City of Thorns

  • by Ben Rawlence
  • Narrated by Derek Perkins
  • 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of Northern Kenya, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks, or plastic; its entire economy is gray; and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a firsthand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.
In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad sociopolitical investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid, and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.


What the Critics Say

"Rawlence has written a book that just might change the world or, at the very least, awaken readers to one criminally forgotten corner of it." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compelling but dry

This book is compelling and heart breaking but has so much information it gets to be almost overwhelming. Can be dry- I think the performers
Voice and just the slush of information made it hard to get through.
Such an important piece of work. Maybe better in print
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- Megan

Great story

The author places a real human side to a tragic situation none of take time to think about
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- Anita Gordon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-26-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio