Cover image for Tunisia : a journey through a country that works
Tunisia : a journey through a country that works
Geyer, Georgie Anne, 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Stacey International, [2003]

Physical Description:
206 pages : 1 map ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT266.4 .G49 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is the story of how one strikingly beautiful country, with few resources, geographically positioned in a notably troubled neighborhood, has achieved an economic miracle. Sensible planning; timed development; and open international policy, instigated in the 1980s, have helped to create a progressive and flourishing country against the odds. To the extent that you could easily think you were in the South of France rather than in Africa, with its cosmopolitan feel. Geyer writes that she has seen nothing as spectacular as the Tunisian development policy put into action. Accounts of the author's firsthand experiences from traveling in Tunisia not only feature descriptions about Tunisia's visible achievements but also accounts of the people, their mind set, and way of life. Tunisia is a fine example of a living success story for the tourist as well as the social scientist.

Author Notes

Georgie Anne Geyer is a highly regarded foreign correspondent and syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate. Her thrice-weekly columns on international affairs have appeared in more than 120 newspapers in the United States and Latin America, including the Washington Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has worked in virtually every area of the world, and has interviewed many of the most important world leaders, including George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Juan Peron and the Ayatollah Khomeini. Over the course of her career she has had many an adventure in pursuit of the truth behind the headlines, at one stage living in the mountains of Guatemala with Marxist guerrillas, and at another, working undercover as a waitress at a Mafia wedding in Chicago.
Georgie Anne Geyer is a Fulbright scholar and has written nine acclaimed books and hundreds of articles. She has won many international awards for her writing, and holds no fewer than 21 honorary university degrees. Her surname once appeared as the answer to a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, and her life has been turned into a television drama in the United States. When she is not packing for her next assignment, she lives mostly in Washington DC.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A fixture in Washington, D.C.'s foreign policy salons, journalist Geyer has taken a shine to Tunisia and here lauds the country in a book she demurs from labeling as a travelogue, preferring instead the term developmental political literature. Description of people and places is secondary to Geyer's narrative of Tunisia's relative economic success and political placidity, compared to its neighbors in the Arab world. For this she credits Tunisia's two leaders since the country gained independence from France in 1956: Habib Bourguiba, and, since that president-for-life was put out to pasture in 1987, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The two leaders sponsored a sort of authoritarian progressivism, which has resisted the region's secular and religious radicalisms and has incrementally expanded economic and political rights. Geyer is especially impressed with women's freedom in Tunisia. Politics aside, the author imparts snippets of history back to Hannibal and evocations of Tunisia's landmarks and landscapes, but Tunisia's postcolonial political history is the soul of Geyer's work. An homage to Tunisia, this would be a useful supplement to a standard guidebook. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A non-fundamentalist Arab nation in North Africa that borders the Sahara desert, Tunisia was praised by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan ?as one of the few countries in the world that serves as an international model.? History records Tunisia as the home of Carthage and of Hannibal, the general who marched elephants over the Alps along with his army. According to Geyer, modern Tunisia is no less impressive, possessing a middle class of 80%, laws that ensure every child receives an education and an impressive women?s rights record. No less than 40% of Tunisian women work, many as policewomen, diplomats, filmmakers and CEOs of major companies. Geyer sees Tunisia as ?a country that works,? and she backs this assertion by relating a series of conversations with various politicians and prominent academics. The reasons for Tunisia?s success are many. There have been two presidents since 1956 whose progressive policies have worked wonders for the country?s infrastructure. Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia cites Tunisia?s commitment to maintaining a ?dialogue of all the social forces in the country? as a buffer to extremist tendencies. Student Diomande Soumaila says that the capital?s university teaches students to think independently ?instead of simply following the Koran and the Prophet?s sayings.? Tunisia does have a dark spot, however: a record of internal human rights violations. Occasionally, Geyer?s admiration for Tunisia?s political leadership can jar with trite observation, such as when she writes that woman ?chirped like a bird in her Berber tongue? as if she were ?a creature from some enchanted aviary.? Fortunately, such attempts at lyricism aren?t overdone; Geyer?s journalistic instincts win out, and the reader benefits from her good analysis of a unique country. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The South: Preparing for the Tour de Francep. 13
Chapter 2 A Mosaic of a Land: Politics by Stagesp. 37
Chapter 3 From Bourguiba to Ben Ali: From Father to Brotherp. 69
Chapter 4 From One-Party Rule to Evolutionary Democracy: To Sons and Daughtersp. 99
Chapter 5 The Cultural Evolution: Throwing Light at the Shadowsp. 123
Chapter 6 From Developing Nation to Emerging Nation: The Politics and Process of Incremental Changep. 147
Chapter 7 Tunisia: One Mosaic of a Modelp. 173
A Brief Outline of Tunisian Historyp. 193
Suggested Readingp. 197
Indexp. 199