The extraordinary story of how the besieged Syrian town of Daraya found hope and inspiration in a secret underground library
'Hugely inspiring . . . A unique tribute to the power of books and the unquenchable human spirit' MICHAEL PALIN 'An inspiring read - humanity at its best' DAVID NOTT, author of War Doctor
Daraya lies on the fringe of Damascus, just south west of the Syrian Capital. Besieged by government forces since 2011, its people were deprived of food, bombarded by bombs and missiles, and shot at by snipers. But while the streets above echoed with rifle fire, deep beneath lay a secret library - a haven of peace with books lining almost every wall. Many people had risked their lives to save these precious titles from the devastation of war. Because to them, the secret library was a symbol of hope - of their belief that books would triumph over bombs and help them rebuild their fractured society. This is the true story of an extraordinary place and the people who made it happen.
One of the most extraordinary stories to come out of the Syrian conflict. The assembly of a library under almost daily threat of death and destruction is appalling and at the same time, hugely inspiring. A unique tribute to the power of books and the unquenchable human spirit
An inspiring read - humanity at its best overcoming adversity at the height of war with the power of love for their secret library
In a country devastated by war, this incredible story shows how one library has thrived - WOMAN & HOME
Compassionate and inspiring - NEW YORK TIMES
A Syrian tale of cultural resistance ... provides moving testimony to Syrian students' passion for books ... a small band of enthusiasts convinced of the redemptive power of reading ... determined both to keep their minds sharp and do something for their community ... dodged sniper fire daily to salvage whatever volumes they could find from the wreckage of homes and public buildings - TLS
Mike is a multi-award winning World Affairs correspondent for the BBC. Over the last decade, his work has taken him to many of the world's most troubled places. These have included Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Korea, Darfur, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, North Sinai and the Central African Republic. He has reported undercover in places like Libya, Zimbabwe and Myanmar and covered some of the world's biggest news events including the war in Syria, the election of several US presidents, the devastating Haiti earthquake, the fall of Gaddafi and the death of Nelson Mandela.