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ASIA & THE PACIFIC

AFGHANISTAN

AN UNEXPECTED LIGHT: TRAVELS IN AFGHANISTAN, Jason Elliot

Part travelogue, part historical evocation, part personal quest, and part reflection on the joys and perils of passage, this book is the most sustained firsthand description of life in Afghanistan by a foreign observer in recent years.

This is an account of Elliot's two visits to Afghanistan. The first occurred when he joined the mujaheddin circa 1979 and was smuggled into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan; the second happened nearly ten years later, when he returned to the still war-torn land. The skirmishes that Elliot painstakingly describes here took place between the Taliban and the government of Gen. Ahmad Shah Massoud in Kabul. Today Elliot's sympathies clearly lie with Massoud, who was recently assassinated . Elliot travelled widely in the hinterland, visiting Faizabad in the north and Herat in the west. The result is some of the finest travel writing in recent years. The book is filled with background information, history, and a genuine understanding and respect for the people of this embattled land.
$18.00 (softcover)

TALIBAN: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Ahmed Rashid

Shrouding themselves and their aims in deepest secrecy, the leaders of the Taliban movement control Afghanistan with an inflexible, crushing fundamentalism. The most extreme and radical of all Islamic organizations, the Taliban inspires fascination, controversy, and especially fear in both the Muslim world and the West. Correspondent Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban into sharp focus in this enormously interesting and revealing book. It is the only authoritative account of the Taliban and modern day Afghanistan available to English language readers.

Based on his experiences as a journalist covering the civil war in Afghanistan for twenty years, travelling and living with the Taliban, and interviewing most of the Taliban leaders since their emergence to power in 1994, Rashid offers unparalleled firsthand information. He explains how the growth of Taliban power has already created severe instability in Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and five Central Asian republics. He describes the Taliban' s role as a major player in a new "Great Game"--a competition among Western countries and companies to build oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to Western and Asian markets. The author also discusses the controversial changes in American attitudes toward the Taliban -- from early support to recent bombings of Osama Bin Laden' s hideaway and other Taliban-protected terrorist bases -- and how they have influenced the stability of the region.
$14.95 (softcover)

AFGHANISTAN: The Land that Was, Roland and Sabrina Michaud

Once upon a time, before the Soviet invasion and two decades of civil war, Afghanistan stood as a beautiful, if austere, country. Enchanted by the dramatic landscape, two photographers from the West devoted 14 years, from 1964 to 1978, to documenting its rugged charms. From ruined cities covered with desert sands to the Pamir mountains, where caravans of camels walk across frozen rivers in winter, to the Turkestan bazaars along the old Silk Road, the Michauds travelled and came to love this ravaged paradise and its proud peoples: Pashtuns, Tadjiks, Hazara farmers, Uzbek horsemen, Kirgiz shepherds, Nuristani mountain dwellers, and Derbiche vagrants.

With the photography of the Michauds and the text by prizewinning poet and essayist André Velter, this striking testimony to the Afghanistan that once was will help readers understand and respect a country now so central to current events.
$46.10 (hardcover)

THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL, Asne Seierstad

In Afghanistan, just after the fall of the Taliban, a bookseller named Sultan Khan (aliases are used almost throughout) allowed a Norwegian journalist to move into his home and experience firsthand his family's life in the newly liberated capital city of Kabul.

From that act of openness emerges this remarkable book -- the most intimate look yet at ordinary life for those who have weathered Afghanistan's extraordinary upheavals. One husband, two wives, five children, and many other relatives sharing four small rooms opened up their lives, unforgettably.

$19.95 (hardcover)

THE KITE RUNNER (fiction), Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons-their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The first Afghan novel to be written in English, this is a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship set against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvases of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject-the devastating history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, this is an unusual and powerful debut.

$14.00 (softcover)

 

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