Librarians of Timbuktu

Joshua Hammer’s The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts (2016 Simon & Schuster) is reviewed by Tom Glenn in the Washington Independent Review of Books:

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu provides irrefutable evidence that culture and learning in Africa were far more advanced than in Europe by the 16th century when Timbuktu flourished as a center of learning.

A gripping story of how Abdel Kader Haidara and others in 2012 and 2013 hid 791 footlockers containing 100,000 manuscripts in safe houses around the ancient city, saving them from destruction by militants: “In the end, Haidara and his partners saved nearly all of the manuscripts by dint of stealth, devotion to their heritage, and naked courage.”

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