Read Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan by Ann Jones Online

kabul-in-winter-life-without-peace-in-afghanistan

Soon after the bombs stopped falling on Kabul, award-winning journalist and women's rights activist Ann Jones set out for the shattered city. This is her trenchant report from the city where she spent the next four winters working in humanitarian aid. Investigating the city's prison for women, retraining Kabul's long-silenced English teachers, Jones enters the lives of eveSoon after the bombs stopped falling on Kabul, award-winning journalist and women's rights activist Ann Jones set out for the shattered city. This is her trenchant report from the city where she spent the next four winters working in humanitarian aid. Investigating the city's prison for women, retraining Kabul's long-silenced English teachers, Jones enters the lives of everyday women and men and reveals through small events some big disjunctions: between the new Afghan "democracy" and the still-entrenched warlords, between American promises and performance, between what's boasted of and what is. At once angry, profound, and starkly beautiful, Kabul in Winter brings alive the people and day-to-day life of a place whose future depends upon our own....

Title : Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312426590
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan Reviews

  • Pete
    2019-05-13 19:33

    I have been in Afghanistan for nearly a year now and I have not read a book that summed up this country's challenges as well as this one (the only thing that keeps it from 5 stars are some totally gratuitous and unnecessary political shots). It is broken into 3 parts and the last two, ("In the Prisons" and "In the Schools") are deathly accurate. Her descriptions of the treatment of women and the indelible inferiority complex Afghan and Muslim societies in general, places on them is heart breaking. However just as important as her experiences with women's rights groups are her insights into the American "assistance" of Afghanistan since 9/11. The comments about contractors like DynCorp and the self-sustaining bureaucracy of USAid and DoD get right to the heart of the conflicting incentives that the west has when trying to "help" the third world. Especially, as in Afghanistan, when the barrel of a gun is the motivation to accept that help.

  • Trish
    2019-04-29 16:21

    An odd mix of personal anecdote and history. I love the personal, and loathe the history (as told by Ann). Ann has a unique viewpoint and can therefore tell us things we would never know about life in Kabul, but she should leave the history to those who both know it better and can tell it better.

  • Javier
    2019-05-13 15:35

    Definitely powerful at times, this account of an American woman's four-year stint at volunteer work in post-Taliban Afghanistan serves as an important reminder that few of the structural problems facing Afghan society have been overcome with the fall of the Taliban. Her writing is certainly best when she considers the heart-breaking consequences of patriarchy with regard to the life prospects of Afghan women; her jives at "Bush the Lesser," etc., seem out of place and simply irrelevant to the foci of her book. The general writing style is far from academic (compared with an author likeEdward Said orHerbert Marcuse), and I certainly had problems with her reductionist characterizations of 'the Afghan mind' and 'Islamic society.' But I definitely appreciated her efforts at considering the many tragedies Afghans generally, and Afghan women in particular, face daily--it is a fresh approach to a region of the world that is too often reduced to being merely a hotbed of 'Islamic terrorism' and bereft of humanity.I would say, though, that I foundAsne Seiserstad'sThe Bookseller of Kabul a much better-written and informed, powerful account of life in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

  • Nick
    2019-05-09 16:32

    I keep going back to reading about Afghanistan to try and understand. Perhaps Mohammed Ghazni will live up to the early reports, but I remind myself that the same was once thought about former President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani neighbor, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. And there are reports of Taliban resurgence in their heartland of Helmand but also attacks in the north, in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. So I came to Ann Jones "Winter in Kabul", her account of that naive period after the Taliban retreated--we now know of course that they were not truly defeated, not in the way of Western tradition, as, say Japanese and German officers stood in uniform and signed formal capitulations. As for the expensive, deeply flawed project of Afghan reconstruction--original construction is in many ways a better term--Jones is generous with blame for all. Afghan poverty certainly is a cause; it is difficult to blame a people starved and brutalized by three decades of war, much of it at the hands of foreign weapons, ideologies and soldiers for appropriating something in front of them. And there is the history of misogyny; Jones speaks with shock of arranged marriages, of the belittlement of the female, of the obedience owed to father, husband and brother. She is evenhanded enough to depict the occasional happy arranged marriage and does not overplay those moments when she finds Afghan women joining forces to protect themselves of each other--for example, the older one who wants to learn to read so that she can find out if what she's been told is true. The arrogance of the Bush administration comes in for its due, not just for failing to comprehend or even care who the Afghans actually are, and for their slapdash habit of doling out money to contractors by the bushelful and declaring the task at hand completed. And then walking away like they had achieved something. How much was expended, how little accomplished. Jones' real specialty is detailing the ways in which the non-profits came in and raked off the top and then not just failed to perform but even carelessly distributed textbooks that supported violence. Jones visited a prison, where the guards are busy demolishing cement pavement installed by a non-profit over water pipes that froze in winter. In the sewing room, the machines are piled up because they women were given only enough material for dolls, not clothing. The modus operandi is to come in, shave some off the top, not trouble oneself with finding out what the Afghans need, and then blame the Afghans when it does not work. In the most embittering example, she shows how U.S. tax dollars were expended through a program of the University of Nebraska for textbooks that, according to the Afghan scholar she consulted, advocated fighting, surrendering all, including family to the cause of Islam, and becoming a martyr. The only relief from this indictment comes from the Afghan women Jones spends time with, students, even prisoners, the warden of the women's prison, an Afghan-German who volunteers at a hospital in Kabul. And that elderly woman who wants to read the Quran.

  • Ron
    2019-05-09 22:35

    This is the angriest book I've read about women in Islamic countries since Geraldine Brooks' "Nine Parts of Desire." Author Ann Jones, who has written before of violence against women, finds no reason to applaud the so-called liberation of women in post-Taliban Afghanistan, where traditional ultraconservative attitudes toward women (which she points out have no basis in Islam itself) continue to prevail. Considered property to be bought and sold, they have lives that often lead to child marriages, domestic violence, prison, murder, and suicide. A woman at odds with either her husband's or her father's family, the author argues, is as good as dead. She often holds accountable the often glamorized mujahadin, who fought the Soviets for a decade with arms from the West and then, after driving them out, went on to destroy much of what was left of the country with a long civil war.While a quick summary of this book may make it sound extremist and politically radical, the evidence that Jones offers to support her claims quickly dismisses doubt. Her visits to women's prisons and hospital wards and her analysis of the judicial system that doesn't acknowledge the concept of women's rights reveal in story after story how women's lives are circumscribed by a rigidly enforced patriarchy. While the appearances of social change - women and girls going to schools, freedom from wearing burqas - are trumpeted in the western news media, Jones' experience indicates otherwise.Meanwhile, as she describes in the closing section of the book, the international aid efforts create their own high-priced counterproductivity. A reader is likely to be left with illusions about the West's beneficence totally upended, with statistics that show how 86% of U.S. aid is spent on military contracts and expensive living allowances for American aid workers living abroad. The lion's share of this financial outpouring goes to a handful of Washington's favorite vendors, often without competitive bidding. Finally, and amazingly, only $8.00 of the average American's yearly federal taxes actually go to real foreign aid, much of which is spent on projects of questionable value - like the mass production of textbooks originally developed for use in Taliban schools.Definitely worth reading as an alternative to the official view from Washington and the news media. Also recommended: Sarah Chayes' "The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban"

  • Ellis Amdur
    2019-05-25 21:39

    If this book does not enrage you to white-hot fury, you have neither heart nor good sense.  The first rage will be will be elicited at accounts of how women were treated not only during the Taliban years, but now, in the alleged freedom and democracy the United States has supposedly brought in. This is a place where women are imprisoned as immoral when they are raped - not in the countryside, but in Kabul itself.  And that is what brings up the second kind of rage - how through cack-handed smug idiocy, we have once again abandoned Afghanistan to chaos and brutality - and this time, through poorly thought out plans for redevelopment, rarely carried out to completion, that fund the NGOs and government contractors, far more than the Afgani people.The book's strength can also be its weakness. The treatment of women -- no, the violation of women - does not deserve a dispassionate actuarial accounting, nor does the corruption and stupidity of much of the so-called redevelopment work. On the other hand, Jone's forays into larger geopolitical commentary would benefit from a more dispassionate eye. Then again, it's a lot to imagine that outrage can be easily suspended when stepping away from a prison where women are held for the crime of being raped.

  • Phyllis
    2019-05-06 18:50

    The author was in Afghanistan, and particularly Kabul, from approximately 2002 until 2005 for varying lengths of time. The primary topics she addresses are education, women's prisons, and the history of Kabul including the Soviet occupation, the mujahiddin "brother wars", the Taliban, and the U.S. occupation. She definitely has a liberal slant (which suits me fine). I really enjoyed the book.

  • David Colton
    2019-05-19 17:26

    Ann Jones is a brilliant researcher and a compassionate writer. This is an excellent book that details the blight of women in Afganistan. Ms. Jones also works the blunders of the Bush one and Bush two administrations into this story in the telling of this sad and bleak history of a woman's status in this country held hostage by fundamentalism and fear of western ways.

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2019-05-16 21:22

    Some good writing, some excellent observation but lacks any appearance of objective balance. Which is fine, but doesn't inspire confidence. Not all of the problems in Afghanistan can be laid at the feet of meddling superpowers. Nor is transplanting middle class westernized values going to assist in solving wider problems. Worth reading as one set of observations.

  • dallas
    2019-05-14 15:25

    This book was incredible. I want to buy a copy for everyone that I know. If you ever wanted to know what it's really like in Afghanistan and what we've done to that country (both good and bad), this is the best book for that.

  • Sandy
    2019-04-28 17:44

    started to read this and had to give it back to owner - local author, have read another of her books

  • Shandy Potes mangra
    2019-05-10 18:26

    Ann Jones does a great job giving the reader the historical background of Afghanistan. She also discusses the origin and prominence of Islam within the fabric of everyday life and governance in Afghanistan. Sometimes weighing heavily on her opinion, she does nevertheless balance her view with anecdotes of the people she got to talk to during her months long stay there. The author gives the reader the chance to read these accounts and determine what thoughts and feelings they evoke for them. The book is divided into three parts: conflicts and war, women in prisons, and the education of girls.

  • Gord Mcnaughton
    2019-05-22 16:20

    Kabul in Winter weaves together a history of Afghanistan, Misogyny and the problem with international aid groups, in particular USAID. Jones keeps the her analysis readable. This book would especially interest those who have an interest in international aid or Afghanistan in general.

  • Jim
    2019-05-13 20:32

    This is a difficult read, full of sorrow, tragedy, and the truth from the ground about the endeavor known as the American War in Afghanistan. It was written in the mid-2000's, but holds as much relevance in 2018 as it did when it was published.

  • Beth
    2019-05-02 16:44

    A combination of true story experiences and history of Afghanistan. I recommend it!

  • Evan Kingsley
    2019-04-28 16:38

    A useful history of Afghanistan is embedded in the narrative.

  • Sania Sufi
    2019-04-30 20:37

    Mixed feelings. This book provides REALLY GOOD historico-political context of the current situation in Afghanistan. Jones provides crucial background info on US geopolitical interests in the country dating back to Cold War era, which - of course, is helpful in analyzing current turmoil in Afghanistan. She also provides an accurate description of the complexity, insincerity, and falsehood surrounding Western "development" projects in countries in the Global South - such as Afghanistan - vis a vis aid agencies/financial institutions such as USAID, IMF, etc. For example, Jones highlights how the "privatiziation" efforts of such agencies results in increased profit for foreign contractors (the money almost *never* leaves US bank accounts) while Afghanis are left without jobs, skills, and the capital to prop up their country...all under the glorious name of "development" by the lofty and civilized Imperial powers. Her first hand accounts in the country enriches her study of the failure of development. While I feel Jones provides crucial political and historical context, her narration of women's issues in Afghanistan is where she loses my respect. A third of the book is dedicated to women's prisons in Afghanistan. There are countless instances throughout the book where Jones connects the horrid conditions of women in Afghanistan to the culture, or heritage of Afghanis. This is a misrepresentation of the situation and is patriarchal coming from a White, American woman. Gender inequality in the Global South NEEDS to be connected to the mechanics of the IMPERIAL EMPIRE and how it perpetuates such inequality. I am sick and tired of gender inequality in countries such as Afghanistan being seen as isolated cases and not connected to the bigger picture! Failing to realize this not only oversimplifies the issue of gender inequality/discrimination in Afghanistan and other such places, but it also perpetuates the same old colonialist and racist tropes of third world nations as inherently "backwards" "savage" "uneducated". Representing the people of Afghanistan through a colonial lens will undoubtedly lead to a "Life Without Peace". Really dismayed that Jones failed to see the bigger picture here, especially since her critique of the neo-liberalism to be found within development agencies was so on point.

  • Josiah
    2019-05-02 14:23

    This book represented a good overview of life in Kabul. I definitely resonated with it in many ways--from the descriptions of driving through the oft unmaintained Kabuli roads, to the uniquely broken Afghan English vernacular that Jones records, "Kabul in Winter" is, I have found, if not necessarily groundbreaking, at least a personal and nuanced memoir of living in Kabul as a foreigner. Jones tends to sidetrack her own story with not-so-brief histories of Afghanistan, slanting them to make her points. Which is I guess is her prerogative; it is her book. The true poignant moments of literary merit, however, were Jones's anecdotes on visiting the women's prison and teaching English teachers how to speak English. If nothing else, this book attempts to ignite a sense of justice in the reader. While justice in Afghanistan seems laughable in the context of the book (the women Jones visits are in prison for "crimes" that make little sense in the Western concept of the word), the historical perspective that Jones provides proffers reasons for the lack of education, development, economic stability, and security in this country.I feel the reason that Jones's voice is needed, and perhaps even unique amidst the plethora of opinions on Afghanistan, is because of her commitment to the women of Afghanistan. I feel both inspired to help by the need that exists here, but also crippled by my own nationality and the harm that my government has already done in the name of "making things better." I feel shame because of the seemingly endless cycles of for-profit "development" that have ravaged this country for more than a decade now, and I feel helpless because of my inability to change anything."Kabul in Winter" is provocative while creatively incorporating the informative in a pseudo-journalistic mini-memoir that ultimately makes for excellent reading material. Recommended for anybody interested in humanitarian aid, women's rights, Afghanistan, and/or international education.

  • Mike
    2019-05-21 17:27

    Often grisly, recounts women's tragic stories in Afghanistan, mostly deals with her experiences post-9/11, volunteering in Kabul.I knew it was bad but when I read the whole book the social views on women by men and women in Afghanistan set in. It's messed up, and I want to throw cultural relativism out the window on this one. No human rights and women are literally worth less than a TV. I think most people know that's true in some cultures, but in my case I needed to read an account like this to really internalize what happens in a hyper-misogynistic culture.As a current ESL teacher I had a personal interest in Jones's experiences training Afghan English teachers. Excellent breakdown on how American aid doesn't really make it to people living in Afghanistan, rather aid workers get direct deposits and all kinds of amenities when they go over there, and really, doesn't look like they're doing very much at all. Most of the money goes to contractors and American investments. They announce they're going to donate $17 million for education in Afghanistan, for instance, but what they don't say is that it's going to be a new private American university, competing with the national public schools.Jones wasn't hanging out at the fortified US embassy, to her credit.One thing I can't stand is when people say things like "Bush the Lesser" or "Bush II," "Bush Khan" (I made that last one up, not a quote) things like that as she does in this. Sounds whiny and not too original.According to Jones, a lot of the rules set in place that oppress/"protect" women have pretty liberal interpretations of the Quran. I haven't read the Quran myself so I'm not going to pretend to know what I'm talking about; I'll just admit I want to believe Jones is right in this case.

  • Kallie
    2019-05-05 18:49

    This is one of the best books I've read about Afghanistan and its current troubles -- troubles much exacerbated by a U.S. occupation policy ignorant and uncaring about Afghan culture and how to help restore peace and decent living conditions for all Afghans. Ann Jones went to lived in Kabul in 2002, and remained for four years, trying to make a difference for Afghan women, who lived in terrible conditions. This book recounts her attempts to help by teaching English to Afghan teachers, by visiting the prisons (where growing numbers of women are held), by learning about the conditions and patriarchal oppression that many girls and women do not survive, and by discovering how the aid supposedly sent to help Afghans fails to reach them. Anyone who thinks Afghans (and other foreign recipients) actually receive the benefit of all the millions allocated to them should read this book and learn how that is not the case, not at all. Our tax dollars go elsewhere, and Jones is very good and ferreting out where, exactly, they do go. As a youngster, I traveled overland in Afghanistan with friends; in spite of our cultural ignorance and probable offenses committed, Afghans showed us warmth, kindness, hospitality -- concern for our well-being greater than any I experienced traveling in the U.S. Though most men adhered (and still do) to horrible attitudes toward women, the status of women was visibly changing in Kabul. I have been sad to see such a beautiful place and people (and Afghanistan and Afghans were indescribably beautiful then) destroyed by invasions, warlords, the Taliban, and now by the U.S. The women have suffered more than anyone, as Jones knows and describes very well in this book.

  • Krys
    2019-05-24 17:32

    I should have written this review closer to when I actually finished this book. I taught the final chapter about the schools for a cross-listed composition/ethics class. There seemed to be a general misreading of the text, although I couldn't say why. Jones came off as uncaring to most of my students. I think this is not so much a fault with the text so much as it is their inability to read through the sarcasm and cynicism of her writing.For my part, I enjoyed both the tales of Jones's own experiences in Kabul as well as the factual information he includes about aid work in Afghanistan. At times, her writing is even poetic, when she describes the cold nights or the plights of the women prisoners she interviews. My beef with the book, and probably what my students responded to, is a general editorial tone that at times becomes heavy-handed and reductive. She criticizes the Bush administration left and right (not that there isn't plenty to gripe about), mainly focusing on the inattention to the real needs of the people, when she herself seems to be forcing a bit of her own agenda on the people she talks to. And again, I'm not trying to criticize her feminist values, especially not against the multitudes of stories here of women who could really have benefitted from a feminist revolution . . . . but the general assumption that her opinions are the correct ones, occasionally reads at best as arrogance, and occasionally, as misguided as the aid orgs she demonizes.Taken on its own, this is a wonderful read. Taken as fact and use for scholarly purposes, it needs balanced with other research

  • Jim
    2019-05-17 19:50

    This book is written by an American teacher, journalist and human rights advocate who volunteered to work in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2005. In addition to providing some history of Afghanistan, it highlights the misogynistic and rigidly patriarchal nature of Afghan culture. And it documents the almost total lack of human rights that Afghan women must endure day after day. And this is long after the Taliban (and its hatred of women) have been removed from power. This is a powerful and distressing account of women's lives and futures in Afghanistan. The author also highlights the futility of the international, but, especially, the American, aid efforts. Characterized by contracting to private for-profit companies, short-term goals, and lack of sustainable programs, the aid is doomed. In the case of the American aid, not only is it faulty in its design and execution, but the author estimates that only about 10-15% of the aid dollars actually are spent in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan people. The rest is pocketed by contractors and their employees with the vast majority of funds never making it out of the U.S. to begin with.This is an excellent book, although it is very discouraging. It was written in 2006, but its conclusions remain as accurate today as they were 10 years ago. Once again, it points out the waste in lives and treasure that has occurred in Afghanistan (and Iraq) due to the dismal Bush II Administration.

  • Heather
    2019-05-06 20:41

    After reading The Kite Runner, I was talking about it at work with a co-worker who is from Afghanistan, and I asked him if he felt it was an accurate portrayal of Afghanistan. He said something that was simultaneously both very critical and diplomatic, along the lines of "not everyone sees Afghanistan the way Khaled Hosseini does." So I asked him what books he would recommend, and he recommended this one. He said, "That's what life in Afghanistan is really like." So, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth - this book tells the real story.It's not an easy read. It is well-written, it flows well, and she delves less into political commentary than many other books of this genre (expat memoir) do, but emotionally it is exhausting if you are not already familiar with the realities of daily life for the Afghan people. I am able to read only about a chapter at a time because the reality is so shocking. I know life in Afghanistan isn't great (war-torn country, rampant misogyny, lack of education, etc.), but I didn't realize it's that bad.***I've finished the book now, and I'm really glad I read it. It makes me want to learn more about Afghanistan.

  • Sue
    2019-05-22 14:41

    In the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent attack on Afghanistan, Ann Jones traveled to Kabul with the desire to volunteer her aid in the reconstruction. From reading the book jacket summary, I expected this to ben an account of her activities and the people she came to know. Instead, it seemed to be more a commentary on the country's struggles and a judgment on U.S. involvement. Here are tales of American smugness and superiority along with accounts of how so-called aid money went instead to line American pockets. There are a few accounts of her actual experiences involved with the women int he prisons and her efforts to train English teachers but they are a small fraction of the total book. Lengthy sections of history were probably included to provide background, but I found them tedious and confusing. It seems as if this book is a venting of Jones' own frustrations at what she saw and experienced. It's too bad it couldn't have been a positive one.

  • Robert Maier
    2019-05-01 22:26

    If you have the slightest interest in Afghanistan, this book is a masterpiece. Jones, like others who have spent time in Central Asia, is a wonderful combination of fearless and foolish. As a woman in a culture that is so staunchly prejudiced against independent and thoughtful women, her stories of the horror and chaos of Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban and the early days of the U.S. occupation are even more breathtaking. She targets Islamic fundamentalism and the common people who blindly acknowledge it's cruelty with a sharp spear. But she doesn't spare the botch job of the U.S. government that acted like a bull in a China shop in its attempts to free Afghans from the quagmire of dishonest politicians, greedy businessmen, and ambitious military leaders padding their resume and their colleagues in the multi-billion dollar arms industries.

  • Kristi
    2019-04-30 21:40

    We all KNOW that the news reports and presidential statements of Bush 2 are false - no hearts and minds are won in Afghanistan, the war is not over and so much remains unresolved it is heartbreaking. To read this book is to open your eyes to the truth: America does not have the answers, other countries want help but not imposed false front democracies, and the little people are the ones who always pay while the powers sit in their ivory towers and move the pieces on the board. This was a hard book to read, yet compelling and interesting. I kept reading although I often felt very sad and depressed after finishing a section of the book. I have no idea what the answer is. I'm not sure there is one. But as bleak as this review sounds, I encourage reading of this book if only to gain the truth and perhaps be brave enough to do something, anything to help. I am not brave enough yet.

  • waxpinkie
    2019-05-07 21:20

    Kabul in Winter is an insightful, illuminating book. Women's Rights activist and author Ann Jones spent several years in Afghanistan post 9/11 working as a teacher through an NGO. Her portrayal of Afghanis is compassionate. Her descriptions of the terrible and circular constancy of war in Afghanistan via Tribal Warlords, Russian, American, European, mujahideen, and Taliban forces is a condemnation of the continual battle for resources in a region whose citizens no longer matter and have no voice. Within this Jones provides Afghani narratives from friends, acquaintances, and co-workers describing the continual victimization of women in the never ending culture clash and misunderstanding existing between greedy western capitalist trickle-down ideology and the paranoid feudal patriarchy of fundamental religious extremism. It's definitely worth the read.

  • Heidi
    2019-04-25 15:25

    There is potentially such an interesting story in this book; however, the lack of focus and organization made it extremely difficult to understand the author's thought processes. Jone provides an interesting history to Afghanistan that is designed to provide evidence for the inevitable conflict that has plagued the country in recent decades, but the history is highly fragmented and jumps around too much without a clear thread. In addition, there is little relation between pages--for a few pages the author describes her visits to a women's prison, but then skips to another, seemingly unrelated topic, that doesn't enrich the previous information. I could only force myself through about 2/3 of the book.

  • Rage
    2019-05-01 19:36

    I think I was expecting something a lot more anecdotal - stories about people that the author met and interviewed or developed relationships with. We do hear about those people throughout the book, but I found that it seemed more like a stage for the author to air grievances (about the treatment of women or poorly implemented foreign aid); that's valuable and interesting, too, but not quite what I wanted -- I think I wanted to be more able to see people in Afghanistan as individuals, not just read an examination of how they're suffering/struggling/oppressed/impoverished, the bad behavior of American contractors and politicians, etc. Those things are easy to understand without any direct experience.

  • Kelly
    2019-05-18 14:39

    I had a really hard time with the book at first. The writing is hard to follow at times and the author's bitterness is distracting. Once I got through the first part though, I couldn't put it down. Great Book about life in Afghanistan. I was stunned by some of the stories she told about the treatment of women (literally had my hand over mouth, shaking my head....horrified)and the "b.s." attempts our government has made to rebuild. It's an important story that needs to be told, though it would have been better if she had let someone else write it for her. Not that she doesn't have good reason to be bitter and angry, I just found it irritating after awhile.