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Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity. Becker, Cynthia J..2006, University of Texas Press, 978-0-292-72137-1, $25 pb.This rich study illustrates how women in an Amazigh (Berber) community of Morocco create public expressions of their identity through such folk arts as tattooing, weaving, folksong, folk dance and wedding traditions . It challenges the stereotype that women in Islamic societies express themselves only in the private sphere, but men in the public. Focused on the community of the Ait Khabbash near the Tafilalet Oasis in southern Morocco, the book also explores how women’s behavior is limited by their public forms of expression, and how the expression of identity has changed in recent decades. While “women’s control over the visual symbols of Berber ethnic identity grants them power and prestige … [it] also restricts them to specific roles in that society,” the author argues. She lived in an Ait Khabbash home for years, allowing her time to deeply explore not only the traditions themselves, but the subtle cross-connections among them. (MA10)

  • Return To Childhood: The Memoir of a Modern Moroccan Woman. Abouzeid, Leila.1998, University of Texas, 0-292-70490-9, $10.95 pb(Originally Ruju ’ila Tufula, 1993, Rabat.) In the Arabic literary tradition, writes the author, “autobiography has the pejorative connotation in Arabic of madihu nafsihi wa muzakkiha (he or she who praises and recommends him- or herself).” As a result, the form is absent historically, and is an “imported genre” in modern Arabic literature. Nonetheless, Abouzeid, a leading Moroccan novelist, has written this brief account of her life “to present my own perspective about my country’s reality.” In doing so, she struck an unexpected chord at home: The original Arabic edition became an instant bestseller in Morocco. Abouzeid’s family was intimately involved in the revolution that won independence from French colonial rule in 1956, and her story sheds valuable light on her times. (SO00

The Director and Other Short Stories from Morocco. Abouzeid, Leila. foreword by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea.2005, University of Texas Press, 0-292-71265-0, $13.96 pb. These stories, unfolding mainly in post-colonial Morocco, go some way toward refuting the author’s contention in the preface that “an Arab writer mainly of short stories is yet to be born.” Examining society at a point where tradition and modernity collide, the tales turn maxims on their heads, taking O. Henry–like twists and exposing absurdities like Kafka. The results are both beguiling and bittersweet: the boy who achieves success only after he is expelled from school; the trade unionist who fights for workers’ rights, then finds himself in old age the victim of his successes; and the innocent wife who is doubly deceived by her sister and her best friend. “Others collect stamps, but I collect words,” says a character who might well be the author. “I select them with care, put them down in a dignified hand and handle them with delight like diamonds.” (MA07)

Thomas Barclay (1728–1793): Consul in France, Diplomat in Barbary. Priscilla H. and Richard S. Roberts.2008, Lehigh, 978-0-9342-2398-0, $62.50. ThomasBarclay was the first US consul to serve overseas and became the first American diplomat to die in a foreign country. An Ulster immigrant who became a prosperous Philadelphian, Barclay played secondary but not unimportant roles in the American revolution. Congress sent him to Europe in 1781, where he worked in Paris and Holland with Franklin and then with Jefferson. In 1786, Jefferson and John Adams sent Barclay to negotiate a treaty with Morocco’s sultan, Sidi Muhammad, who had grown weary of waiting for the US to acknowledge his recognition of the new nation in 1777—Morocco was the first country to do so—and had seized an American merchant ship. Barclay negotiated the treaty in a little more than four weeks in 1787. One of this book’s strengths is the window it opens on the struggles of US officials to formulate policy and carry it out in a time when news traveled at the speed of a horse-drawn coach. Another is the authors’ attention to detail as they recreate 18th-century life, particularly the story of Sidi Muhammad’s rise to power and the relationships among the Barbary states (Morocco, Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers) and the Ottoman Empire. Barclay died in Lisbon in 1793, en route to Algeria. By illuminating his life, the authors shed new light on better-known figures and contribute new understanding to the beginnings of the relationship between Morocco and the US. (Kyle Pakka) (MA09)

  • Girls of the Factory: A Year with the Garment Workers of Fes This book is an ethnography, based on a year of intensive research among Fes factory girls in 1995. The book is writtenin a direct and accessible style meant to appeal to the undergraduate university student and to be used as a supplementary text in basic anthropology courses. The book might also be useful in courses on ethnographic methods, Middle East studies, and women and gender. It is published by University Press of Florida, and although it is a university press book, it is written in the style of a memoir and is very accessible. Details about the book, as well as instructor resources, are included on the book website:

The Brides’ Fair by Hal Fleming. Tale of intrigue, cultural clashes, terrorists, and diplomats in Morocco , a country the author knows well Fictional Tale Depicts Ancient Ritual, Along with AK-47s The Brides’ Fair, a work of fiction by seasoned diplomat and world traveler Hal Fleming, brings to life an ancient ritual practiced in today’s Morocco – and witnessed by the author during his five years in that north African country. 
More information on the author may be found at The book is available through bookstores and various book websites.

The Butter Man
Elizabeth Alalou and Ali Alalou, illustrated by Julie Klear Eskalli
Charlesbridge February 2008 ISBN 978-1-58089-127-1

As young Nora waits impatiently for her mother to come home from work and for her father to serve the long-simmering couscous that smells so delicious, her father tells her about his childhood in Morocco. During a famine, when Nora's grandfather had to travel far to find work and bring food for the family, her father learned the valuable life lessons of patience, perseverance, and hope.
The Butter Man is a Junior Library Guild selection.


  • The Storytellers. Lewin, Ted.1998, HarperCollins, 0-688-15178-7, $16/£10.99 hb; 0-688-15179-5, $16 lbA young boy and his grandfather carry on the tradition of storytelling in the market place in Fez, Morocco. A splendid book for showing modern Morocco.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami. October, 2005: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits marks the book debut of a Moroccan-American woman who is one of the most creative and talented upcoming writers in the United States. Born and educated in Morocco, she went on to study in Great Britain and California, and with a master’s degree and a doctorate in linguistics, she found herself in Los Angeles working as a computational linguist. At age 30, she decided to follow her bliss and become a full-time writer. Now living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, she is blazing across the literary firmament.

Friends of Morocco Book Review by George McFadden (Morocco 76 – 79)


  • FOM Digital Library: A collection of publications on the WWW.  Volunteer and referrals needed to build this collection
  • Marrakesh Express:  Suggested Books on Morocco Excellent collection of key (English) literature by Susan Shaffer-Davis (FOM Board of Directors) covering social science (women, society, history, politics), culture (textiles, food, travel, crafts), Islam, literature and language.
  • Morocco Bookshelf - A List of Favorite Morocco Books by Journey beyond Travel
  • English language non-fiction books about Morocco  An extensive historical listing based on the collection of FOM member Bob Drake.  Publications purchased from this page benefit (15%) Friends of Morocco. Books in Chronological Order
  • Francophone Literature of the Maghreb  (Authored by FOM members Mike Toler and Debbie Folaron)
  • Tingis is a quarterly magazine that highlights the cultural concerns, ideas, and issues of Moroccans, friends of Morocco, and all those who have some interest in Morocco or the larger Arab and Muslim worlds. Because Moroccan views have no representation in English-speaking cultures, particularly in the United States, Tingis fills this gap and, at the same time, highlights the diversity within Arab and Muslim thought. The magazine also seeks to present the views of non-Muslim Moroccans whenever possible. The pages of Tingis are wide open to all critical inquiries into the nature of identity, religion in the 21st century, nationalist ideologies, globalization, and communication across faiths and cultures. Tingis encourages self-critical thought but eschews polemical treatises that exacerbate misunderstanding or trivialize intellectual inquiry.
  • The goal of, the first online bookstore of the Maghreb, is to provide in the first place books published in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to all academics or institutions of scholarship and research at affordable costs and with a maximum of e-technology efficiency. Being academics ourselves with years of university service in the field of humanities and social sciences and enjoying close relations with the publishing circles in the region, we plan to put our experience at the service of the academic community and the specialized libraries throughout the world. IN THIS WEBSITE YOU WILL FIND... Books: History, Society, Economy, Politics, Literature, Art, Linguistics, Islamic Studies...; Music: Andalusian, Modern, Rai, Popular, Sufi...; Maps:  We have a large stock of large and small-scale maps of Morocco, the Sahara, and parts of Algeria and Mauritania.  Rare Books: A number of books now considered rare, either from the 19th century lithograph press or from the French and Spanish colonial times are still circulating in the Maghreb. and Periodicals:  Our customers can order a number of Maghrebi periodicals using A list of the most important Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian periodicals appears on our website.
  • RPCV Morocco writers  Publications by RPCVs from Morocco.  More  information at Peace Corps Worldwide.  Web publishing by RPCVs from Morocco.
  • Glory in a Camel's Eye : Trekking Through the Moroccan Sahara by Jeffrey Tayler (PCV Morocco 88-90) Hardcover: 256 pages ; Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co; (June 2003) ISBN: 0618155473 
    Review by RPCV writer Vic Cox

Saharan Boy by Richard Bellamy (TEFL 75-78 Errachidia & Goulmima) 
* Paperback: 216 pages.   1stBooks Library; (November 2002)
* ISBN: 1403360103

Book review by Adam Labriny


  • CASABLANCA NOTEBOOK, by Louise Roberts Sheldon.
    A fascinating peek at a very foreign land by a seasoned reporter and illustrator who lived there for a total of eight years. Louise Sheldon grew to know and love Morocco and its people in a way that few journalists or diplomat's wives (and she is both) are permitted or qualified to do. ...


Culture Shock!: Morocco by Orin Hargraves (TEFL 80-83, Staff (trainer 1983) El Hajeb)
Paperback (June 1995) Graphic Arts Center Pub Co; ISBN: 1558682414.  Orin Hargraves, author of Culture Shock! Morocco knows whereof he speaks. As a Peace Corps volunteer to that North African country in the early 1980s, he learned firsthand about the customs and culture in the Maghreb. Hargraves covers the bases with a basic but thorough overview of Moroccan history, geography, and politics. He delves into the psychological and cultural mores of the Moroccan people, from their attitudes about men, women, and family to their views on homosexuality, hospitality, and religion. The areas for potential misunderstanding between western visitors and Moroccans soon become clear, and Hargraves does his best to offer clear explanations of Moroccan thought and behavior.


Street in Marrakech by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea.  Paperback (November 1988) Waveland Press; ISBN: 0881334049. 
This is a reflexive account of an American woman and her family's unpredictable journey through the private and public worlds of a traditional Muslim city in the process of change. As a Western stranger in Marrakech, Fernea was met with suspicion and hostility. The story of the slow growth of trust and acceptance between the author and her Moroccan neighbors involves the reader in everyday activities, weddings, funerals, and women's rituals. Both the author and her friends are changed by the encounters that she describes. A Street in Marrakech is a crosscultural adventure, ethnographically sound, and written in an accessible style.


  • The Children of Morocco (The Worlds Children) by Jules M. Hermes  Reading level: Ages 9-12  Paperback (March 1995) Carolrhoda Books; Gr. 3-6. After an introductory map section, Hermes tells the story of many different Moroccan children--nomadic Berbers, village dwellers, and city children from Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier.  Some of the children are living with families; others are on their own in cities. Children's contributions to the economy are explained in some detail, and Hermes supplies a respectful treatment of Islamic culture. The color photographs are well chosen, presenting a combination of individual portraits and pictures of the children's surrounding world.
  • La Vie Economique:   Premier hebdomadaire d'Information du Maroc
  • Gender on the market: Moroccan women and the revoicing of tradition.  Deborah A. Kapchan.  1996.  See two reviews

State, Society and Democracy in Morocco: The Limits of Associative Life by Azzedine Layachi 

Political Scientist Azzedine Layachi examines relations between the state and society in Morocco and finds that perennial multiparty politics and an active associative life have neither generated a pluralist and open political process nor stimulated the development of a civil society. He calls in to question the empirical significance and analytical usefulness of the whole notion of civil society in a country where the boundaries between state and society are blurred by strong institutional practices and by cultural and religious beliefs. 
1998 Paper $16.95 120 pp. ISBN 0-932568-25-4 Buy the Book Today!

American Institute of Architects (AIA) offers several books relating to architecture and urban planning in Morocco and North Africa. Included in their current lists are Morocco: Design from Casablanca to Marrakech, by Lisl and Landt Dennis. It is a verbal and photographic description (over 300 photos) capturing the skill and imagination with which Morocco' decorative arts and crafts are used in houses and furnishings. The book is $45.00 for non-members. Also available is Afrocentric Architecture: A design primer by David Hughes. Contrary to many authors writing on African arts and architecture, Hughes does not believe that the culture of Egypt and the rest of North Africa should be separated from African culture. He also believes that Eurocentric culture does not account for its treat influence on the remainder of the mother continent. Contact the AIA in Washington DC, at 202.626.7475.


  • Historical Dictionary of Morocco, New Edition was released 1996, by Scarecrow Press in London. In the book, Thomas K. Park fills the pages with information about Morocco' history, political activity, commercial and agricultural situations, genealogical trees for the major dynasties, geography, and demography. Also included are numerous clear maps, a bibliography, and a listing of libraries and archives about Morocco in Europe, Morocco, and private hands.
  • The Architecture of Memory, a Jewish-Muslim Household in Colonial Algeria, 1937-1962 , by Joelle Bahloul, recalls how they lived in a single house that was occupied by several Jewish and Muslim families, in the generation before Algerian independence. Uprooted and dispersed in the early 1960s, these former neighbors constantly refer back to the architecture of the home itself, which, with its internal boundaries and shared spaces, structures their memories. Here, in miniature, is a domestic history of North African Muslims, Jews, and Christians, living together under French colonial rule.   Buy the Book Today!  The book is also available from Cambridge University Press.


Medieval Isma' History and Thought, also from Cambridge University Press, is based on authentic Isma' texts discovered in the 1930s, in private collections of the Islamic world. The texts threw new light on the history of the Shi' Muslim community. Written as a series of essays by leading contemporary authorities, the book deals with important historical and doctrinal issues, as well as the specific literary and intellectual traditions of the Shi'. Farhad Daftary is editor of this publication.  Buy the Book Today!

The International Journal of Middle East Studies has published a series of original research papers and reviews concerning the countries of the Arab World - covering time from the 7th Century to the present. For a list, contact the Journal at Cambridge University Press, North American Branch, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211, email:

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