A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State

Regular price $ 19.99

by Meredith Tax

Bellevue Literary Press

8/23/2016, paperback

SKU: 9781942658108


A secular feminist army courageously challenges the Islamic State

In war-torn northern Syria, a democratic society--based on secularism, ethnic inclusiveness, and gender equality--has won significant victories against the Islamic State, or Daesh, with women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders.

A Road Unforeseen recounts the dramatic, underreported history of the Rojava Kurds, whose all-women militia was instrumental in the perilous mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged in Iraq. Up to that point, the Islamic State had seemed invincible. Yet these women helped vanquish them, bringing the first half of the refugees to safety within twenty-four hours.

Who are the revolutionary women of Rojava and what lessons can we learn from their heroic story? How does their political philosophy differ from that of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Islamic State, and Turkey? And will the politics of the twenty-first century be shaped by the opposition between these political models?


"We in the West are so unused to thinking of Middle Eastern and Muslim women as liberated, let alone as feminist revolutionaries, that Meredith Tax's remarkable book, A Road Unforeseen, comes as a welcome correction. By tracing the historical and political evolution of a group of Kurdish feminist guerrillas, Tax shows us what revolution looks like with feminism at its center, even in the midst of the repressive and violent attacks on women and Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. This powerful and persuasive book is a must-read for anyone who takes the plight of women seriously." -- Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier and Sand Queen

"An indefatigable political thinker and activist takes us on a forensic journey into the gendering of geopolitical conflict and resistance." -- Beatrix Campbell, author of Diana, Princess of Wales: How Sexual Politics Shook the Monarchy and End of Equality: The Only Way Is Women's Liberation

"This is the book I've been waiting for--only it's richer, deeper, and more intriguing than I could have imagined. A Road Unforeseen is a major contribution to our understanding of feminism and Islam, of women and the world, and gives me fresh hope for change." -- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed and Living With a Wild God

About the Author:

Meredith Tax (September 18, 1942 - September 25, 2022) was an international women's rights activist and founding president of Women's WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers, as well as international board chair of the Centre for Secular Space and cofounder of the PEN American Center's Women's Committee and International PEN Women Writers' Committee. She was also a frequent contributor to The Nation and the author of many seminal books, including A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State.