From Baghdad to Brooklyn

A memoir by Jack Marshall

October 1, 2005 • 6 x 9 • 256 pages • 978-1-56689-174-4

A stirring portrait of personal and artistic awakening in midcentury New York’s Arabic-speaking Jewish community.

Born in 1936 to an Iraqi father and Syrian mother who had immigrated to the United States, Jack Marshall grew up in Brooklyn’s Sephardic community. Inspired by the posthumous discovery of letters written by his father but never mailed, and colored equally by Arabic culture, Jewish tradition, and a thriving American metropolis, Marshall’s memoir is a lyrical story of an era, a city, a little-known community, and an artist’s coming-of-age. As Marshall evokes the magic of youth and discovery, he creates a moving tribute to the power of literature and its place in furthering his negotiation of language, culture, family strife, and issues of education, faith, and politics.

About the Author

Born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents who emigrated from Iraq and Syria, Jack Marshall now lives in California. He is the author of the memoir From Baghdad to Brooklyn and several poetry collections that have received the PEN Center USA Award, two Northern California Book Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a nomination from the National Book Critics Circle.


“[Marshall] understands that the neighborhoods and cities that no longer exist can be conjured by memory and reanimated by art.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Born in Brooklyn of Arabic/Jewish heritage, Marshall may represent the keynote, most critical multicultural mixture of our time.” Naomi Shihab Nye, Hungry Mind Review