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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Afghanistan. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on this confusing country and its seemingly incomprehensible inhabitants. But British war correspondent Christina Lamb offers a unique perspective on the tortured landscape our retaliatory bombs have been striking. While in Pakistan covering the final phase of the Soviet War, and years in advance of the events of 9/11, Lamb developed relationships with numerous Afghans who helped smuggle her across the border. Some of these friends later became members of the Taliban; others were oppressed women struggling to break free of the restrictions that make their lives a prison; another was Hamid Karzai, who became the nation's interim leader after the fall of the Taliban.
Before Afghanistan earned its notoriety as the hiding place of Osama bin Laden, it was a fractured country. And in The Sewing Circles of Herat, Christina Lamb tells the stories of the people who haven't made the news. Afghanistan was once a place of great beauty, a place where "an hour spent staring at a beautiful flower was an hour gained rather than wasted. A land where elders rather than libraries were the true source of knowledge." But after the Soviets retreated, life in Afghanistan resembled a scene out of The Road Warrior -- chaos, anarchy, and terrifying warlords ruled the day, and beheadings, gang rapes and public executions were commonplace. While Lamb was assembling her book, the stories she heard were "so inhuman [she would] just want to shut her notebook and run away." Luckily for us, she didn't, and she has been able to offer this gripping book that makes sense of a place few understand. (Winter 2002 Selection)