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Extended Audio Sample The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Journalist in Yemen, by Jennifer Steil Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (389 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Steil Narrator: Jennifer Steil Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Restless in her career and her life in general, Jennifer Steil, a gregarious, liberal New Yorker, initially accepts a short-term opportunity to teach a journalism class to the staff of the Yemen Observer in Sana’a, the beautiful, old, and very conservative capital of Yemen.

Seduced by the eager reporters and the enticing prospect of spreading democratic journalistic ideals there, she extends her stay to a year as the paper’s editor-in-chief. But she is quickly confronted with the conservative realities of Yemen—and their surprising advantages. She discovers unexpected benefits in the concealment behind the modified burqa she wears. In teaching the basics of fair and balanced journalism to a staff that included plagiarists and polemicists, she falls in love with her career again. In confronting the blatant mistreatment and strict governance of women by their male counterparts, she learns to appreciate the strength of Arab women in the workplace. And in forging surprisingly deep friendships with women and men whose traditions and beliefs are in total opposition to her own, she learns a cultural appreciation she never could have predicted.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A delightful and straight-talking story of one American woman living, working, and finding friendship and love in a Muslim country. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “From the first page of The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, Jennifer Steil comes across as a person blessed with sensibility and sensitivity in equal measure…Her writing is an absolute delight—no nonsense, clear, funny, and sometimes alarming, as she threads her way through the ins and outs of Yemeni life…her book shines a vibrant light on the region, showing it how it is, with astonishing clarity from the inside out.”

    Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph’s House

  • “With intelligence, humor, and courage, Jennifer Steil’s book helps us see beyond stereotypes of male and female, East and West, conservative and liberal to appreciate the beauty and wonder of deeply rooted cultures—and the authentic relationships that can transcend them all.”

    Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life

  • “Steil puts humanity and color into her description of a country most Americans know only as a desert haven for terrorists. Her affection for Yemen and its people will make readers want to see it for themselves. A lovely book that offers a large measure of cultural understanding in a region that is too easily misunderstood and caricatured.”

    Nina Burleigh, author of Unholy Business

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer Abdo | 2/19/2014

    " I enjoyed both the journalism/ newspaper story as well as her "foreigner in Yemen" part of the story. Her openness to adventure and the culture made this a great read and a glimpse into a state I didn't know much about. There is some about the politics and government, but also a lot about culture and people, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed that the Yemeni woman who got the fellowship in Mississippi said it wasn't so different from Yemen. Before anyone takes offense, I rather take it as something I've thought for a long time- that people aren't so different as we make them out to be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/12/2014

    " This was a well written and interesting book. I enjoyed most of it. My problem with the book however is that the author starts out having a bountiful amount of morals and respect for the country she is in but by the end of the book it seems as though she's lost all of that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Northshire Bookstore | 2/3/2014

    " After a brief job teaching journalism at a newspaper in Sana'a, Yemen, Manhattan journalist Steil returned as editor-in-chief. Her adjustment to this strict Arabic country reveals a complex culture and people little understood by Americans. A fascinating book. -- Louise J. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lindsay | 1/28/2014

    " great new book exploring a part of the world that I really have no interest in physically traveling to- but her descriptions were able to mentally transport me to Yemen night after night. "

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About the Author
Author Jennifer Steil

Jennifer Steil is the author of The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, a memoir about her experiences running a newspaper in Yemen. She lives in Bolivia, where her husband is the European Union ambassador.