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Review: Tears of the Desert

September 22, 2008

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir is a very emotional and riveting book.  I found this book very painful to read at times, yet I couldn’t put it down, even though I was sobbing at some points.  I was lucky enough to receive this Random House publication from the Library Thing Early Reviewer Program.

It seemed that Halima Bashir was born lucky.  She is from Darfur, a region of Sudan, and a member of the Zaghawa tribe, and was born into a family that was wealthier than most.  For the most part, she had a happy childhood.  She was the oldest child of an enlightened and progressive father.  He recognized her intelligence early and had big dreams for her.  She was sent to a city school because the village schools were not very good.  It was there that she faced prejudices and social injustices for the first time .  Even so, she excelled at school and went on to university and became a medical doctor.

It was after she was finished with school that violence really took over her beloved country.  Janjaweed, armed by the Sudanese government began attacking black Africans.  Rebel groups were formed to fight back.  Halima’s willingness to treat these rebels got her in trouble with the government.  She was forced to escape from her country and is fighting the injustice from afar.

The terror and destruction these people have to live with is unimaginable.  You need to read this book in order to comprehend it.  One thing that struck me is the role that China has played and continues to play in the genocide that is taking place in Darfur.  That gives me one more reason to avoid buying Chinese made products.

Natasha at MAW Books has been reading for Darfur this month and she reviewed this book here.  Jen at Devourer of Books has reviewed this book here.  You can see Anna of Diary of an Eccentric’s review here.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2008 9:43 am

    I also received this from LT. I haven’t read it yet, though it’s up next. Sounds like a powerful book.

  2. September 22, 2008 10:29 am

    I’ve got a book about Darfur (an ARC I found at our library’s giveaway) and I keep skirting it; I tend to nightmares. But, I’ll have to try. It’s hard to believe some of the horror that is happening in our world.

  3. September 22, 2008 11:27 am

    Kathy, how timely that you should have received this from LT around the time of Natasha’s campaign.

    Our library is small, but they do have an interlibrary loan system. I need to request some of these titles even though it may take a few months to get them.

  4. September 22, 2008 11:46 am

    I read a review of this book yesterday and immediately ordered it. It sounds like a must read book. Thank you for your great review. Books like this make me so angry and yet they also inspire me.

  5. September 22, 2008 12:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of this – but it sounds amazing. I’ve put it on my tbr list 🙂

  6. September 22, 2008 6:52 pm

    This does sound amazing. I need to educate myself more on the role China is playing in this genocide.

  7. September 23, 2008 12:50 pm

    Another compelling book about the Sudanese civil war is What is the What, in which Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) helps write the memoir of refugee Valentino Achak Deng. It’s not only a chilling tale of Deng’s childhood flight from the war, but also a sad and sobering account of his harsh welcome to America.

  8. September 24, 2008 7:24 am

    I have yet to read my book on Darfur for September, and I keep hearing about some good picks. Thanks for a great review.

  9. September 24, 2008 2:18 pm

    this sounds like an awesome book.. tried requesting it from LT but didnt get it. want to read it badly though!

  10. September 24, 2008 5:47 pm

    This is a must read book!!! I can not believe some of the stuff that I read and find it very easy to believe that you sobbed through parts of it.

  11. September 30, 2008 7:41 am

    I just reviewed this book. I linked your review to mine, which is here:

  12. Kay permalink
    October 3, 2008 10:01 am

    I am reading this book at the moment and I can’t put it down. As an African women I connect so much to the main character and have laughed and wept reading about her life. I feel i have a better understanding of what the civilians in Darfur have been through and it must come to an end.

  13. Ruth permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:06 am

    I have just finished reading Tears of the Desert. Its an excellent read and the story of Halima’s childhood and family make it so easy to relate to her, which makes it all the more unimaginable the horrors that came after she completed her medical training. It is especially eye-opening to realise that it was only a 8 hour flight from Khartoum to London, where life was going on as normal, where people were oblivious to what was happening in Darfur. This story is current, also adding to its impact. Halima is now only 29 years old.

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