Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew

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Ibis Editions, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 187 pages
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Sasson Somekh's memoir takes shape like a series of telling snapshots from another time and place. The time is the 1930s and '40s and the place, Iraq, where Somekh and his family were part of the country's then-flourishing Jewish community. The book offers an intimate view of this milieu and manages both to describe vividly the young Somekh's intellectual and emotional growth and to map the now-vanished world of Baghdad's book stalls and literary cafes, its Arabic-speaking Jewish bank clerks, outdoor movies at the Cinema Diana, and bonfires by the Tigris. As the pieces of Somekh's unsentimental memoir accumulate, they also mount in meaning. The book celebrates the ups and downs of Iraqi Jewish life as it also portrays the eventual dissolution of the community in the early 1950s.

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About the author (2007)

Sasson Somekh was one of the founders of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at Tel Aviv University and is former head of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo.

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