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Joshua Hammer

Autor(a) de The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

12+ Works 1,888 Membros 81 Críticas

About the Author

Joshua Hammer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Smithsonian, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and Outside. He lives in Berlin.

Includes the name: Joshua Hammer

Image credit: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden moderates the "Essential Libraries" panel with Joshua Hammer and Alberto Manguel at the National Book Festival, August 31, 2019. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. By Library of Congress Life - 20190831SM1159.jpg, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82899309

Obras por Joshua Hammer

Associated Works

The Best American Political Writing 2008 (2008) — Contribuidor — 37 exemplares
The Best American Magazine Writing 2016 (2016) — Contribuidor — 17 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
País (no mapa)
Local de nascimento
New York, USA
Locais de residência
New York, USA
Berlin, Germany
Nairobi, Kenya
Los Angeles, California, USA
Jerusalem, Israel
Horace Mann School, New York, New York, USA
Princeton University (English literature)
Flip Brophy

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Joshua Hammer was born in New York and graduated from Princeton University with a cum laude degree in English literature. He joined the staff of Newsweek as a business and media writer in 1988, and between 1993 and 2006 served as a bureau chief and correspondent-at-large on five continents. Hammer is now a contributing editor to Smithsonian and Outside, and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books< and has written for publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, The Atlantic, and The Atavist Magazine. He has won numerous journalism awards. Since 2007 he has been based in Berlin, Germany, and continues to travel widely around the world. [adapted from The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (2016)]



Some days I just feel like screaming.

Reading Joshua Hammer's story about how Abel Kadeem Haidara risked life and limb to save hundreds of thousands of books and manuscripts from destruction at the hands of Al Qaeda operatives is one of those stories that just stops me in my tracks.

Haidara follows in the steps of his near mythical father in finding, fixing, cataloguing, and preserving Arabic books and manuscripts which reach back into the early days of Islam and the origins of Empire in West Central Africa.

And when the collection appears threatened by an Arabist coup, he takes matters into his own hands by coopting friends and family to move the collection to a safe haven.

That such world treasures are at risk boils my blood. Reading as Haidara has to resort to bribes to protect the collection drives me to the edge. These people ought to get on their knees and thank the man, not threaten him with extinction.

"Skip" Gates plays a cameo in this story as an important link to the west and western foundations for protecting the heritage.

Equally as valuable in this story are the close-up portraits of the jihadis who take over Timbuktu with their own brand of Salafist Islam. That each of the leaders has a unique personal, sometimes political or cultural agenda shouldn't come as a surprise. History and colonialism plays as big a role in this story as the Islamist revivals.

Here we have principally Sunni financing with a little kidnapping, drug running, sabotage, and smuggling mixed in for good measure. All elements that we see playing themselves out in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

And there is the settling of scores aplenty.

This is a near lawless part of the world. I don't see how you separate out religion from domestic corruption and centuries of tribal behaviours.

I don't live in one of these hot, dangerous places but if I did I'd probably keep my head low.

… (mais)
MylesKesten | 67 outras críticas | Jan 23, 2024 |
A lot of history of the whose who in terrorist activity in the region. The shear volume of the volumes is jaw dropping. It’s a harrowing tale of heroism. The extremist backward facing zealots of the world are truly odious.
BookyMaven | 67 outras críticas | Dec 6, 2023 |
insight into the mind of an addict. An interesting journey into a narrow alley of the world. Worth the trip.
77nanci | 10 outras críticas | Nov 11, 2023 |
Month of November 2022 - The Thief Books

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer (2020) 317 pages.

Setting: England, Africa, Chile, Brazil, Dubai

If you are interested in reading a ‘true-crime investigative report’, then you will probably love reading this and give it a much higher rating. Unfortunately, I found it a very, very dry read. For me, there was too much written on the different political wars in Africa, 1970's Rhodesian wars, which I know absolutely nothing about, and not sure why it's even mentioned. Too much botanical name dropping of the many different kinds of birds and plants over and over. Too many ‘super-long’, unpronounceable names of so many elite figures, at the time, in Africa and the Middle East. This book was just exhausting to get through.

The author gathered his research from sit-down interviews, videotaped interrogations, newspaper reports, and trial transcripts. I wouldn’t exactly say this was full of adventure, nor treacherous, as the title suggests, because it was so impersonal and so much on everything else except “the falcon thief”, himself.

Joshua Hammer is a journalist, writing for The Times, GQ and other publications, who happened on a tiny article, while on vacation in London, about Jeffrey Lendrum, who was a bird’s nest egg snatcher as an adolescent, and now a 55-year-old bird’s nest egg snatcher outlaw. He was caught in Birmingham International Airport (England) for smuggling falcon eggs for wealthy Middle Eastern royal clients who paid up to $400,000 per bird or eggs from nests, if from the wild, which were considered faster and stronger than ones bred and raised in captivity. The Arabs were, and still are, practicing the art of falconry, except now they race them. This created a huge black market for wild falcon eggs for hatching.

Falcons were nearly wiped out of Europe and North America in the ‘50’s and 60’s when we were into heavily spraying DDT pesticide that infected their prey- wood pigeons and pheasants. Now, their nests are mostly found on cliff ledges and rock quarries in England, Wales and Scotland.

Obsessive egg collectors, which is what this book is mostly about, suffer the same obsessive-compulsive disorders as hoarders, many of them lonely and depressed as well. Jeffrey Lendrum may have also been addicted to the adrenaline rush of the dangers in snatching those elusive falcon eggs. One egg collector was discovered with over 4,000 rare eggs locked up in his attic. He had 12 golden eagle eggs, when there were only 250 golden eagles in the whole of United Kingdom at the time of this discovery.

With security the way it is today in airports, I’m sure it’s much harder today for falcon thieves to smuggle eggs in and out of countries. I wonder how they are handling that today?

Documentary, following the lives of several egg collectors

Poached: When Passion Becomes Obsession (2015)

YouTube video of Jeffery Lendrum, the falcon thief (mentioned on page 124), catching a cobra in the wild

… (mais)
MissysBookshelf | 10 outras críticas | Aug 27, 2023 |



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