Max Weiss

Scholar and Arabic translator

Nina Subin

Max Weiss

Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. A literary translator of Arabic fiction and non-fiction, he has translated works by Dunya Mikhail, Nihad Sirees, Mamdouh Azzam, Alawiya Sobh, and Samar Yazbek.

cover image of the book The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper

Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won’t convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women.

The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women—who’ve lost their families and loved ones, who’ve been repeatedly sold, raped, psychologi- cally tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons—and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety.

In the face of inhuman suffering, this powerful work of nonfiction offers a counterpoint to Daesh’s genocidal extremism: hope, as ordinary people risk their lives to save those of others.

Listen to Dunya Mikhail discuss her new book The Beekeeper on The New Yorker Radio Hour.

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