Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Baghdad without a Map

Baghdad without a Map and Other Adventures in Arabia
© 1992 Tony Horowitz
285 pages

So your wife is on extended assignment in Cairo, and you’re a freelance journalist without a regular gig. What do you do? Why not wander around northern Africa, the Arab world, and Iran whenever an opportunity presents itself – chasing stories, even when they led you into dark mountains where grenades and AKs are cheaper than a week’s worth of the local narcotic? Baghdad without a Map presents anecdotes from Tony Horwitz’s time spent in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen, and Iran, mixing comedy and tragedy.

Because Horwitz is chasing stories -- a refugee crisis in Sudan, for instance, or the still-simmering conflict between Iraq and Iran on the border -- he is often exposed to misery and danger. He still finds humor in the chaos of Cairo's streets, the chanciness of Egyptian-Sudanese air travel, or the loopiness of Yemense men after a goodly amount of qat-chewing. Horowitz attempts to learn about local cultures and politics as he can on the ground, conversing with people in his rough Arabic, chewing qat, or playing soccer. Although much of the middle east has changed drastically since the 1980s – the invasion of Iraq and the Arab spring just in the last ten years, these snapshots of life in the middle east are worth taking a look at for readers with any human interest in the region.


  1. easy chair traveling: can't beat it; i've climbed most of the high mountains in the world from the comfort of my own... and without oxygen!!

  2. And it allows us to avoid completely Saddam Hussein's troops, as well as unpredictable Bedouins..

  3. Stephen, I wish I had traveled more when I could have done so. Now I must do so vicariously, and the book you've so nicely highlighted sounds like a great passport for vicarious travel. Thanks for the posting.


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