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.
Mikhail’s harrowing account of the horrors inflicted on women captured by Isis…A powerful reminder.
— The Financial Times
Haunting and captivating—a powerful portrait of courage.
— Elle UK
Remarkable … With this book, the tragedies and the heroism of this time of horror will survive intact.
— Louise Callaghan, The Sunday Times (London)
Dunya Mikhail, award-winning poet, has gathered first-person stories from those who survived [an] unthinkable ordeal, as well as those who worked tirelessly to rescue them. We should all read it.
— Peter Stanford, The Observer
A searing portrait of courage.
— New York Times Book Review
The stories in The Beekeeper are reminiscent of tales of escapees on the US’s Underground Railroad of the mid-1800s or during the Holocaust. The book is a paean for coexistence in a multiethnic, multi-religious, multilingual Iraq. Powerful and difficult.
— M. Lynx Qualey, The National
Powerful and heartbreaking, this work lets the survivors tell their stories and highlights the courage of those risking their lives to rescue others.
— Publishers Weekly
The Beekeeper is a brutally important, electrifying, and lyrical true story.
— Paige Van De Winkle, Foreword Reviews
Mikhail bears witness to them and other women in war-torn Iraq, women who have scarcely known peace throughout their lives. That she is a poet is clear on each page. A powerful study.
— Kirkus Reviews
In her astounding new book, The Beekeeper, Mikhail turns to the prose of journalist and witness, giving voice to women who have undergone every possible degradation and criminal abuse, and survived, though there are also stories here of women who did not. A vital, necessary book.