Morocco is a fascinating and exciting country. Below you will find some further information and a list of books we have found particularly good reading.
The riad, one of the architectural gems of Moroccan culture, can be found throughout North Africa and even in Spain, in those Moorish cities like Cordoba and Granada. Riads were born from a culture that believed that wealth should be hidden from view, that it was the interior world that was the world of riches. This echoed the spiritual side, and this style of design can be found throughout the muslim world, but nowhere has it reached such heights of brilliance in interior design as in Marrakech.
Marrakech was many times the centre of the Moorish world, its culture, and civilization. The Moroccan imprint was deep and lasting. The food and culture of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America show the ancient traces of the Moors in their art, architecture, design, cuisine, and culture to this day. You will find riads not just all over Spain, but in Mexico, and further afield.
Fernea, Elizabeth. A Street In Marrakech. A readable account of an American family moving into a traditional part of Marrakesh and getting acquainted with their Moroccan neighbors. Gives you an idea what's going on behind some of those doors you may pass in the Marrakesh medina.
Munson, Henry The House Of Si Abd Allah: The Oral History Of A Moroccan Family. A wonderful picture of contemporary Moroccan society presented through quotes of an older illiterate man and his young educated niece as they each describe their lives and relatives.
Rosen, Lawrence. Bargaining For Reality. Complex and wonderfully accurate picture of how Moroccan society functions, centered around individuals and how they define and negotiate -- rather than merely perceive -- reality. And you thought one only bargains for rugs!
Waterbury, John North For The Trade; The Life & Times Of A Berber Merchant. Focusing on one man, describes the widespread phenomenon of southern Berber merchants who control the grocery business in Arab parts of Morocco.
Islam And Democracy, An interesting and readable discussion of how early Islam was democratic and how and when it changed. Introduction focuses on the 1991 Gulf War.
Maxwell, Gavin. Lords Of The Atlas. Lively account of the colorful leader, the Glaoui, who held parts of the High Atlas mountains against the Sultan earlier this century. Visitors will probably see ruins of one of his many palaces; the Krupp cannon that made it all possible is on display in one in the center of Ouarzazate.
Mernissi, Fatima. Dreams Of Trespass: Tales Of A Harem Girlhood. Beautifully-written semi-autobiographical description of growing up as a young woman in Fes in the 1940s.
Porch, Douglas. The Conquest Of Morocco. A lively description of the French takeover in the early 1900s, described by the author as "...a story of people, of chaos, villany, glory, misery, violence, greed, avarice and maladministration.”
The Blue Guide to Morocco. Probably the best and most complete overview of the cultural/historical sites of the country.
Dennis, Landt and Lisl Morocco: Design From Casablanca To Marrakesh
Harris, Walter. The Morocco That Was. A London Times Correspondent writes about Morocco at the turn of the century, before the French protectorate; he lived in Tangier for 30 years.
Parker, Richard B. A Practical Guide To Islamic Monuments In Morocco. A former ambassador to Morocco discusses Islamic architecture and many of the monuments. Useful book for the do-it-yourself tourist who is interested in history and monuments.
Pickering, Brooke, Pickering, W. R, and Yohe, R.. Moroccan Carpets. A book with gorgeous photos of various styles of Moroccan carpets, and maps of the areas they come from.
Abouzeid, Leila. Year Of The Elephant. This historical and novel describes a Moroccan woman’s courageous actions in the Moroccan Resistance in the 1950s, contrasting them with her relationship with her husband.
Ardizzone, Tony. Larabi’s Ox. This collection of loosely connected stories of Americans in today’s Morocco draws attention to many interesting aspects of the culture, several that a traveler might encounter. It grew out of the author’s stay as a Fulbright scholar there.
Benjelloun, Tahar. The Sand Child. Won the prestigious Goncourt Prize for literature. Other books by this author include:
Paul Bowles was an American writer and composer, born in 1911, who lived most of his life in Morocco. Gore Vidal has said "His short stories are among the best ever written by an American". Many of his novels and short stories attempt to capture the thoughts and feelings of illiterate Moroccans. His Western characters are often drawn to the uncanny aspects of the culture.
The Sheltering Sky
Collected Stories 1939-1976
Let It Come Down
Gellner. Ernest Saints Of The Atlas. Describes the political and social roles of local saints (an anomaly in orthodox Islam), in Southern Morocco. A scholarly book, but this phenomenon will interest serious students of Islam.
Pickthall, Mohamed Marmaduke The Meaning Of The Glorious Koran. A widely-used English translation of the Muslim holy book.
Bacon, Dan. Lonely Planet Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook. Good for the traveler who just needs a few essential phrases.
Harrell, Richard S. A. Basic Course In Moroccan Arabic. An excellent introduction for those who wish to go further