★★★★ No Country to Call Home: My Journey with 44 Million Others by Wali Kanani is a comprehensive guide to the geographic, cultural, and sociopolitical history of Kurdistan. Technically, the state of Kurdistan is not officially recognized, as it consists of land that was promised to the Kurds by a post-WWI treaty, but was later imparted to other countries in the region. While other such texts have been written, few offer as unbiased a perspective as Kanani’s account, since most of them have been written by non-Kurdish historians. Kanani takes the reader through every period of Kurdish history, starting with the Paleolithic era and progressing nearly to the present day, showing how certain historical fulcra have shaped the current plight of the Kurds and suggesting what might be done to remedy the situation.
The history of the Kurds is a fascinating one, perhaps because it isn’t so widely known. Neighboring states like Iran and Iraq have sought to censor Kurdish media and historical texts in order to downplay their own role in the various massacres and acts of terror that have occurred there. Kanani examines each facet of the Kurdish region with the same scholarly devotion, which results in a truly enlightening text. One small critique of the book is that its structure makes study somewhat difficult, as sections dealing with geographic features or historical landmarks are mashed up with summaries of the Kurdish conflict on a larger scale. A full section devoted to the political timeline, followed by another on the environmental aspects of the Kurdish state might be more effective.