The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save The World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer (3 out of 5) 

This was a conflicted 3 stars. I was THISCLOSE to giving it 2 stars.It is well written; the issue is that the title promises one thing while the narrative delivers something else entirely. During the 80’s, a collector (Abdel Kader Haidara) for a government library, heads down the Niger River in a quest to find and save thousands of ancient Islamic texts, by preserving them and showcasing them in a library. Funny how life doesn’t work out when Al Qaeda shows up to get their barbaric paws on the goods. Along with a chosen few in his city of Timbuktu, he arranges and begins to carry out a dangerous but brave mission to smuggle over 30,000 texts out of their city under siege to the safety of southern Mali. I loved the message here. I love Haidara and his determination to get those books to safety. I loved the X’s and O’s of carrying the plan out. What didn’t I love? Most of the book is about AL QAEDA and the war on the front. Haidara and the librarians get mention, but it was incredibly frustrating to read more about Al Qaeda and their bullshit than it was about what this brave man did. There were entire chapters, people, where no mention is made of Haidara. So, tell me how you can title the book this and deliver that. It’s just not what it’s cracked up to be. Bravo to Haidara, though. He deserves more kudos than he gets here. 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 29, 2017.

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