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Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords, and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan Paperback – Nov 8 2011
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“Nawa deftly sketches the geopolitical nightmare that is today’s Afghanistan, but the book’s real strength is her detailed, sensitive reporting of individual people’s stories.” (Boston Globe)
“Powerful. . . . Nawa draws rich, complex portraits of subjects on both sides of the law . . . Nawa’s work is remarkable for its depth, honesty, and commitment to recording women’s stories, even when it means putting her own safety at risk. She writes with passion about the history of her volatile homeland and with cautious optimism about its future.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Nawa ably captures the tragic complexity of Afghan society and the sheer difficulty of life there. . . . Her assured narrative clearly stems from in-depth reporting in a risk-laden environment.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Insightful and informative. . . . Fariba Nawa weaves her personal story of reconnecting with her homeland after 9/11 with a very engaging narrative that chronicles Afghanistan’s dangerous descent into opium trafficking . . . [and] how the drug trade has damaged the lives of ordinary Afghan people.” (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)
“Opium Nation brings much needed depth and complexity to any conversation involving Afghanistan and its future. Fariba Nawa writes with the detailed eye of a journalist, the warmth of a proud Afghan and the nuanced perspective of someone effortlessly straddling the East and the West.” (Firoozeh Dumas, author of Laughing Without an Accent and Funny in Farsi)
“Journalists, policy makers, and scholars have written on the Afghan drug trade, but no one has shown its human drama and toll like Fariba Nawa. [She] offers a unique view of the human side of this conflict in which we are so deeply engaged.” (Barnett R. Rubin, author of The Fragmentation of Afghanistan)
From the Back Cover
When veteran reporter Fariba Nawa returned home to Afghanistan—the nation she had fled as a child with her family during the Soviet invasion nearly twenty years earlier—she discovered a fractured country transformed by a multibillion-dollar drug trade. In Opium Nation, Nawa deftly illuminates the changes that have overtaken Afghanistan after decades of unbroken war. Sharing remarkable stories of poppy farmers, corrupt officials, expats, drug lords, and addicts, including her haunting encounter with a twelve-year-old child bride who was bartered to pay off her father’s opium debts, Nawa offers a revealing and provocative narrative of a homecoming more difficult than she ever imagined as she courageously explores her own Afghan American identity and unveils a startling portrait of a land in turmoil.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I agree with a lot of what the other reviewers say here about the book providing much needed insight into the workings of the drug trade and the lives it impacts. But what really stood out for me were the descriptions of the lives of girls and women in Afghanistan - they aren't always what you might expect. From stories of girls' lives growing up in war - to female drug smugglers and addicts - to politicians and anti-narcotics officers - to the author's own story as an Afghan-American woman returning there - these narratives flesh out what is often missing in accounts of Afghanistan - the diverse and fascinating lives of women there.
Hands down, this is the best book I have read on the subject of the Afghan drug trade. And in addition to being very informative, it's a really enjoyable book to read. You'll find your mind turning to the people whose lives Nawa recounts well after you have finished reading the book. To me, that's the mark of a good book. I recommend Opium Nation to anyone who is curious about Afghan society and wants to better understand the role of the drug trade in modern day Afghanistan.
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