AYAAN HIRSI ALI
"Brave, inspiring, and
beautifully written Narrated
in clear, vigorous prose, it traces
the author s geographical
journey from Mogadishu to Saudi
Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and her
desperate flight to the Netherlands
to escape an arranged marriage."
—The New York Times
"A forthright memoir of growing up
harshly amid revolution and religious restraint
with harrowing details, Hirsi Ali s account is a
significant contribution to our times."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
ONE OF TODAY'S MOST ADMIRED AND CONTROVERSIAL political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened that she would be next. She made headlines again when she was stripped of her citizenship and resigned from the Dutch Parliament.
Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice. Raised in a strict Muslim family, 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 ruled largely by despots. 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 women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Under constant threat, demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from 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 evolves out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely or more significant.
Praise for Infidel
"Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of Europe's most controversial political figures and a target for terrorists. A notably enigmatic personality whose fierce criticisms of Islam have made her a darling of . . . conservatives . . . and . . . popular with leftists . . . Soft-spoken but passionate."
—The Boston Globe
"Brave, inspiring, and beautifully written ... Narrated in clear, vigorous prose, it traces the author's geographical journey from Mogadishu to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and her desperate flight to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage."
—The New York Times
"This woman is a major hero of our time. Please read her book and, if you like it as I do, recommend it to others."
"Crammed with harrowing details, Hirsi Ali's account is a significant contribution to our times."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"In Hirsi Ali's mesmerizing memoir ... we're permitted to admire her courage and her prose, to marvel at her steely feminist self-creation, to mourn her sister, deplore her brother, and share her horror at true believers on a misogynistic rampage."
"But Infidel is not just a bitter manifesto against genital mutilation and holy terror. With her terrific ear for dialogue and her fine eye for detail, it's at times more like Little Women under the shade of the talal tree, mapping the stories of family life, a young girl's first kiss and 'old chants of war and death, raids, herding, green pastures, herds of many camels' against the soul-crushing backdrop of Somalia's bloody civil war."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"Infidel is a unique book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a unique writer, and both deserve to go far."
—The Washington Post
"A gifted writer and compassionate soul.... [RJeaders who crave well-told tales will want to listen."
—People, Critic's Choice, 4 stars
"A powerful, compelling read.... Put simply, this woman is a heroine."
—The Christian Science Monitor
"A profoundly moving memoir that celebrates triumph over adversity."
—The New Yorker
"A brave and elegant figure ... an honest woman ... No one who reads her [memoirs] will doubt the self-questioning and the rigorous honesty of her mind. Perhaps, as in Voltaire's short story 'L'Ingenu,' it is that too much honesty is sometimes unpalatable, even if it is couched in civil terms. ... She has an open mind that has released itself from the old strait-jacketed frame of reference of Right and Left, she is instinctively deeply anti-authoritarian and she is unlikely to stick to straight ideological lines. She will go on asking difficult questions."
"Her mission is too large for any single party. She is urging the West to judge Islam by its own standards. She is urging the Islamic world to take a look at itself. What Islam needs, she feels, is a swift dose of eighteenth-century enlightenment—it's time to put down the Koran and pick up Voltaire."
—Sunday Times Culture
"A jaw-dropping account . . . freshly riveting. ... A candid and compelling narrative of survival, personal growth, and cosmopolitan achievement against all odds, Infidel is ... noteworthy for its passionate insistence that so-called Western values such as free speech and gender equality are fundamental and universal rights—rights still denied to millions of men and, especially, women around the world today."
"It's a page-turner, almost novelistic, the story of a metamorphosis from young girl born to be forced into marriage and subjugated, to an interpreter, to a graduate student in political science, then to a representative
[in Parliament].... Beyond the account of Ayaan's own emancipation, this book is a terrifying exploration of the situation of women in Islamic countries, and a plea for their sexual liberation."
"Hirsi Ali's spirited recollections and defense of women's rights to independence and self-expression are inspiring to women of all cultures."
"One marvels at the tenacity of Ayaan Hirsi AH, the Somali 'slave' turned Dutch MP and now fugitive Muslim feminist. . . If there is one book that really addresses the existential issues of our civilisation, then Ali's autobiography is it. That it is brilliantly and soberly written is a bonus. That at thirty-eight she has plenty of time for more books—maybe about her impressions of America—leads to keen anticipation."
—Sunday Telegraph, lead review
"Intelligent, passionate, beautiful. And living in fear of her life ... How she went from jdevout believer to fearless opponent, from a loyal clan member to being renounced by her family, from Africa to Europe, and from blind faith to unbending reason is the compelling story she tells in her new autobiography entitled, with characteristic bluntness, Infidel . . . Her combination of elegance and eloquence would be impressive in any circumstances. Under threat of death, it is nothing short of incredible."
—Observer Review, front cover
"A charismatic figure". . . of arresting and hypnotizing beauty . . . [who writes] with quite astonishing humor and restraint."
—Christopher Hitchens, Slate
"A remarkable book ... Infidel shows that a determined woman can change much more history than her own."
—Christopher Hitchens, The Sunday Times, front cover
"Ayaan Hirsi AH is a maverick, bravely defying the Netherlands? political correctness to address Europe's growing cultural rifts . . . the former Dutch politician is a master of self-reinvention. ... It's all retold in her eloquent new memoir."
—New York magazine
"Infidel is a riposte, controversial and compelling, to all her critics. Ali has invited them to walk a mile in her shoes. Most wouldn't last 100 yards."
"Infidel is the autobiography of a woman who has battled to free herself from enslavement to Islam, carried along almost entirely by her own impetus to become an individual. . . . What stands out the most is the personal integrity that has allowed her to distance herself first from Islamic fundamentalism and then from European political correctness. Through her direct, clear, convincing and intelligent written style, the former MP in her book unveils the dramatic story of a personal revolution."
"As a woman whom radical Muslims have marked for death, her message deserves every American's attention."
—National Review Online
"Ayaan Hirsi All is a crusader ... an Infidel indeed. . . . This articulate autobiography is worth reading for both its political and religious perspectives and because Hirsi Ali's life is so fascinating."
"The death threat received by Ayaan Hirsi Ali demanded to be taken more seriously, mostly because of its mode of delivery: staked to the dying body of Theo Van Gogh, her collaborator in producing the film Submission, Part One, which depicted abused women with verses from the Koran inscribed on their semi-naked bodies. Van Gogh's murder provides Hirsi Ali's autobiography with an arresting opening and lends moral weight to her unrelenting critique of Islam."
—The Weekend Australian
"This is the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circumcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would occur.... She now espouses a controversial conclusion: that Islam is in a period of transition and that as practised now it is often incompatible with modernity and democracy so must radically transform itself to become so."
—Australian Financial Review
"Ayaan Hirsi Ali has survived genital mutilation, civil war, a forced marriage and numerous death threats but she won't be silenced. Infidel is the story of her life and is one of the most absorbing books I have read in a long time Her book offers an illuminating look at Islam, and empha sises the view that religious tolerance should never come at the cost of basic human rights. Infidel is a must-read"
—Sunshine Coast Daily
"From her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia to her rise as one of the world's most eloquent and determined champions of free speech, this enlightening memoir of an admired and controversial political figure reveals how Hirsi Ali developed her beliefs and maintains her resolve to fight injustice and change the world."
—Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
"Too many people still don't understand what our country is up against. They might if they read [Hirsi Ali's] book."
—Fred Thompson, former U.S. Senator and author
of At That Point in Time