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Informative,
Insightful,
Inspiring

23 reviews

Infidel
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Published: 2007-02-06
Hardcover : 353 pages
71 members reading this now
94 clubs reading this now
31 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 23 of 23 members
In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and ...
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Introduction

In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.

One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat -- demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan -- she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Do you think that Ali should bear any responsibility for her sister's eventual outcome?
Will it be possible for Ali to eventually come to terms with her feelings toward her mother?
by loghouseJD (see profile) 08/08/14

This book depicts extremes positions of they vs. me - political, cultural and personal. Why do you think that she does not offer middle grounds?
by akalota (see profile) 04/04/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Do plenty of research outside this book on the author.
by loghouseJD (see profile) 08/08/14
The author makes some very bold generalizations to justify her positions. Reading this book with an google/wikipedia near by is essential. For example, she claims the Dutch, "...didn't (much) resist Hitler; a greater percentage of Jews were deported during the Second World War than in any other country in Western Europe." This is a whopper. Look it up. The deportation and deaths were the results of prior records not failure to resist.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by krilljack (see profile) 07/04/20

 
by PatDaniel (see profile) 02/26/20

 
by hyper79 (see profile) 05/10/16

 
by CathUnit (see profile) 04/08/15

 
  "Discussion inducing."by loghouseJD (see profile) 08/08/14

This book probably caused more discussion than any other we've read. We came away with 2 schools of thought. One, the author's, that the religion Islam and its "True Believers" must be opposed for any... (read more)

 
  "Infidel"by little-sweetums (see profile) 06/26/14

Everyone in my book club loved this book. Not an easy read, but very informative. In today's turbulent atmosphere in the middle east and Africa this is a must read.

 
  "Needs a Thorough Edit"by retiredreaderNE (see profile) 11/18/13

While the topic is interesting, the writing is only average. The information about clans is very informative.

 
  "Infidel"by Squires (see profile) 11/16/13

The author describes her Somali background and culture with quotes from the Quran which utterly repress women and children. Her escape to Holland and commitment to exposing the harm being done to women... (read more)

 
  "Infidel"by SMcFarland (see profile) 09/06/13

It is a true and transforming story. Every woman should read this book. It is right up there with books like The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan.

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