Author(s): Chris Naylor
Newly married, Chris and Susanna Naylor set off for a new life in the Arab world - living first in Kuwait, then Jordan and finally Lebanon. In a region never far from the news, they discovered their expectations - of war, terrorism, desert sand dunes, men in white robes and veiled women, camels and Kalashnikovs, indeed their own reasons for being there - were to be constantly challenged. As they found out, the reality bore little resemblance to their pre-conceptions. Postcards from the Middle East is a tale of love from one family's experiences: a story of work, schooling, friendships, worship and shared family life, lived out in precious communities against a back drop of world-changing events and spectacular scenery. The Naylors had never experienced such hospitality, danger, wildlife spectacles or snow before they moved to the Middle East. Their story provides a multi-coloured window on an extraordinary and rapidly changing Arab world.
"Inspiring, challenging, and valuable. It's not easy to pigeon-hole as it's autobiography combined with a hugely helpful and well-told narrative about the politics, ecology, cultures, and religions of the region at the crossroads of the world. If you're puzzled by what's on the news concerning Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East, this is a great place to start. It's told with humour and empathy, and most of all with deep love for the people and the places where many of today's global tensions focus. Read it soon and you'll not only be better informed, you'll see the people and region quite differently." -- Reverend Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, A Rocha International "This is Christianity bringing real hope to the wildlife, wild places, and the people of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and beyond. It is an extraordinary tale of faith in action with cultural and historical insights sandwiched in regional turmoil." -- David Chandler, co-author of RSPB Guide to Birdwatching "This is a very readable and compelling account of a family living through tumultuous events in the Middle East. I can't think of a better way of getting beneath the surface and understanding something of the culture, religion and politics of the region than through the very varied experiences of Chris and Susanna and their family. Having lived through some of these same events and seen their creative conservation work in Lebanon, I can vouch for the fact that it made a very significant contribution in a troubled country." -- Reverend Colin Chapman, formerly lecturer in Islamic Studies, Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon "The environmental condition of the Middle East is easily forgotten amidst the maelstrom of politics and conflict. This rich and inspiring account of the Naylor family's adventures in Lebanon, and the setting up of A Rocha's project to help protect the priceless Aammiq wetlands in the Bekaa Valley, will help put many a conservation battle into perspective. It is thoughtful, wise, and compelling reading, with enough name-dropping of exciting fauna to make you thirst to go there yourself." -- Dominic Couzens, bestselling natural history writer and author of Secret Lives of Garden Birds "More than the story of a remarkable and pioneering family and the conservation organization they led, Postcards from the Middle East gives a hard-won and deeply grounded perspective on a beautiful and troubled country whose history has come to affect us all. Chris Naylor's knowledgeable affection for the landscapes and cultures he gave so much to understand, and for the Lebanese people whose current diaspora are found all around the world, shines through every page. With every chapter, we become the beneficiaries of his many years in the region; the extraordinary legacy of his working years there give him a wise and moderate voice that deserves to be widely heard." -- Peter Harris, President and co-founder of A Rocha "Chris Naylor has reminded me of a carpet weaver in Medhat Bacha market in old Damascus. He was able to skilfully weave in various threads of culture, family, history, religion, mythology, and politics to produce a colourful carpet. Naylor's lucid and conversational style makes the book an enjoyable reading. I appreciated his cultural sensitivity and authentic sincerity as he shares his and his family's experiences and adventures. This book deserves to be placed next to Edward Said's Orientalism, but I assure you that you will read it with lots of smiles and laughter!" -- Dr Riad Kassis, Director, Langham Scholars Ministry, Langham Partnership
Chris Naylor is the Executive Director of A Rocha International. He co-founded A Rocha Lebanon and was instrumental in the conservation of the Aammiq marshes. Chris has a Masters from Cambridge and this is his first book.