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Postcards from the Middle East How Our Family Fell in Love with the Arab World by Chris Naylor

Postcards from the Middle East How Our Family Fell in Love with the Arab World

Biography / Autobiography   Debuts of the Month   The Real World   Travel   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   
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Sue Baker's view...

April 2015 Debut of the Month.

Chris Naylor is a Director of A Rocha International, that takes its name from the Portuguese for Rock and forms an interdenominational Christian environmental organisation. Having worked as a teacher in the Middle East A Rocha led Chris to discover environmental and conservation work, experiencing a new way of life. Settling in the Lebanon there were challenges, especially for Chris’s wife, Susanna, but they also found friendship, hospitality, beauty and natural wonder that challenged their preconceptions of the way the Middle East is portrayed in the media.

Like for Like Reading
Lebanon through Writers Eyes, T J and A Feghali Gorton (Editors)
Mirror to Damascus, Colin Thubron

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

'I have been fascinated by the Middle East for years, and have read a lot about it. But this book eschew the politics (though it does not ignore it) to show the warmer, peaceful side. It shows a family revelling in the colour, the light, and the culture of Lebanon. And it is specifically the story of how the author, Chris Naylor, fell in love with the warmth of the people he met, and the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife – particularly the birds – of the Lebanese wetlands. Above all, this book is a celebration of life in the Middle East. It is a joyous book, and I thoroughly enjoyed working on it – a great read.' - Alison Hull, Commissioning Editor, Lion Hudson

Who is Sue Baker

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Postcards from the Middle East How Our Family Fell in Love with the Arab World by Chris Naylor

Newly married, Chris Naylor and his wife Susanna set off for a new life in the Arab world, initially settling in Kuwait. When war forces them to move, they turn their sights on the Jordan and finally Lebanon, settling in to Qab Elias, a small town on the Bekaa plain. And they fall in love - with the beauty of the light, the hospitality of the people, and the riches of the wildlife. After time spent teaching, Chris moves on to working for A Rocha and preserving the Lebanese environment, glorying in the olive groves, the claret-red cyclamens, the pelicans, cranes and frogs. While they struggle to come to terms with some of the local attitudes to women, they also glory in the warmth shown to them and their children, the riches of the area's archaeological remains, and the pleasure of seeing the world through Middle Eastern eyes.


'Inspiring, challenging, and valuable. It's not easy to pigeon-hole as it's autobiography combined with a hugely helpful and well-told narrative about the politics, ecology, cultures, and religions of the region at the crossroads of the world. If you're puzzled by what's on the news concerning Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East, this is a great place to start. It's told with humour and empathy, and most of all with deep love for the people and the places where many of today's global tensions focus. Read it soon and you'll not only be better informed, you'll see the people and region quite differently.' -- Reverend Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, A Rocha International

'This is Christianity bringing real hope to the wildlife, wild places, and the people of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and beyond. It is an extraordinary tale of faith in action with cultural and historical insights sandwiched in regional turmoil.' -- David Chandler, co-author of RSPB Guide to Birdwatching

'This is a very readable and compelling account of a family living through tumultuous events in the Middle East. I can't think of a better way of getting beneath the surface and understanding something of the culture, religion and politics of the region than through the very varied experiences of Chris and Susanna and their family. Having lived through some of these same events and seen their creative conservation work in Lebanon, I can vouch for the fact that it made a very significant contribution in a troubled country.' -- Reverend Colin Chapman, formerly lecturer in Islamic Studies, Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon

'The environmental condition of the Middle East is easily forgotten amidst the maelstrom of politics and conflict. This rich and inspiring account of the Naylor family's adventures in Lebanon, and the setting up of A Rocha's project to help protect the priceless Aammiq wetlands in the Bekaa Valley, will help put many a conservation battle into perspective. It is thoughtful, wise, and compelling reading, with enough name-dropping of exciting fauna to make you thirst to go there yourself.' -- Dominic Couzens, bestselling natural history writer and author of Secret Lives of Garden Birds

'More than the story of a remarkable and pioneering family and the conservation organization they led, Postcards from the Middle East gives a hard-won and deeply grounded perspective on a beautiful and troubled country whose history has come to affect us all. Chris Naylor's knowledgeable affection for the landscapes and cultures he gave so much to understand, and for the Lebanese people whose current diaspora are found all around the world, shines through every page. With every chapter, we become the beneficiaries of his many years in the region; the extraordinary legacy of his working years there give him a wise and moderate voice that deserves to be widely heard.' -- Peter Harris, President and co-founder of A Rocha

'Chris Naylor has reminded me of a carpet weaver in Medhat Bacha market in old Damascus. He was able to skilfully weave in various threads of culture, family, history, religion, mythology, and politics to produce a colourful carpet. Naylor's lucid and conversational style makes the book an enjoyable reading. I appreciated his cultural sensitivity and authentic sincerity as he shares his and his family's experiences and adventures. This book deserves to be placed next to Edward Said's Orientalism, but I assure you that you will read it with lots of smiles and laughter!' -- Dr Riad Kassis, Director, Langham Scholars Ministry, Langham Partnership

About the Author

Chris Naylor

Chris Naylor is Executive Director of environmental agency A Rocha. Prior to joining A Rocha, Chris had a wide experience of teaching and schools' management in the UK and the Middle East, attending Bible College and learning Arabic (in Jordan) along the way. He has an MA from Cambridge.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th March 2015


Chris Naylor

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Lion Books an imprint of Lion Hudson Plc


256 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Debuts of the Month
The Real World
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Travel writing



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