Baghdad without a Map: And Other Misadventures in Arabia

Baghdad without a Map: And Other Misadventures in Arabia

by Tony Horwitz


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“A very funny and frequently insightful look at the world’s most combustible region.”—The New York Times Book Review


With razor-sharp wit and insight, intrepid journalist Tony Horwitz gets beyond solemn newspaper headlines and romantic myths of Arabia to offer startling close-ups of a volatile region few Westerners understand. His quest for hot stories takes him from the tribal wilds of Yemen to the shell-pocked shores of Lebanon; from the malarial sands of the Sudan to the eerie souks of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a land so secretive that even street maps and weather reports are banned.

As an oasis in the Empty Quarter, a veiled woman offers tea and a mysterious declaration of love. In Cairo, “politeness police” patrol seedy nightclubs to ensure that belly dancers don’t show any belly. And at the Ayatollah’s funeral in Tehran a mourner chants, “Death to America,” then confesses to the author his secret dream—to visit Disneyland.

Careening through thirteen Muslim countries and Israel, Horwitz travels light, packing a keen eye, a wicked sense of humor, and chutzpah in almost suicidal measure. This wild and comic tale of Middle East misadventure reveals a fascinating world in which the ancient and the modern collide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452267459
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1992
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 154,587
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tony Horwitz was a native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. As a foreign correspondent, he covered wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe, mainly for the Wall Street Journal. Returning to the U.S., he won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and wrote for the New Yorker. He was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and president of the Society of American Historians. His books include the national bestsellers Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, Baghdad Without a Map and A Voyage Long and Strange.


Waterford, Virginia

Date of Birth:


Date of Death:

May 27, 2019

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.

Place of Death:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., Brown University; M.A., Columbia University School of Journalism

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Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia: And Other Misadventures in Arabia 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
TheWasp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tony Horwitz reports on life in the middle east in the 1990's. Life is hard and dangerous, yet he still manages to find the funny side of most situations. A very informative and entertaining read.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second Tony Horwitz book I've read, after Confederates in the Attic, which was so great that I was worried I'd be disappointed if this one didn't live up to that high standard. I needn't have worried! Horwitz travels through the Middle East and he treats the people he meets with the same dignity, respect, and occasional humor that he treats Southerners with in Confederates. Although the book was publish in 1991, and much of it takes place in the late 1980s, and some of the landscape and politics of the region has changed, what's striking is what hasn't changed. Horwitz has a gift for capturing the spirit of everyday lives and the contradictions inherent in people's personalities and beliefs. An absorbing, intelligent, enjoyable read that I'd highly recommend. Four and a half stars.
cheriscott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hilarious account of a Jewish reporter with minimal knowledge of the area and his experiences. All I can say is - a must read for anyone who wants a break from hearing of the violence in the Middle East. The Chapter on Yemen is one not to be missed!!
hjsesq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book - sorry I did not read it before a recent trip to Egypt and Israel. Gives insight to the people of the countries where Horwitz traveled as well as why some of the problems the world has exist today
amyblue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great travelogue, very funny and enlightening about the middle east. Its companion volume Nine Parts of Desire by his wife Geraldine Brooks about her voyages in the same area but with women. Nine Parts of Desire is much more serious, however.
DoraBadollet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There were parts of Horwitz's work that were absolutely absorbing, and other chapters that I found myself skimming through. It was interesting to read his perspective on and experience in war-torn Iraq (this is years before all of the press and attention it now receives) and his days spent experimenting with quat... Overall, a worthwhile, entertaining read--though not overtly impressive or memorable. (Claire)
snash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book offers a picture of the Mid-East in the late 1980's. While describing his travels he provides insight on the contradictions and dilemmas of the ordinary people he runs across. He writes with humor, respect, and compassion. Thank goodness he did so since I nor few others could travel fearlessly enough to have the experiences he did.
OregonKimm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first began reading Baghdad Without a Map well over a year ago. For some reason, I ended up setting the book down with about a quarter of it left to read. Not really sure why I did that and for the longest time, I was convinced that the book was a bad read and I wasn¿t able to finish it. Thus, it sat neglected on my TO FINISH shelf until the last read-a-thon came long [book bloggers readathon:]. I was determined to get that book off my back once and for all.Having said all that¿.consider my surprise when I picked it up again and found myself once again enjoying the stories hidden inside! Baghdad Without a Map was written right up to the beginning of the first war in Iraq. Without a doubt, it¿s an interesting perspective on how Tony Horwitz saw the Middle East before it changed into how we know/see it today. Over the past few years, I¿ve developed an interest in books focusing on the Middle East/Asia regions, particularly now that they have figured so profoundly in all of our lives here in the US. Horwitz is very descriptive of his encounters in a variety of situations. I felt like he led me through each country on a roller coaster ride, holding my breath that he would come out unscathed in each adventure. To have the opportunity to have lived such a life! I¿m terribly envious of him!! Also very wistful that I will probably never get the chance (given current events ¿can we say safety?) to see this part of the world as he was able to see it.If you enjoy travel adventure, I would certainly suggest giving this book a try. Even though it now stands somewhat dated, there is more than enough there to still identify with.
hickmanmc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Mrs. JouretPersonal reflections of Pultizer Prize winning reporter Tony Horowitz which provide an interesting and humerous, entertaining and educational look at the Middle East from a nonpolitical point of view.
benjaminorbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud funny.
montano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tony Horwitz is a consistently entertaining travel writer. This book was written before the first Gulf War so it is an interesting look at the Iraq before Americans had developed any opinion about it. His time in Yemen chewing quat still makes me laugh.
marquisofq More than 1 year ago
I guess it helps to be a history buff, but honestly, he is funny! Baghdad Without a Map gives you an insiders view of all the different personailites of each of the Arab nations. Or perhaps, I just loved the excitement of the life of a foreign correspondant. I'm hooked......keep on writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Tony Horwitz gives a first-hand account of the daily life of people in the Middle East in the 1990¿s. Being a journalist, he is able to recall and describe the events he witnesses with astonishing clarity, making the picture that much more realistic. This book comes from a time when America was not always the enemy, and he is able to gather stories and experiences that we could no longer hear. The fact that he is Jewish makes it all the more interesting, because nowadays we cannot imagine a Jewish journalist traveling through the most anti-Zionist region in the world. Overall, a very well written book that really pulls the reader in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
was a great book! I couldn't STOP reading it! great, funny, and interesting!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually drawn to travel narratives but this one caught my eye at the bookstore because of its title, obviously very topical. I truly enjoyed this tale. It seemed to describe adventures that any traveler who went off the beater path could experience. It was breezy and light and, although published in '91, probably still relevent. I've never been to the region, but you can't pick-up a newspaper withhout reading about the very places the author vistis in this book, and that makes it enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Definitly funny and insightfull. I have been to Egypt two times and his chapters on Cairo are my favorites. This book only lasted me 2 days, but left me wanting more chapters and more stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I made the mistake of reading this book in a public place. People stared because I couldn't stop laughing out loud, but I couldn't bring myself to stop reading, either. 'Baghdad Without A Map' is hands down the best travel book I've ever encountered. I'm currently reading it for the second time, and enjoying it as much as I did the first. Mr. Horwitz is an immensely talented writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why is Pepsi mentioned about 4 times? Soft drink, soda, would work. About the only other brand name mentioned was Duracell which was mentioned once. The transitions between chapters needs work. Excellent use of scent description of the environments. Olafactory images are very powerful. Smashing sense of humour but the author is a little to smitten with his own cleverness. Trys just a little too hard. "Coup attempts were common in Khartoum, . . ." is slightly on the sophmoric side. Clever type layout on pages 236-237. At the bottom of p 236 "He jabbed his Kalashnikov through the window and fired . . . At the top of p. 237 "questions at the driver." Other than that, Horwitz's work is the best yet on the Middle East. It's one of those books that one can not wait to take up again. Perfect for the plane ride from LAX to New Zealand.