The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts
The words “badass” and “librarian” don’t appear together as often as they should. And that combination is definitely warranted here. We’re talking about people not only building libraries themselves, but protecting the centuries-old manuscripts and books inside from murderous terrorists hellbent on destroying any artefacts that don’t support their twisted ideologies.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu details the incredible efforts made by a select few to preserve the fragile history of one of Africa’s most wondrous civilizations, a history endangered by self-important dictators, European colonial intrusions, and Islamic fundamentalism. Along the way, we get important backstory on several terrorist leaders and the rise of Timbuktu to prominence.
The only downside is that we get so much backstory that our aforementioned badass librarians get short-changed a bit in the narrative, only popping up once the numerous expositional interruptions are done. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu deserve more of the spotlight, in my opinion.
This book is a particularly adventurous and impressive example of the fact that, even with time, water, fire, mold, and termites, humanity remains the greatest threat to books and our literary, historical, and creative heritage.
Simon & Schuster