Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew
In July 1950, Avi Shlaim, only five, and his family were forced into exile, fleeing their beloved Iraq to the new state of Israel.
'Remarkable.' Max Hastings, THE SUNDAY TIMES
Today the once flourishing Jewish community of Iraq, at one time numbering over 130,000 and tracing its history back 2,600 years, has all but vanished.
Why so? One explanation speaks of the timeless clash between Arab and Jewish civilisations and a heroic Zionist mission to rescue Eastern Jews from backward nations and unceasing persecution.
Avi Shlaim tears up this script. His parents had many Muslim friends in Baghdad and no interest in Zionism. As anti-Semitism surged in Iraq, the Zionist underground fanned the flames. Yet when Iraqi Jews fled to Israel, they faced an uncertain future, their history was rewritten to serve a Zionist narrative.
This memoir breathes life into an almost forgotten world. Weaving together the personal and the political, Three Worlds offers a fresh perspective on Arab-Jews, caught in the crossfire of Zionism and nationalism.
A TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023
'A beautifully written book which artfully blends the personal with the political.' Justin Marozzi, SPECTATOR
'Three Worlds, by the Oxford historian of the modern Middle East Avi Shlaim, is an often enchanting memoir of his childhood in Baghdad... A gripping account... A lost world in Iraq is brilliantly brought back to life in this fascinating memoir.' David Abulafia, FINANCIAL TIMES
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