Book Reviews of Infidel

Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
ISBN-13: 9780743289689
ISBN-10: 0743289684
Publication Date: 2/6/2007
Pages: 368
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 81 ratings
Publisher: Free Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

26 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Infidel on + 111 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 22
I must admit that I had to force myself through some of this book, but later on I realized that the earlier portion was important to understanding the changes in the author's life (she refers to it as her own personal enlightenment). It wasn't until Chapter 10 (page 183) where things really began to come together. It was really worth the effort.
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Helpful Score: 12
Amazingsimply amazing.

Infidel is a page turner (even though it is more difficult to read than a fictional story). Ayaan Hirsi Ali captivated me with her ability to keep me in my comfort zone and yet tell the gruesome bits of her life. I find her amazing, more so because she was able to explain to me how Muslims think. She did not write a book that bashes the Muslim religion she wrote a memoir that clearly explains where she comes from and where the Muslims come from.

What I found most intriguing is how she could have such radical thoughts about her religion at such a young age with no one around her feeding her questions.

The one caution I would give other potential readers is that this book is highly political. I liked it a lot because I believe a lot of the things that Ayaan believes. However, for those readers that do not agree with those views this could be a very frustrating and maybe even enraging book.

I do highly recommend it to anyone even if they do not follow my beliefs on religion or politics. Everyone can take something away from this work.
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Helpful Score: 8
This is a beautifully written, incredibly brave and deeply moving autobiography. A must read for anyone!
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Helpful Score: 7
Wonderful book that illustrates this woman's life growing up a Muslim Somalian. Parts of this book will make you want to weep. It's Very interesting to see how other cultures treat women.
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Helpful Score: 6
Although Ayaan's story was fascinating, her main point came later in the book: subsidizing Moslem immigrants in Europe, so that they can support their own parallel sub-culture, has caused the problems we see today.
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Helpful Score: 4
Ayaan Hirsi Ali pulled no punches when relating her compelling story of growing up under oppressive Islam in Somalia, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. When she was promised to a distant Muslim cousin in Canada and instead escaped to the Netherlands, I felt as relieved as if I had been the one staring down a life of faith-based oppression. This book made me outraged on behalf of Muslim women everywhere and took my intolerance of religious fundamentalism to new heights.
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Helpful Score: 4
An incredible book, an incredible woman. For those who wonder why Muslims don't condemn what the Muslim radicals do, Ayaan not only answers that question, she answers others. I was a little reticent about saying out loud that not all religions should be tolerated. After reading this book, I won't be shy about saying it any more. It has a permanent place on my bookshelf, right beside They Call Me Infidel. When the PC crowd starts to intimidate me, I'll just open this book up again and read a few pages to remind myself that we're in a fight for our very survival.
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Helpful Score: 3
This is a great book. While some parts were not as interesting as others, I could not wait to finish this book. Her story is incredible. She is an amazing person.
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Helpful Score: 2
This autobiography is remarkable on many levels. You learn a great deal about the Somali culture (including female circumcision) and its adherence to strict clan lines, as well as a first-hand account of the political struggles which have ripped apart that portion of the world. You also see the rise of fundamental Islam. But what is most interesting--and amazing--is the author herself, who against all odds made her own way in the world and became a dynamic and analytical thinker, all of which has put her life in jeopardy. Truly inspirational!
reviewed Infidel on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was one of the most informative, horrifying, yet inspirational books I have ever read. Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes us through her childhood and teen years in war ravaged, Islamo-fascist Kenya & Somalia. She shares stories about the strict rules placed on Muslim women and the prohibitions on freedom found in Islam. I thoroughly enjoyed the first hand descriptions of what Islam actually teaches. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Libyia in the last couple of month (2011) an understanding of what these religious/political groups believe is essential.

THe writing style of Ali is beautiful. I did not even realize that her style changes throughout the book. She created the voice of an uneducated, scared young girl that eventually changes into the confusion of a teen who wants to rebel against strict standards. Finally, after finding her freedom, Ali writes with the authority of a woman who is confident in herself and her place in society. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
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Helpful Score: 1
I found this book to be very informative and gripping. A true account of one woman's struggle to be an individual in a society that does not permit women to have a voice. We take our freedoms in this country so lightly that it is a shock to believe that women still have no choices in other countries. I think that Ayaan Hirsi Ali finally puts to rest the debate on Islam and the treatment of women. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the human condition.
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Helpful Score: 1
The book is very well written. Ms. Ali presents an interesting take on the Islamic way of life in Africa and Saudi Arabia and on fundamental Islam. She also offers some considerations to the debate about the assimilation of minorities in any culture. It is truly worth reading to hear those views.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this book for a book club. It is awesome. It has some graphic descriptions, but it made me believe that US is really is nice place to live. I recommend this book to friends all the time.
reviewed Infidel on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. What a brave and courageous woman for standing up for what she believed in. I had no idea the extent of female circumcision and didn't know much about Islam. I could never imagine being in an arranged marriage to my cousin or being stoned or beaten for something that is normal to most of the rest of the world. It shocked me! I will think about this book for a long time...
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Very interesting book!The abuse of women under the religion of Islam is horrible. Definitely an eye opener.
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Fascinating and horrifying. I was impressed by Ayaan's courage in questioning the entrenched beliefs of her family and in boldly making a new life for herself in Europe. This book has really affected the way that I understand Islam's treatment of women. It is impossible not to respond to Ayaan's life story. Her insider's perspective and criticisms speak volumes. A must-read for those interested in religious issues and human rights.
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Wow! Ayaan is an amazing lady! Her courage and determination is incredible. Reading her life story makes me so grateful to have been born when and where I was. It would be nice to think that I could have done the same as her, faced with the challenges she was, but in all honesty I think I would have crumbled. She has a lot of important things to say about very complex issues facing society today.

Highly recommended!
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Mind changing. Realized the fallacy of being "open-minded" and accepting of all cultures in the face of injustice.
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This is a book I reviewed for my local bookclub. I have to say I chose it to shock the ladies of my club. I was shocked also. I kept having to check back and make certain the dates I had were correct. I simple could not believe that women are subjected to the things Ayaan went thru. I kept thanking God that I was born in the USA and not a country that practiced female mutilation and forced marriages.
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This book is essentially an autobiography but much more. It is an eye opening account of the life of a Muslim woman in East Africa. Later the book details her flight to Holland, her exposure to the modern, secular world and her gradual rejection of Islam. One is left with the impression of an intelligent, honest, and courageous woman. This is the best biography I've read in years.
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I noticed I had a lot of non-fiction books that I was wanting to read, but so often overlooked for something fictional. So, I decided my goal was to read one a month. This is my non-fiction choice for July. The following might be boring to anyone but me. (And after reading it, it reads more like an essay than a review).
Infidel is both a history lesson and a very personal story. I never know about the Clans and sub-Clans. I will admit, the first part of this book took longer to read than the second half. This was also eye-opening and also inspiring. I thought she was brave and courageous to speak up. Hirsi Ali brought up issues I had with Islam (and I will add other fundamentalist religious branches too). This review will feature numerous quotes that stayed with me. Her journey and questioning were similar to mine. By virtue of where I was born, I am lucky that I can question, debate, and outright disagree and not have to worry that someone will try to kill me. I am lucky that I can freely state my opinions. I dictate the direction of my life.
"How could a just God-a God so just that almost every page of the Quran praises His fairness-desire that women be treated so unfairly? If God was merciful, why did He demand that that His creatures be hanged in public? If He was compassionate, why did unbelievers have to go to Hell?" There are Bible passages too; that suggest slavery is okay, sex is only for procreation, women are less than men, Jesus is merciful (but non-Christians will burn is Hell) etc, etc. And while there are certain Christian denominations that are strictly conservative, believe, and preach that way, most aren't and view the Bible very differently. Both the Bible and the Quran were written a long time ago and by men. Both reflect the attitudes and social mores of that time. "It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died."
I think this next quote explains why women need autonomy and does a good job of pointing it out in such a way that I didn't think of. "I would not have put it this way in those days, but because I was born a woman, I could never become an adult. I would always be a minor, my decisions made for me. I would always be a unit in a vast beehive. I might have a decent life, but I would be dependent-always-on someone treating me well."
Once in Holland, she pursued education. I do think education is so important. This helps to explain why. Regarding her psychology class: "The idea of taking some distance from yourself, of thinking in a systematic way about who you are and how the mind is built up, gave me a whole new way of looking at life." "We were always asked what we thought."
She was right in pointing out the huge difficulties that refugees were having in assimilating. As a result, they formed their own communities (and distrust of outsiders), were more likely have low wages, and high rates of crime which more easily led to disillusionment. "It was depriving many women and children of their rights." Girls were still being genitally mutilated. Women were being abused by their husbands. Girls and women were still being denied educations.
"The concept of individual choice improved people's lives so visibly, as did equality between men and women. I was enamored of the idea that you should think precisely and question everything and build your own theories." Yes to the nth degree! "By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up a static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims suppressed the freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mind-set of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves." "My message was that the Quran is an act of man, not of God. We should be free the interpret it; we should be permitted to apply it to a modern era in a different way, instead of performing painful contortions to try to recreate the circumstances of a horrible distant past. My intention was to liberate Muslim minds so that Muslim woman-and Muslim men, too-might be freer. Men, too, are forced to obey inhumane laws."
Amen and can I get a hallelujah?
At the end of the day, it should be noted, highlighted, and placed in bright, shiny letters that: "Even within Islam, not everyone thought the same way."
"The Prophet did teach us a lot of good things. My life was enriched by the Quranic injunctions to be compassionate and show charity to others."
And just because this is my space (and my review), Donald Trump can go to hell (if there is one).
My vote is with HRC.
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Excellent book, informative and well written. I understand the mentality of Muslim men after reading about their upbringing. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.
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I loved this book! Some parts were difficult to read, but I learned so much from Ayaan's life experience. I knew so little about Muslims and Islam before. She has done so much with her life and I have a great deal of respect for her.
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Fascinating and inspiring book. It gave me a lot of insight into religious extremism as practiced by some Muslim cultures. Hard to put down.
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Incredible story & woman.
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