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Neither East Nor West: One Woman, One Bike, One Year-long Search for the Real Middle East
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Neither East Nor West: One Woman, One Bike, One Year-long Search for the Real Middle East (Hardback)

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Three continents. Twenty countries. Seven thousand miles. In April 2015, the British journalist Rebecca Lowe set out from her London flat to cycle to Tehran; the gruelling 7,000-mile journey would take her a year, and through 20 countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Oman and Iran.

Up until then the chief reporter for the International Bar Association, Rebecca had spent much of her time reporting on the Middle East. But she felt she hadn't fully grasped the region, which has been so maligned by the western press and politicians in recent years, and whose borders - and even its very definition - seem to shift constantly. Who were the people living behind the headlines? Was it really as dangerous as people suggested it would be?

What better way to find out, she thought, than to show up there as a woman, alone, on a bicycle.

Neither East Nor West is the document of Rebecca's amazing journey; of the people she met along the way, from feminist activists in Cairo to Iranian hang-gliders to villagers in remote Sudan; and of a beautiful, varied and often misunderstood region of the world. It tells the story of the Middle East from a different perspective, weaving a gritty tale of adventure into a broader cultural, political and historical narrative, underpinning which are the voices of the people themselves - people so often disconnected from the politics in which they are embroiled.

Navigating thorny logistical issues such as closed borders, security restrictions and visa regulations, as well as a complete lack of cycling knowledge or experience, while also marvelling at the kindness of strangers, and the immense hospitality and generosity of the people she met, Rebecca's journey is a remarkable insight into the Middle East. It challenges simplistic notions of East and West, Christian and Muslim, us and them, instead revealing a world of complexity and kinship, in which traditional boundaries are questioned and broken down. It shows how, beyond the press, politics and bombast, there is perhaps not so much that divides us after all.

Sport & HobbiesSports & outdoor recreationCycling Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books Ltd Publication Date: 18/02/2021 ISBN-13: 9781789291469  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

Rebecca Lowe is a 36-year-old freelance journalist living and working in London who specialises in the Middle East. She writes frequently for the news site IranWire and was recently commissioned to write regular articles on Middle Eastern issues for the Guardian. For five years, she was chief reporter at the International Bar Association (IBA), where she specialised in human rights and the rule of law and was nominated for a number of awards. She has written about the Middle East for a number of other publications including the BBC, The Times, Independent, Economist, Huffington Post, Spectator, Sunday Times Magazine and Daily Mail. She has an MA in journalism from Stanford University in the US, where she won a full tuition scholarship.

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