Shadow on the Mountain: A Yazidi Memoir of Terror, Resistance and Hope

Da Capo: Perseus. Feb. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780306922831. $28. BIOG
Jeffrey opens his story with a portrait of his childhood in a poor, rural village in northern Iraq, near the Sinjar Mountains. His school years were disrupted when the U.S. Army invaded Iraq; they recruited him as a Yazidi interpreter. Often in combat and wounded several times, Jeffrey learned military skills and built warm relationships with his American team, who he called on after Yazidis were targeted during the Sinjar massacre in 2014. After fleeing to the harsh terrain of Mount Shingal, Jeffrey reestablished contact with American forces and assisted their efforts against ISIS expansion. Later, he aided Yazidis escaping to Europe and helped them resettle in Germany. He explains how his translation skills have made him a resource for journalists and aid agencies telling the story of the Yazidi genocide, and rallying support for the shattered community. He also makes a moving connection between the personal tragedies of his fiancé and family and the horrors of genocide.
VERDICT Jeffrey contrasts the warmth of his childhood with the brutality of war and of the genocide that shattered the Yazidi community. Though his prose is complex at times, his story of tragedy and resistance is an important one.
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