A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts by Christiane Bird
Journeys in Kurdistan

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Though the Kurds played a major military and tactical role in the United States’ recent war with Iraq, most of us know little about this fiercely independent, long-marginalized people. Now acclaimed journalist Christiane Bird, who riveted readers with her tour of Islamic Iran in Neither East Nor West, travels through this volatile part of the world to tell the Kurds’ story, using personal observations and in-depth research to illuminate an astonishing history and vibrant culture.

For the twenty-five to thirty million Kurds, Kurdistan is both an actual and a mythical place: an isolated, largely mountainous homeland that has historically offered sanctuary from the treacherous outside world and yet does not exist on modern maps. Parceled out among the four nation-states of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran after World War I, Kurdistan is a divided land with a tragic history, where the indomitable Kurds both celebrate their ancient culture and fight to control their own destiny. Occupying some of the Middle East’s most strategic and richest terrain, the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the region and the largest ethnic group in the world without a state to call their own.

Whether dancing at a Kurdish wedding in Iran, bearing witness to the destroyed Kurdish countryside in southeast Turkey, having lunch with a powerful exiled agha in Syria, or visiting the sites of Saddam Hussein’s horrific chemical attacks in Iraq, the intrepid, insightful Bird sheds light on a violently stunning world seen by few Westerners. Part mesmerizing travelogue, part action-packed history, part reportage, and part cultural study, this critical book offers timely insight into an unknown but increasingly influential part of the world. Bird paints a moving and unforgettable portrait of a people uneasily poised between a stubborn past and an impatient future.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Christiane Bird

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Christiane Bird is the author of Neither East Nor West: One Woman’s Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran and The Jazz and Blues Lover’s Guide to the U.S., and coauthor of Below the Line: Living Poor in America. A graduate of Yale University, she lives in New York City.
Published December 18, 2007 by Random House. 448 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts

Kirkus Reviews

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The Kurds, writes Bird (Neither East Nor West, 2001, etc.), are “an often-overlooked society that has been rocked and at times devastated by some of the most catastrophic events and tragic political policies of the last eighty years.” The fourth-largest ethnic group in the whole of the Middle Eas...

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Publishers Weekly

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Travel writer Bird (Neither East nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran ) provides a compelling glimpse of Kurds and the difficulties they face with this blend of travelogue and history lesson.

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Entertainment Weekly

Bird, an American woman traveling alone in a perilous ''land of lions,'' chronicles her amazing 2002 journey through the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, where some 30 million Kurds live as strangers in their own lands.

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