum laude degree in English literature. He joined the staff of Newsweek as a business and media writer in 1988, and between 1992 and 2006 served as a bureau chief and correspondent-at-large on five continents. Hammer is now a contributing editor to Smithsonian and Outside, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and has written for publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, the Condé Nast Traveler, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Atavist. He is the author of three non-fiction books and has won numerous journalism awards. Since 2007 he has been based in Berlin, Germany, and continues to travel widely around the world.

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publishDate
2016-04-19T00:00:00-04:00
edition
Unabridged
publishDateText
04/19/2016
mediaType
Audiobook
shortDescription

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world's greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
fullDescription

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world's greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.

Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara's heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali's—and the world's—literary patrimony. Hammer explores the city's manuscript heritage and offers never-before-reported details about the militants' march into northwest Africa. But above all, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: From the title, listeners might expect an action thriller featuring librarians who rescue the written heritage of Timbuktu from thieves-- and they'd be half right. Paul Boehmer reads this complex historical and journalistic account of Abdel Kader Haidara, archivist and chief protector of Timbuktu's priceless cultural heritage as he gathers together, into modern repositories, more than 350,000 Malian, Arabic, Timbuktu, and tribal manuscripts dating from the twelfth to the nineteenth century. While Boehmer's Arabic pronunciation sounds accurate to the Western ear, a native Saharan or Malian narrator would be better. When Islamic jihad arises in Mali, Haidara must find a way to protect the manuscripts from destruction. Boehmer powerfully delivers this chilling history of altruism, of survival in the face of religious fundamentalism. M.B.K. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 11, 2016
        Journalist Hammer (Yokohama Burning) reports on librarian Abdel Kader Haidara and his associates’ harrowing ordeal as they rescued 370,000 historical manuscripts from destruction by al-Qaeda-occupied Timbuktu. Hammer sketches Haidara’s career amassing manuscripts from Timbuktu’s neighboring towns and building his own library, which opened in 2000. Meanwhile, three al-Qaeda operatives, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Abdel-hamid Abou Zeid, and Iyad Ag Ghali, escalate from kidnapping and drug trafficking to orchestrating a coup with Tuareg rebels against the Malian army and seizing Timbuktu. The militants aim to “turn the clocks back fourteen hundred years” by destroying revered religious shrines and imposing Sharia law, which includes flogging unveiled women and severing the hands of thieves. Fearing for the safety of the manuscripts, Haidara and associates buy up “every trunk in Timbuktu” and pack them off 606 miles south to Bamako, employing a team of teenage couriers. Hammer does a service to Haidara and the Islamic faith by providing the illuminating history of these manuscripts, managing to weave the complicated threads of this recent segment of history into a thrilling story. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2016

        Hammer (Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire That Helped Forge the Path to World War II) delivers an engrossing and dramatic story about smuggling manuscripts out of Timbuktu during the occupation of Mali by al-Qaeda militants. Listeners are treated to an exciting history of the turbulence of Islamic leadership spanning several centuries and the historical and cultural importance of the 370,000 documents in question. Hammer describes the efforts of Abdel Kader Haidara, an expert on ancient manuscripts at the National Library of Mali, who realizes the library's collection is in danger. Haidara, along with a team of amateur smugglers, successfully transports the collection over 400 miles to safety. While the descriptions of the often brutally violent life under sharia law imposed by the militants might turn off some listeners, they help to illustrate the danger these librarian-smugglers faced. Hammer presents this as a suspenseful, dramatic, and absorbing tale, complete with a fascinating history of the region and a terrifying look into jihadi groups. It is unfortunate that the narration by Paul Boehmer is completely devoid of that excitement and drama. VERDICT Those who continue to listen despite the disappointing narration will be greatly rewarded by the fascinating story. ["Hammer's clearly written and engaging chronicle of the achievements of Timbuktu...brings to light an important and unfamiliar story": LJ 2/15/16 review of the S. & S. hc.]--Cathleen Keyser, NoveList, Durham, NC

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts
popularity
1950
publisher
HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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