The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts - Joshua Hammer

First off, this book is in many ways only peripherally about "the world's most precious manuscripts."  Really it's a look at the rise and fall of Al Qaeda in Mali.


It's incredibly interesting and well researched, but not at all what it claims to be.  The effort to save the manuscripts was incredible, but is not a "heist worthy of Ocean's Eleven."  As someone with actual training and background in archives and preservation, I was seriously left with a feeling of "that's all?" in regards to the attention paid to the manuscripts.  Easily 2/3 of the book revolves around Al Qaeda (what led to them gaining strength, overall history, their advances, their betrayals of their allies, and even the split off of members that were thought to be too extreme).