Iraq’s Last Jews: Sto­ries of Dai­ly Life, Upheaval, and Escape From Mod­ern Babylon

Tamar Morad, Den­nis Shasha, and Robert Shasha, eds.
  • Review
By – January 13, 2012

While the his­to­ry of Holo­caust sur­vivors has been exten­sive­ly record­ed, researched, and doc­u­ment­ed, the his­to­ry of the Jews of Iraq has not had near­ly the same expo­sure. So it’s inter­est­ing to learn about var­i­ous facets of Iraqi soci­ety and the col­or­ful indi­vid­u­als who lived there. Iraq’s Last Jews intro­duces us to some of them — a selec­tion of promi­nent bankers, famous musi­cians, and aver­age peo­ple who describe their lives in Iraq — what prompt­ed them to leave their coun­try of ori­gin and how they fared in oth­er coun­tries after their departure. 

With sto­ries told in their own words or in the words of their chil­dren, Iraq’s Last Jews is an intense piece of lit­er­a­ture that feels well suit­ed to aca­d­e­m­ic research on the sub­ject but doesn’t qual­i­fy as a good bed­time sto­ry unless you have a keen inter­est in his­to­ry, and in this his­to­ry specif­i­cal­ly. But it does cast a new light on Iraq and the country’s recent past, as seen through the eyes of peo­ple who were ulti­mate­ly forced to flee and make new lives abroad.

Lau­ren Kramer is a Van­cou­ver-based jour­nal­ist, wife, and moth­er with a life­long pas­sion for lit­er­a­ture. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writ­ing and report­ed from many cor­ners of the world. Read more of her work at www​.lau​renkramer​.net.

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