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Horrendous news from the Middle East fills our newspapers and screens every day. How can we begin to understand what drives people to treat each other as they do? “Medieval” is a word often used. Well-informed commentators analyse political and military issues but give little insight into the cultural and domestic backgrounds of the protagonists.

Living With Arabs is an account of nine years spent visiting and living among the Bedouin tribes of Petra in southern Jordan; in some ways a world away from the neighbouring war zones. Through insightful accounts of day-to-day life, a world of nobility and simplicity is revealed: so too is a world of violence, gender imbalance, and the significance of Islam.

It is a story that begins viewed through rose-coloured spectacles and moves to a gripping realisation of reality. The shocking, the funny, the heart-warming – it is all here.

Joan Ward was born and bred in Birmingham, UK. She spent four years commissioned in the Royal Air Force before starting a teaching career that lasted 33 years. From 2004-2006, she was Head of English at the International Community School in Amman. On her retirement in 2006, she remained in Jordan and spent six years living in Um Sayhoun with the Petra Bedouin.

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