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A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic…
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A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State (2016)

by Meredith Tax

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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I originally learned of the Kurdish female military from a BBC special. They fascinated me. So when this book presented itself, I eagerly requested to read it.
I was disappointed. But I’ll get to why in a moment. First, the parts of Tax’s writing that are excellent. This is a thoroughly researched history of the Kurds, starting with their origins and ending with the events that took place in the summer of 2016. With exquisite detail, she takes the reader through the intricate and delicate tides of the Middle East, the constant betrayals, the shifting alliances, the war, the death, and the meddling by outside forces. Tax clearly has an analytical mind and a passion to see the story of the Kurds told to the world.
Here is why it was disappointing: for a book about women fighting the Islamic State, there is so little about these brave women. Tax includes minute vignettes about women who resisted, women who engaged in the politics, and women in the military hierarchy and political counsels, and pays particular attention to the Rojava, a governmental system created and run by an egalitarian mix of men and women. But large tracts of the book deal nothing with them, but rattle on about the men and nations surrounding them. The book includes limited information about how they function in the military, their life, journeys, training, and families – but no details. Perhaps because there is so little out there – plausible because there is little about women’s experience in general but even less about women in the Middle East, and of Middle Eastern women, the Kurds are some of the least represented and least contacted group in the region. But to have so little about women in a book dedicated to that subject is misleading.
One of the main complaints about history books is how the leave out the female contribution. While Tax’s book is not a history of the Kurdish female military, it is a complete history of the Kurds, because it includes the female experience. This is a complete experience. This book should not advertise itself as a book about women in the Kurdish military – but as a current history on the plight of the Kurds. If I were going to teach a class on the condition of the Kurdish people, this is text I would choose. But not for a class on women in the Kurdish nation – it simple doesn’t focus on them enough to qualify.

Note: I received this book free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. ( )
  empress8411 | Oct 7, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Kurds have always been stuck between four rocked a hard place. What makes this book good is the story it tells. It is inspirational. While world leaders discussed strategy options, a small group of people (primarily women) faced off against a savage enemy and won. A lot of feminist background that kind of bogged down and not much about the actual battle of Kobane. All in all an interesting, worthwhile read. ( )
  LamSon | Sep 15, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I felt excitement as I read this book. There's plenty of things going wrong in this part of the world. But it's exciting to hear about people, especially women, who are trying taking control of their lives. This is not only an interesting topic, but one that deserves more attention. It's a great 'teachable moment' for the whole world. I'm glad that their story is being made available for Westerners to learn about. ( )
1 vote ladonna37 | Sep 7, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Meredith Tax has taken as a personal mission to tell the world about how the Kurds have feminized the Islamic Tradition.
In a world where tradition means oppression for women and other 'minority' groups, in a world where radical movements come to life stripping people from their human rights, a revolutionary organization comes to life. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) has liberated and reformed three areas in wich the Daesh had tried to establish control, in wich women have about 40% of leadership positions. This, as you might have already guessed is revolutionary and life changing for the politics and traditions in wich so many people have suffered.
Meredith compares many movements that have been successfully able to revoke bad governments, and compares it to the PYD movement; she talks about the history of the Daesh, and informs us in many other ways to establish her point on how the Kurds of Rojava have placed a government of democracy and equality. ( )
  PrincesaNegron | Jul 21, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Where the Obama administration is in denial about how Islamism equals the Islamic state, and the American Left is tone-deaf to Middle Eastern feminism, the Kurds have feminized the Islamic tradition. It has become obvious to objective observers that Islamism is characterized by newspaper accounts of the Islamic state, shifting alliances, enslaved women, fleeing immigrants, and shocking cruelties. However, Meredith Tax demonstrates that the Kurds of Rojava are trying to put in place a system of equality between men and women and take local, democratic control of their lives.

She has to be faulted by making an overly generalization that all religions are regressive. She makes the comment that Christians want a theocracy. There is no evidence that there is any support for a Christian theocracy in the Middle East or in the United States of America. Along these lines, when she describes so-called conservatives of the Middle East, or fundamentalists, she lumps in Christians and other religious groups with no evidence but in the same category along with the Islamic state.
  gmicksmith | Jun 30, 2016 |
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Recounts the history of the Syrian Rojava Kurds, a democratic secular society whose all-women militia was instrumental in the mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged by the Islamic State in Iraq.

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