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Letters to My Daughters: A Memoir [Hardcover]

Fawzia Koofi
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Book Description

April 18 2011
In this courageous memoir, Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan's most popular female politician, gives us her first-hand account of Afghan history through the rule of the Mujahedeen and Taliban, her experiences of the Afghanistan War, and the effects of these events on the lives of women in Afghanistan. In writing Letters to My Daughters, Fawzia has created a fresh take on Afghan society and Islam, and a gripping account of a life lived under the most harrowing of circumstances.

Fawzia is the nineteenth child of twenty-three in a family with seven wives. Her father was an incorruptible politician strongly attached to Afghan tradition. When he was murdered by the Mujahedeen, Fawzia's illiterate mother escaped with her children and decided to send the ten-year-old Fawzia to school. As the civil war raged, Fawzia dodged bullets and snipers to attend class, determined to be the first person in her family to receive an education.

Fawzia went on to marry a man she loved, and they had two cherished daughters, Shohra and Shaharzad. Sadly, the arrival of the Taliban spelled an end to Fawzia's freedom. Outraged and deeply saddened by the injustice she saw around her, and by the tainting of her Islamic faith, she discovered politics for herself, following in her father's footsteps. Tragically, this choice has lead to security threats to her life by Islamic extremists. Thus, Letters to My Daughters is not only a record of her life, but also acts as a literal letter through which Fawzia can pass on her wisdom about justice and dignity to her daughters, not knowing for how long she will survive such attacks.

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"Fawzia Koofi is a splendid example of why some Canadians have gone to Afghanistan. Her riveting memoir, Letters to My Daughters, reveals the courage of a devout Muslim woman coming of age under the rule of the Taliban...The extraordinary details of her life are contained in a series of letters to her young daughters, Shuhra and Shaharzad." (More Magazine 20111001)

"In the tangled suspicion-driven politics of Afghanistan, Ms. Koofi is one of a growing number of spirited Afghan women in public life who have refused to sit quietly on the back benches as men fight over the country's future...[Letters to my Daughters] is as much a personal memoir and testament to the women she has known, such as her beloved mother, who persevered in a society warped as often by tradition as by war...In it, Ms. Koofi describes unflinchingly the wreckage she witnessed at the hands of Afghans of all ideologies and clans." (Globe & Mail 20110121)

"Fawzia Koofi's voice comes to us as a powerful and moving reminder that in the midst of Afghanistan's decades of struggle, hope and humanity prevail. Letters to my Daughters is a compulsively good read." (Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child North America 20110304)

"This is precisely what it's like to be a girl and then a woman in Afghanistan. Fawzia Koofi is feisty, outspoken, popular and progressive but as this heart-wrenching autobiography shows she is the recipient of all the brickbats her country throws at those who dare to be different. Letters to My Daughters is a page turner as it teases the reader to find out how Fawzia Koofi not only survived but is poised to beat the system." (Sally Armstrong, human rights activist and journalist 20110304)

"Fawzia Koofi's testament of love for her mother, her daughters, her husband and her country is a book you will not be able to put down until you're finished the final page." (Terry Glavin, author of "Come from the Shadows" 20110304)

"In her memoir, written with journalist Nadene Ghouri, Koofi chronicles her life from the time she was put out in the sun to die after her birth to her current place as one of the most respected people in Afghan politics. The narrative, simple but poetic at times, shows readers the long struggle against brutalities and injustice that she -- and most Afghan women of her generation -- have endured." (Ms. Magazine 20110413)

"Koofi's story illustrates what lies beneath the chaos of this multi-factional, multilingual, complex nation caught in the current struggle between foreign nations...and the vicious religious zealots known as the Taliban." (Ottawa Citizen 20110528)

"[A] spellbinding memoir." (Toronto Star 20110604)

"If you want to know what life has been like for women in Afghanistan, and what it could be like, Letters to My Daughter is a must-read...A powerful and moving book, not just for Koofi's daughters, but for all the daughters of the world. And it wouldn't hurt the sons to have a look, either." (Globe & Mail 20110604)

"Letters to my Daughters, is an amazing and heartbreaking story of one woman's journey through her life in Afghanistan, the home country she loves." (Fast Forward Weekly 20110709)

"Letters to my Daughters is one of those books that deserves its own section in the bookstore." (Maclean's 20110706)

"There is much that is remarkable in this memoir...Letters to My Daughters is heart-wrenching, and Koofi's courage in the face of continued violent opposition to a woman in her role of authority is inspiring." (Winnipeg Free Press 20110624)

"Fawzia Koofi...tells the remarkable story of her life, and what she has learned about faith, family, justice and dignity." (Sudbury Star 20110625)

"Letters To My Daughters is a piece of history that all Afghan daughters can look to when Koofi is gone...This story is not just about one amazing woman. It's a succinct and moving account of Afghanistan and its people. It addresses stereotypes, definitions and facts that may be misunderstood by the average North American reader...that she makes such a potentially alien view so much more understandable is a credit to her storytelling." (Vancouver Sun 20110626)

"This poignant, inspiring life story makes it hard to ignore the force for change Koofi represents, and it gives one hope in spite of the ongoing challenges facing Afghanistan. She is the face of what her country is struggling to be -- a place where a woman who was once banned from school can now run for president." (Herizons 20110726)

About the Author

Fawzia Koofi is a member of parliament in Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan province. Prior to this she worked with UNICEF and various NGOs as a women's and children's advocate. In 2009 she was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She will run as a presidential candidate in 2014. Koofi is writing the book with Nadene Ghouri, an award-winning journalist and former Al Jazeera reporter who specializes in the Middle East.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Feb. 9 2012
By Elle79
Fawzia's poise that come through in her writing. She provides a well detailed life story explaining the differences between Islam and the Taliban, the best descriptions I have come across yet. I really connected with how difficult life must have been for her, growing up in what is considered a war zone, what cruelties were inflicted upon non-taliban males and the fear that gripped women on something as simple as a walk. I think everyone in the Western world should read this book to better understand the Taliban and how their ideologies strongly contrast Islam. The book will provide you with a greater appreciation of the little things that we take for granted, living in a "free" society.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book Aug. 24 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fawzia shares heart wrenching detail of her life as a young woman in the war torn country of Afganistan that just keep you wondering what can happen next.
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