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Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2010
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Description
A New York Times Notable Book • Finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction
“Highly readable biography . . . The woman who emerges from these pages is a complex figure—heroic, driven . . . and entirely human.”—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
Passionate Nomad captures the momentous life and times of Freya Stark with precision, compassion, and marvelous detail. Hailed by The Times of London as “the last of the Romantic Travellers” upon her death in 1993, Freya Stark combined unflappable bravery, formidable charm, fearsome intellect, and ferocious ambition to become the twentieth century’s best-known woman traveler. Digging beneath the mythology, Geniesse uncovers a complex, controversial, and quixotic woman whose indomitable spirit was forged by contradictions: a child of privilege, Stark grew up in near poverty; yearning for formal education, she was largely self-taught; longing for love, she consistently focused on the wrong men. Despite these hardships, Stark’s astonishing career spanned more than sixty years, during which she produced twenty-two books that sealed her reputation as a consummate woman of letters.
This edition includes a new Epilogue by the author that, citing newly discovered evidence, calls into question the circumstances of Stark’s birth and adds new insight into this adventurous and lively personality.
Praise for Passionate Nomad
Passionate Nomad is a work of nonfiction that reads and sings with the drama and lilt of a fine novel. The story of Freya Stark is stunning, inspiring, sad, funny, unique, and moving. Jane Fletcher Geniesse tells it straight, but with a care for delicious detail and a sympathy for the characters that make this a truly special book.”—Jim Lehrer
Passionate Nomad supplies a fascinating individual thread in the tapestry of twentiethcentury Middle Eastern history. . . . [Geniesse] has achieved, in the end, an admirable focus, at once critical and sympathetic. . . . For all Stark’s unresolved contradictions, . . . her distinction as a latter-day woman of letters survives.”The New York Times Book Review
“Compulsively readable . . . [Geniesse] has done a thorough job re-creating the life of a woman many consider to be the last of the great romantic travelers.”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/21/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307756855
ASIN:
B003V4BOZW
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jane Fletcher Geniesse. (2010). Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jane Fletcher Geniesse. 2010. Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jane Fletcher Geniesse, Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark. Random House Publishing Group, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jane Fletcher Geniesse. Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark. Random House Publishing Group, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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      • value: freya stark
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      • bioText: Jane Fletcher Geniesse is a former reporter for  The New York Times whose writing has been featured in The Washington Post, New York magazine, and Town & Country,  among others. She is the author of a novel, The Riches of Life, and lives in Washington, D.C.
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title
Passionate Nomad
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A New York Times Notable Book • Finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction
“Highly readable biography . . . The woman who emerges from these pages is a complex figure—heroic, driven . . . and entirely human.”—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
Passionate Nomad captures the momentous life and times of Freya Stark with precision, compassion, and marvelous detail. Hailed by The Times of London as “the last of the Romantic Travellers” upon her death in 1993, Freya Stark combined unflappable bravery, formidable charm, fearsome intellect, and ferocious ambition to become the twentieth century’s best-known woman traveler. Digging beneath the mythology, Geniesse uncovers a complex, controversial, and quixotic woman whose indomitable spirit was forged by contradictions: a child of privilege, Stark grew up in near poverty; yearning for formal education, she was largely self-taught; longing for love, she consistently focused on the wrong men. Despite these hardships, Stark’s astonishing career spanned more than sixty years, during which she produced twenty-two books that sealed her reputation as a consummate woman of letters.
This edition includes a new Epilogue by the author that, citing newly discovered evidence, calls into question the circumstances of Stark’s birth and adds new insight into this adventurous and lively personality.
Praise for Passionate Nomad
Passionate Nomad is a work of nonfiction that reads and sings with the drama and lilt of a fine novel. The story of Freya Stark is stunning, inspiring, sad, funny, unique, and moving. Jane Fletcher Geniesse tells it straight, but with a care for delicious detail and a sympathy for the characters that make this a truly special book.”—Jim Lehrer
Passionate Nomad supplies a fascinating individual thread in the tapestry of twentiethcentury Middle Eastern history. . . . [Geniesse] has achieved, in the end, an admirable focus, at once critical and sympathetic. . . . For all Stark’s unresolved contradictions, . . . her distinction as a latter-day woman of letters survives.”The New York Times Book Review
“Compulsively readable . . . [Geniesse] has done a thorough job re-creating the life of a woman many consider to be the last of the great romantic travelers.”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: she exulted as the SS Abbazia tossed through the rough Mediterranean. It did not matter that a cargo ship was all she could afford. She watched pigs, sugar, even once a Marconi telegraph machine being off-loaded between stops that grew more...
      • content: In November 1927, Freya had embarked on a cargo ship for Beirut, leaving behind what she had long concluded was an unacceptable life. "It is so wonderful to be away, really away; a new land opening out every morning,"
      • premium: False
      • source: Great Britain would supervise Mesopotamia, Transjordan, Palestine, and Egypt, while France would look after Greater Syria, including Lebanon. As for Persia, long the target of foreign influence, postwar turmoil would spark a coup against the old...
      • content: In 1920 Freya sensed a path quietly open. In April of that year everyone on the Italian Riviera was riveted by the events taking place at San Remo, only a few miles from Freya's home. The victorious Allies were gathering in that coastal town, and anyone who could tried to get a glimpse of the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, as he hurried back from and forth to meetings with Premier Georges Clemenceau of France. The purpose of the conference was to dispose of the sprawling territories of the defeated enemy, the Ottoman Empire. Because the United States refused to sign on to the League of Nations, the British and French were free to slice up the Middle East to their own imperial satisfaction. The Arab lands governed for over 467 years by the Grand Turk were to be "mandates" until such time as they "could stand on their own."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 30, 1999
        A celebrated explorer, mapmaker, ethnographer, amateur archeologist and prolific memoirist, British travel writer Freya Stark (1893--1993) crisscrossed the Middle East, breaking bread with villagers, sleeping in nomads' tents and undertaking colorful and daring adventures. Former New York Times reporter Geniesse credits Stark with fostering a sympathetic understanding of diverse peoples, yet also views Stark's nomadic life of nonstop wandering as an escape: she sees Stark as a successor to mid-Victorian romantics who perceived the exotic East as an alternative to the West's soulless commercialism. During WWII, Stark, fluent in several languages, helped Britain create a propaganda network stretching from Cairo to Baghdad, aimed at persuading Arabs to support the Allies or at least remain neutral. In retaliation, Mussolini imprisoned her aged mother. In 1943, the British government sent Stark, a longtime anti-Zionist, on a tour of the U.S. with the aim of deterring Washington from supporting the creation of Israel. Defending Stark against charges of anti-Semitism, Geniesse writes: "She foresaw that the creation of a Jewish homeland that displaced Arabs to fulfill the dream would spawn a legacy of violence lasting for years to come." With a psychologist's acumen, Geniesse provocatively portrays Stark as a charismatic maverick with a ruthless, competitive streak, a voraciously needy woman of fragile self-esteem. Photos.

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A New York Times Notable Book • Finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction
“Highly readable biography . . . The woman who emerges from these pages is a complex figure—heroic, driven . . . and entirely human.”—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
Passionate Nomad captures the momentous life and times of Freya Stark with precision, compassion, and marvelous detail. Hailed by The Times of London as “the last of the Romantic Travellers” upon her death in 1993, Freya Stark combined unflappable bravery, formidable charm, fearsome intellect, and ferocious ambition to become the twentieth century’s best-known woman traveler. Digging beneath the mythology, Geniesse uncovers a complex, controversial, and quixotic woman whose indomitable spirit was forged by contradictions: a child of privilege, Stark grew up in near poverty; yearning for formal education, she was largely self-taught;...
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