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Publisher's Summary

For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East. There were only children and married women. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals. Hundreds of thousands of devout girls and women are attending Qur'anic schools - and using the training to argue for greater rights and freedoms from an Islamic perspective. And, in 2011, young women helped to lead antigovernment protests in the Arab Spring. But their voices have not been heard. Their stories have not been told.

In Syria, before its civil war, she documents a complex society in the midst of soul searching about its place in the world and about the role of women. In Lebanon, she documents a country that on the surface is freer than other Arab nations but whose women must balance extreme standards of self-presentation with Islamic codes of virtue. In Abu Dhabi, Zoepf reports on a generation of Arab women who've found freedom in work outside the home. In Saudi Arabia she chronicles driving protests and women entering the retail industry for the first time. In the aftermath of Tahrir Square, she examines the crucial role of women in Egypt's popular uprising. Deeply informed, heartfelt, and urgent, Excellent Daughters brings us a new understanding of the changing Arab societies - from 9/11 to Tahrir Square to the rise of ISIS - and gives voice to the remarkable women at the forefront of this change.

©2016 Katherine Zoepf (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A unique and enlightening perspective

Would you consider the audio edition of Excellent Daughters to be better than the print version?

This book was very interesting and enlightening. Most of what we see about the Arab world in the US is filtered through governments and news networks. It was so refreshing to see how these diverse Arab women are changing their societies, without leaving out the myriad of problems still faced by women in the Middle East.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best book on Middle East written this decade

If you could sum up Excellent Daughters in three words, what would they be?

Accurate portrayal of Arab culture - finally

What other book might you compare Excellent Daughters to and why?

Not sure

Have you listened to any of Katherine Zoepf’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The notion and importance of honor in the society

Any additional comments?

No

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful insight.

I enjoyed the focus and stories Katherine shares. I couldn't stop listening.
The only thing I did like was the voice. I appreciated the author voicing her own book, but I found her voice pitchy for the tone of the material covered.
Overall, a great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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I could not stop listening

I am a Saudi professional who is US trained/educated and I have to give Katherine a huge round of applause for her reporting style that seemed like a balance mix of hopeful optimis did not neglect the heterogeneity of the Arab world and each individual community even within the same country. It is a must read / listen to anyone who is interested in the social changes taking place in the Arab world. I

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LW
  • 03-23-18

Compelling story ruined by insipid narrator

Where does Excellent Daughters rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the most interesting and impressive stories I have heard; well written and well researched, but I had to stop listening to because of the narrator's performance. I finished the book in print.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The excellent research, balanced view and insight of the author.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Katherine Zoepf?

My next door neighbor's toddler. The kid at the Starbuck's drive through. Anybody else. Although her Arab pronunciation sounded very convincing, her high-pitched, simpering, vacuous delivery is reminiscent of a teenage Valley Girl in love with how much she can extend her vowels. She does a disservice to the book and its subject matter. And if she is truly the author, too, then shame on the editor for not telling her that she's killing her own book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"The modern lives of young women in the Arab world." Sadly - not a lot of transformation going on - just suffering.

Any additional comments?

Read the book - don't listen to it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Please get a professional reader/performer

The subject is compelling, albeit at this point dated. I wish it had some updates on the most currents situation in SA...after all of the arrests and anti-corruption crackdowns, which incidentally I find ironic.

The reading however is most atrocious, the author indeed comes across as the “journalist Barbie” (a term she brings up in the book). Her voice and delivery are most annoying, I really struggled to listen past the voice and focus on the story. Please, please, there are so many wonderful readers/performers out there, hire one.