Elsa Marston
children's author

"A fine and timely revision...a remarkable look at the diversity and changes in the lives of contemporary Middle Eastern women. Numerous additions...well-researched and well-written text, an important purchase for general readers and student researchers alike." (School Library Journal, 2003)

"World conditions make this revised edition even more necessary for school and public libraries. ...a fascinating and vital work that informs and promotes understanding." (VOYA, 2003)

"...revised edition of an important 1996 title. . . As in the first book, the authors make clear that this is just a quick introduction to a vast, complex subject, but they draw on their extensive personal experience in the region, as well as a wide range of documented sources, to show the diversity among countries and within each country." (Booklist, 2003)

"...will enlighten readers about the extremely complex situations surrounding women in the Middle East." (Library Media Connection, 2003)

"...this lively account describes a wide diversity of mainly Arab and Muslim women, covering both their public and their private lives. ...the prose is easy and relaxed, enlivened with direct quotes from personal interviews." (Booklist)


"...detailed and fascinating look at women in today's Middle East. Both teenagers and adults will find this book informative and enlightening. Highly recommended." (Multicultural Review)

"An engaging book that dispels stereotypes and illuminates an often-misunderstood area of the world. ...The chapter on "Veiling" is a paradigm of balanced, positive reportage. ...The book's many strengths include a wealth of scholarly sources that the authors have transformed into lively, highly readable prose. A true find, and a model of cross-cultural bridge-building." (School Library Journal)

"The extremely balanced and cohesive narrative takes pains not to lump all Middle Eastern women together. . . " (Horn Book Guide)

"The book is easy to read and informative, and will be read to satisfy an interest in the subject as opposed to finding answers to an assignment. ...The authors work hard to dispel stereotypes of Middle Eastern women." (VOYA)

"...one wishes it could be required reading for Americans of all ages. ...Marston and Harik are well-qualified to write this book, and the reader can feel confident in the observations they make." (Middle East Studies Association Bulletin)

Forthcoming in 2014:
Just published, 2013:
Fiction, young adult
An adventure in ancient Egypt
Poetry
poems inspired by animals depicted in Southwestern rock art
Nonfiction
a look at the variety of women's lives in the Middle East and North Africa
History
Stories in Y-A collections
in FIRST CROSSING AND OTHER STORIES OF IMMIGRANT TEENS
in MEMORIES OF SUN: STORIES OF AFRICA AND AMERICA (2004)
in SOUL SEARCHING: THIRTEEN STORIES ABOUT FAITH AND BELIEF

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WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST: TRADITION AND CHANGE

...the Middle East and North Africa, a region of striking contrasts where women's lives reveal great diversity

A far cry from the common stereotype of Middle Eastern women as oppressed and confined, this book illustrates the great variety in women's status and lives throughout the region--from tradition-bound peasants to urban businesswomen, labor organizers, and professionals.

The book's framework consists of the typical stages of a woman's life: childhood, school, courtship and marriage, home life, and old age. Other chapters discuss women in the work world, the art and professions, athletics and public life, plus balanced and in-depth discussion of two topics both basic and highly topical: religion and "veiling." Controversial subjects such as domestic violence and FGM, long considered "hush-hush," are also brought into the open, emphasizing efforts by women's organizations to publicize and combat these social problems. New chapters, in this updated edition, discuss women's health issues, women's movements and political activity, and the experience of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

With many photos, the book includes a glossary, recommended reading list, and index. The authors, who are mother and son, have long experience living in the Middle East and North Africa.

Awards: WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST received the Middle East Outreach Council's 2003 award for best nonfiction book. The first edition was on the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list for 1997, 1998, 1999.

This book may be ordered from your usual book supplier; from Amideast or AWAIR; or directly from the publisher, at 1-800-621-1115.


SOME QUESTIONS TO TALK ABOUT . . .

We often hear that most women in the Middle East are "oppressed." Do you think that's a fair assessment?

How would you like to live in a society where family cohesiveness is so important it often overrides other values?

In what ways might it be good if American society, like Middle Eastern society, put a lot of emphasis on "honor" and "shame"?

If the way the Taliban treated women reflected the way many women in Afghanistan have traditionally lived, should outsiders try to help Afghan women aspire to a very different kind of life?

In some countries, women and girls have taken part in political street demonstrations and even violent actions. If you were in their shoes, what would you do?