Earthen architecture constitutes one of the most diverse forms of cultural heritage and one of the most challenging to preserve. It dates from all periods and is found on all continents but is particularly prevalent in Africa, where it has been a building tradition for centuries. Sites range from ancestral cities in Mali to the palaces of Abomey in Benin, from monuments and mosques in Iran and Buddhist temples on the Silk Road to Spanish missions in California. This volume's sixty-four papers address such themes as earthen architecture in Mali, the conservation of living sites, local knowledge systems and intangible aspects, seismic and other natural forces, the conservation and management of archaeological sites, research advances, and training.
The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
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 were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world's patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door. Joshua Hammer writes about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world's greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.
The Death Instinct
France's Public Enemy Number One from the late 1960s to the end of the 1970s--when he was killed by police in a sensational traffic shootout--Jacques Mesrine (1936-1979) is the best-known criminal in French history. Mesrine was notorious both for his violent exploits and for the media attention he attracted, and he remains very much a public media figure in France and Europe. In 2008 there were two feature-length films based on his life, one of them starring Vincent Cassel in the lead role. Mesrine wrote "The Death Instinct" while serving time in the high-security prison La Sante; the manuscript was smuggled out of the prison and was later published by Guy Debord's publisher Gerard Lebovici (who briefly adopted Mesrine's daughter, Sabrina, before being assassinated, a few years after Mesrine). "The Death Instinct" deals with the early years of Mesrine's criminal life, including a horrifically graphic description of a murder he committed early on in his career and a highly detailed account of the workings of the French criminal underworld--making this book perhaps one of the most intriguing and detailed anthropological studies of a criminal culture ever written.
Some 500 years ago, Askiya Muhammad founded the Songhay Dynasty of the Askiyas, which flourished for more than a century in Sahelian West Africa. The Timbuktu-based scribe al hajj Mahmud Kati was a close friend of Askiya Mohammed - and the Tarikh al fattash gives an eyewitness account of his empire, told from the perspective of a key participant. Long valued as one of the most important historical documents of the African medieval world, Kati's account is also a literary achievement that is comparable to the writings of figures like Chaucer, Rabelais and Montaigne.
The award-winning More, by one of Turkey’s leading underground writers, is the world’s first novel about the refugee crisis. “The illegals climbed into the truck, and, after a journey of two hundred miles, they boarded ships and were lost in the night.” Gaza lives on the shores of the Aegean Sea. At the age of nine he becomes a human trafficker, like his father. Together with his father and local boat owners Gaza helps smuggle desperate “illegals,” by giving them shelter, food, and water before they attempt the crossing to Greece. One night everything changes and Gaza is suddenly faced with the challenge of how he himself is going to survive. This is a heartbreaking work that examines the lives of refugees struggling to flee their homeland and the human traffickers who help them reach Europe—for a price. In this timely and important book, one of the first novels to document the refugee crisis in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, we see firsthand how the realities of war, violence, and migration affect the daily lives of the people who live there. This is a powerful exploration of the unfolding crisis by one of Turkey’s most exciting and critically acclaimed young writers who writes unflinchingly about social issues.
Tells the story of a tired photographer named Marc, a very patient young woman he meets, and his pain-in-the-neck cat.
Saving Italy The Race to Rescue a Nation s Treasures from the Nazis
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Monuments Men "An astonishing account of a little-known American effort to save Italy's…art during World War II."—Tom Brokaw When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles. Brilliantly researched and vividly written, the New York Times bestselling Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler. An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.
Follows the adventures of three African American rogues in the harsh streets of London in the years after the American Revolution
Insightful summary of African history focuses on African cultures before the slave trade, citing architecture, iron working, writing, and other cultural advances.
Life and a Half
Listed as one of the 100 best books on Africa, Life and a Half was Sony Labou Tansi's response to the death of close friends during a bloody military and political crackdown in Congo. The novel takes place in an imaginary African country run by the latest in a series of cannibalistic dictators who has captured Martial, the leader of the opposition, and his family. Though shot, knifed, butchered, and bled, Martial's spirit lives on to guide his followers in their fight against the dictators. Facing censorship, Tansi insisted that his book was a fable and that if he were ever given the opportunity to write about real events, he would be much more direct rather than follow the torturous paths of a novel. This crisp translation by Alison Dundy maintains the fast-paced action and bitingly satiric tone of the original.