Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark

Passionate Nomad The Life of Freya Stark The first biography published in America of Freyka Stark last of the great female adventurers and one of the most engaging writers of the th century

  • Title: Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark
  • Author: Jane Fletcher Geniesse
  • ISBN: 9780394583969
  • Page: 391
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The first biography published in America of Freyka Stark, last of the great female adventurers and one of the most engaging writers of the 20th century.

    One thought on “Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark”

    1. As a lover of biographies, I became interested in this book after reading a positive review from Modern Library. What could be more interesting than to read about a woman ahead of her time, fearless, captivating, smart and daring? Dame Freya Stark was all of these things, as well as a little "difficult".Drowning in the despair of a dead-end future and smarting after a broken engagement, Freya decides to embark on a journey to the Middle East and from that moment establishes the course of an adve [...]

    2. The fascinating biography of Freya Stark, who traveled throughout Arabia and Persia between the two world wars. Her personal life was a mess, but she was an intrepid traveler, who demonstrated a strong respect for the Arab way of life. She learned several languages as an adult, used classical texts (e.g. Herodotus) as travel manuals, and discovered several valuable archeological sites. She published eleven books on Arabia, several others on Turkey, and her personal letters filled eight volumes w [...]

    3. Freya Stark lived a truly remarkable life. Born in Paris to an English father and an Italian mother of Polish/German descent, she was raised in Italy, chafing under the impositions of her vain, rather selfish mother who had left her husband to his bourgeois English life. Freya was largely self-taught, learning Arabic and Persian for fun, always fascinated by the Orient. She served as a VAD in Italy during WW1, and soon after set out on her independent travels in the Middle East.And what travels! [...]

    4. Fascinating woman about whom I had absolutely no prior knowledge. Freya Stark was a traveler and writer basically, but she was also an explorer and map-maker and diplomat and possibly a spy. Her expertise was the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Persia, and so on. She started traveling at the age of 22 and didn't quit until she was in her 90s. Her personal life was a mess though, in spite of her charm and intelligence which worked so well elsewhere. She was spoiled, selfish, [...]

    5. This is a biography of one of the Twentieth Century's most inveterate female travelers and experts on the Middle East.Freya Stark was a mesmerising personality, and Geniesse's comprehensive biography captures that quality.It was interesting to note that while Stark had the perspicacity to see some of the problems created by British colonialism, she, herself, was ardent British loyalist with a sometimes imperialistic attitude. She also seemed completely obtuse when it came to her private, romanti [...]

    6. After reading this fascinating biography, it's hard to believe that so few of us have ever heard of Freya Stark. I read it while traveling in Israel and it was so easy to imagine this tiny, confident woman bravely setting out to explore the Middle East, nearly 100 years ago! If you have a sense of wanderlust and independence that needs a bit of a boost, and you like biographies, it's well worth a read.

    7. I read this in concert with her lyrical account of a journey with two other women with whom she didn't get along, A Winter in Arabia. She was so smoothly politic in the memoir itself--to avoid hurting their feelings--that I wanted to know the backstory. The biography gave me all that, au jus, but it also allowed me to truly understand this charismatic and brilliantly restless, self-promoting woman.

    8. I have asked so many women if they've heard of Freya Stark, and not a one of us had! Yet this tiny British woman (raised in Italy) wrote many popular travel books from her amazingly adventurous travels (usually alone) through the Middle East in the 20s through the 40s. She spoke many Arabic dialects, created maps of uncharted lands, was recognized by intellectuals for her expertise and wit. AND, she lived to be 100, and was knighted by the Queen! Freya was the center of attention from the Royal [...]

    9. Wow, this is an amazing woman! Her endurance, tenacity and courage are an inspiration to all women. And men, too. She was an explorer and traveler in the best sense of these words, speaking the languages of the people she visited and getting to know them as human beings. She talked to everyone. Most of her journeys were undertaken with only a native guide and she traveled light, usually sleeping on the ground. The author presents Freya sympathetically, warts and all. I would like to have had mor [...]

    10. This very comprehensive biography of Freya Stark reads better than fiction. It is well annotated but the notes don't detract from the flow of the reading. Excerpts from letters augment the text and add a sense of Freya's thinking of the time. Freya Stark asked her mother to keep her letters so that they could be used instead of a diary - she was definitely thinking ahead for what she would need when she wrote her autobiography!Freya's goal to offer enlightenment has been achieved by the biograph [...]

    11. Very good bio of a very fascinating woman. I just read a book that referenced Freya Stark's route through Iran in her book Valleys of the Assassins, so I remembered that I'd always wanted to read this, and I'm glad I did. They just don't make'em like Freya Stark anymore. I enjoyed reading about even her foibles. This book is great for anyone who loves travel reading, unconventional women, or outrageous adventures.

    12. The perfect follow-up to Desert Queen. A very well done biography, even though at times I got the strange sense that the author didn't like her subject very much. Huh.

    13. If someone made up Freya Stark you wouldn't believe her. This is biographical writing at its best. Freya comes to life, the time she lived in is vividly illuminated and since so much of it formulated the Middle East we are dealing with today it is absorbing. Well-written, well-researched and a good read.

    14. A biography of someone I'd never heard of before and now wonder why not. This is the story of a very intelligent, curious woman who traveled extensively, especially in the Middle East. She had such a full life, it makes for interesting reading if not dramatic and thrilling. The book is written very well; the flow is flawless and it was a pleasure to read.

    15. The worst part about this book is the title. Everyone thought I was reading a Harlequin romance. Freya Stark is an interesting person. She traveled alone around the Middle East and was fairly influential during WWII. I enjoyed learning about her.

    16. This was an interesting book with an interesting subject, though I found the writing a little flat. Freya Stark comes across as the kind of person I would admire at a distance and detest as a friend as she was very prone to using people. I'm glad to have learned about this adventurous woman.

    17. I really enjoyed this biography of Freya Stark. She had a fascinating life -- always travelling to far-off places and learning as much of the culture as she could. I have only read one of her books so far but would like to read more.

    18. I love to read about women who have had adventurous lives in places beyond their homelands or passport nation.

    19. Freya Start became a desert traveler, a nomad, because she loved the freedom of the desert and her freedom to explore it. A child born into a privileged English family who settled in Italy, in the beginning of the 20th century, she grew up in poverty. When her parents separated, she became hard pressed for money and learned to earn her own income. Eventually, her writings about her journeys into the desert and life in countries of the middle East financially and successfully supported her and he [...]

    20. Stark was a British-Italian travel writer, explorer/adventurer and historian, who was one of her time’s “most respected experts on the Arab world”. She lived and travelled in the Arabic states from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s, in particular, and was one of the first non-Arabians to travel through the southern Arabian deserts. Amazingly – well, it seems amazing when you’ve read the book and see what she experienced and endured – she lived until she was 100 years old, dying in 1993 [...]

    21. Read it if you're interested in women making their own destiny, WWII history, Europe's role in making the Middle East, the human side of otherwise larger-than-life characters, and a touch of scandal.I found my interest flagging in the story of Freya's childhood and picked up another book. But I kept wondering what happened, so I returned. Things picked up once she heads east, and the book absolutely flew during the war years. The author strikes a perfect balance of not letting Freya off the hook [...]

    22. Really 4 1/2 stars as some parts of this book are very dry.But, Freya Stark is one fascinating lady. Her life is truly remarkable, and many of her adventures and stories are hilarious. So glad that this was chosen as a book club read, and can't wait to discuss Freya and her adventures and antics!

    23. What a fascinating and complex person was Freya Stark! And what a wonderful name!Born in 1893 to British parents living in Italy, she managed to escape the rigidly confining expectations of her mother and society, while at the same time seeming to hold some of the most rigid traditional views herself. She became a world-renowned expert on the Middle East, Arabs, Islam, and more, and a widely acclaimed author. She must surely have been one of the most intrepid travelers of all time.Quotations:P. [...]

    24. One can only wonder in despair how much more promising the Middle East's future may have been had Freya Stark preceded Gertrude Bell. "She was certain that while the British did it better than anyone, it was better not to be doing good for people who didn't want to be done for."Ms. Stark was a scrapper, a woman who made something out of nothing and demanded the respect due to her: "Freya was by no means sure she wanted to be a urnalist.On her very first day, when none of her male co-workers glan [...]

    25. Freya Stark, a trailblazing female explorer in the mid-20th century, is the subject of this well researched biography. Freya Stark was raised in Italy and England by separated parents, and lead a colorful life even before she decided to take on the exploration of the Middle East. She had learned languages as part of her colorful education, and took on Arabic as a special challenge after the end of her First World War nursing career. She challenged herself to traveling in war torn regions and amo [...]

    26. I enjoyed Jane Fletcher Geniesse’s very long and detailed biography of the amazing Freya Stark though at times I had trouble remembering who was who among the legion of people who were totally smitten with her.What makes Ms Stark especially interesting is that she was such a complex character : incredibly courageous, brilliant, erudite, a people-person, extroverted, energetic, eccentric, selfish, stingy, controlling, exploitative, jealous, loyal, very physical, very Victorian, thriving on livi [...]

    27. This book has been on my family bookshelf for years, I'm so glad that I finally had a moment to pick it up. I'm a sucker for stories of fearless women who challenge society's expectations and remain fiercely themselves ("The Bolter" is another good one in this vein), but in reality I had very little idea about the life or vast contributions of Freya Stark outside of a deep anthology of work relating to the Middle East. Wow. Geniesse does a fabulous job allowing Stark's amazing life to speak for [...]

    28. Another one of those interesting Victorian woman explorers. Freya Stark seemed to live in the shadow of Gertrude Bell - which she railed against all her life. Freya explored, wrote, and had a more cultural anthropological interest in her travels than Gertrude Bell (whose interest led her more towards politics, diplomacy, and policy - especially around what is today Jordan and Iraq). Freya's area seemed to be especially southern Arabia and Yemen. The book is good. Again I found that the focus the [...]

    29. Perhaps I should have read this biography before naming my daughter Freya? No matter. Freya Stark was a truly fascinating and complex person, and Geniesse does her justice in this excellent and well-researched book. Stark was passionate about traveling, educating herself, always learning, and finding beauty, insight, and inspiration everywhere. I've loved her books, and I was really happy to learn more about her life and who she actually was - I was struck by how she constantly pushed to improve [...]

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