Cover Image: The Naked Don't Fear the Water

The Naked Don't Fear the Water

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Member Reviews

The premise of “The Naked Don’t Fear the Water” - a Canadian reporter disguising himself as a refugee in order to accompany his Afghani translator friend all the way to Europe - sounds like a succinct summary of a gripping novel. Although it’s very much a memoir of a true epic multi-country journey that Matthieu Aikins took, it definitely reads like a piece of well-crafted fiction at times. Aikins’ writing brought to life everything from nerve-wracking border crossings to the moments of much-needed hope with a spectacular vividness that made this work difficult to take a break from. 

Besides recounting his tale of walking in the shoes of millions of displaced persons, Aikins also imparts a great deal of information on the current refugee crisis.  Along with the general challenges of being a refugee that the author personally experienced, he also covered numerous related topics including the former traditional idea of refugee based largely upon Cold War politics, and explanations of the various treaties that wealthy nations use with less-developed ones to essentially serve as buffer states to curtail migration by those forced from their homes by war, poverty and climate change. To be honest, the scale of this book’s hearty educational punch completely surprised me in the best way imaginable. Despite having read several books related to refugees in the current day, “The Naked Don’t Fear the Water” filled in several knowledge gaps that I wasn’t even aware that I had.  

Overall, I immensely appreciate Aikins’ willingness to undertake such a journey alongside his friend and sustain it through, despite all the exits that the author’s privilege gave him along the way. The end result, “The Naked Don’t Fear the Water,” is a work that’s not only enthralling and eye-opening, but incredibly relevant in a way that will most definitely not fade anytime in the foreseeable future.
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I enjoyed this book so much. Aikins is a great storyteller, with visual and sensory details that put you right in the environment. He connects with Afghan people and shares their lives with us as they navigate the hardest years of the past decade. I learned so much about their history and culture, as well as about my own American history and culture. Highly recommended, enjoyable and enlightening read.
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