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Under An Afghan Sky: A Memoir Of Captivity Hardcover – Apr 25 2011

13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; First Edition edition (April 25 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554686806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554686803
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #190,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"In Under an Afghan Sky, Mellissa Fung touches on some difficult issues and does not divide the world into the two realms of good and evil. As she tells of the long days and nights she spent with her captors in a hole in the ground, we get to know them as the flawed human beings that they were, desperate individuals who had been pushed to the edge by war, poverty, and political and religious extremism. This is an important book that can lead the reader to a better understanding of a very complicated country." --Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran

"There's a wonderful tension in Under the Afghan Sky between the wide-eyed curiosity, innocence, decency, resilience, and compassion of the narrator and the reader's sense of peril in the suffocating confinement, the ever-present likelihood of murder, and the backdrop of a fundamentally irrational conflict. I came away feeling that anybody else but Mellissa would probably have perished and that she survived because of the strength of her character, which certainly surprised some of her kidnappers. I was totally captivated." --Linden MacIntyre, author of The Bishop's Man

"Grabbed at gunpoint, stabbed in the shoulder, knifed in the hand, thrown in an underground hole for 28 days, and yet Mellissa Fung never stops being a reporter. Fung puts you in that awful, dark, rancid hole with her, and lets you listen in as she never stops confronting her kidnappers. Vivid in its detail, dramatic in its conversation, Under an Afghan Sky is riveting journalism, and guess what? There's even an endearing love story that runs throughout the book." --Peter Mansbridge

"Mellissa Fung's vivid portrait of the soul of a journalist even in the most terrifying of circumstances is a recognition of the never yielding human spirit. When we follow our calling it can save our lives. Her experience is an example of this." --Sandra Oh

"This breath-taking, deeply moving memoir of the nightmare of being taken hostage is immensely readable and compelling. The enormity of the experience is matched by the brilliance of the writing. This is a must-read for anyone interested in what's happening in Afghanistan today." --Adrienne Clarkson

About the Author

MELLISSA FUNG has been a reporter for CBC Television since 2003. As a national correspondent, she has covered numerous topics on both Canadian and world affairs, including the Robert Pickton trial and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She was sent on assignment to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 and was abducted during her second tour. Fung divides her time between Toronto and Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Heidi on May 9 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was initially intrigued by Under an Afghan Sky when I saw a short interview with Mellissa Fung the week that the book was released. I wanted to know more about her 28-day ordeal that she experienced while being held captive in Afghanistan, bought the book, and finished reading it two days later. Under an Afghan Sky goes beyond just a personal recount of the author's kidnapping, but it also draws upon human emotions and differing belief systems of both her and her kidnappers. Despite her own fears and frustrations that resonate throughout the book, Mellissa Fung also manages to sympathize with her inevitably worried family and friends back home.

It's a story of hope, strength, and courage while faced with adversity. It's also a reminder to us all just how privileged we are to live in a country that is both safe and one which allows us our personal freedom.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 19 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mellissa Fung, thirty-five-years -old, has been a long time journalist for CBC's `THE NATIONAL' in Canada. As she was reporting on the effects of war in Afghanistan, she was leaving a refugee camp outside Kabul when she was grabbed by armed men saying they were Taliban. After stabbing her, stuffing her into the back of a car, she was driven into the desert and then forced to walk through mountains, bleeding profusely. Finally her kidnappers stopped and forced her into a hole in the ground where she lived for the next "28" days! The hole was hardly big enough to stand up or lie down in and she had her serious injuries to contend with as well. The only thing she had to eat was cookies and juice.

Mellissa, a brave young woman felt her best bet was to keep her captors engaged in some sort of dialogue thinking they'd come to know her better and take pity on her. She felt by endearing herself to them, they would come to think of her as a good friend, or even family as one of her captors eventually regarded her as "sister". She asked how to pronounce each of their names properly, asked if they had families, taught them English words, and finally convinced them to promise her that they wouldn't shoot her!

This was an amazing memoir of one woman's courage, strength, and resilience to remain calm during a gruelling 28 day captivity. The writing is both compelling and deeply moving. I couldn't put it down until I'd turned the last page.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Toews on June 18 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mellissa Fung is a correspondent for the CBC's The National. Recently she investigated the reasons behind veteran Steve Dornan's protest against Veterans Affairs Canada and her persistent on-air questions showed the disconnect within the Review Board whose members have no veteran or combat medical background. I'm sure that broadcast helped Steve win his nine-year fight to claim his disability pension.

But, in October, 2008, Mellissa was on assignment in Afghanistan. She left the safety of the Canadian base to pursue stories about the local people. As she left a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, young armed Taliban men snatched her from her interpreter, stabbed her in the shoulder and hand, and carried her off into capitivity for 28 horrifying days. They took her blindfolded somewhere into the mountains and forced her to live in an underground hideout with only one hole to access it. The area tunneled out left little room to stand or lie down. One of her captors raped her. She expected to die there but fervently prayed for release every day. During those 28 days she survived on cookies and juice the kidnappers brought her to eat.

In "Under the Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity," Mellissa recaptures her ordeal but, in an interview following the release of her book, admits that writing about what happened to her wasn't the cathartic exercise she hoped it would be. The images and smells are stamped on her memory forever.

What is amazing is the dogged determination she demonstrates throughout her captivity to survive the rancid dirty conditions of the hole and to remain an independent human being.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jamie on June 13 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent read, the author remains true to her own experience without embellishing, the love story is touching, she is a very strong woman to be able to go through the harrowing experience of spending 28days in a hole in the ground, enough to make anyone else crack!

I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is interested in a true story of kidnapping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vision Seeker on June 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
Extremely easy read. Very well written. Felt like I was going thru the experience with her. Very intriguing look in the Muslim faith, beliefs, and how it impacts their daily choices. Highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book describes how Ms Fung was kidnapped and subsequently released by a bunch of hudlums in Afghanistan. It is an absolutely gripping story. Reading it I felt I was right in the hole with Ms Fung reliving her ordeal. At times I felt the pain and anguish that she must have experienced and was moved to tears for her. The way her ordeal ended was totally unexpected and amazing. I wish she had elaborated on that a little more. I just could not put the book down. Phenomenal. I strongly recommend it - a must read.
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