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MEMOIRS, TRAVELOGUES & JOURNALISM

West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story
by Tamim Ansary
west of kaul east of new york     The day after the World Trade Center was destroyed, Tamim Ansary sent an anguished e-mail to twenty friends, discussing the attack from his perspective as an Afghan American. The message reached millions.

To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America
by Tara Bahrampour
    The daughter of an American singer and an Iranian architect does justice to both her heritages in this thoughtful memoir. Tara Bahrampour spent most of her childhood in Tehran, but in 1979 she fled from there with her family as the unfolding Islamic revolution made Iran unsafe for anyone with Western ties.

Funny in Farsi : A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America
by Firoozeh Dumas
funny in farsi     In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here

An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan
by Jason Elliot
    This extraordinary debut 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 Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes
by Christopher Kremmer
carpet wars     An Australian journalist who's covered the Middle East and Central Asia for 10 years, Kremmer travels through Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and other countries, following the paths of the carpet trade, the region's largest export industry after oil.

The Sewing Circles of Herat : A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan
by Christina Lamb
    Expelled from Afghanistan by the Taliban for her reporting, award-winning British journalist Lamb returned after the September 11 attacks to observe the land and its people firsthand. Through interviews with locals, Lamb paints a vivid picture of Taliban rule and offers a broader sense of life devastated by two decades of war.

My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban
by Chekeba Hachemi Latifa
my forbidden face     From 1997 to 2001, sixteen-year-old Latifa was a prisoner in her own home as the Taliban wreaked havoc on the lives of Afghan girls and women. This is her testimony -- a young woman's reaction to the inhumanity taking place before her very eyes.

The Light Garden of the Angel King: Travels in Afghanistan
by Peter Levi
    In 1970, Peter Levi—classical scholar, archaeologist, and poet—set off with Bruce Chatwin in search of the classical heritage of Afghanistan. Greek conquerors, Buddhist monks, Moghul emperors, doomed British soldiers—all have traveled Afghanistan, one of the great crossroads of history.

The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan
by Ben Macintyre
reading loilta in tehran     Born to a Pennsylvania Quaker family in 1799, self-educated Josiah Harlan studied Greek and Roman history before becoming a Freemason and shipping out to Calcutta at age 21. Jilted by his fiancée, Harlan decided to seek his fortune on the Asian subcontinent. Calling himself a doctor, he briefly served as a military surgeon with the British army in the Burma War, before tales of Afghanistan fired his imagination.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
by Azar Nafisi
    In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret.

Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom
by Sulima and Hala, Batya Swift Yasgur
behind the burqa     "Sulima" and "Hala" cannot, even now, reveal their true identities. What they do reveal in remarkable detail is the private torment of women in Afghanistan and their decades-long public struggle for political rights, education, and equality.

The Bookseller of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad
    For more than twenty years, Sultan Khan has defied the authorities, whether communist or Taliban, to supply books to the people of Kabul. He has been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned, and has watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. Yet he has persisted in his passion for books, shedding light in one of the world's darkest places.

Storyteller's Daughter
by Saira Shah
storyteller's daughter     The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Saira Shah is the English-born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years.

The Silenced Cry : One Woman's Diary of a Journey to Afghanistan
by Ana Tortajada
    In 2000, Spanish journalist Tortajada and two companions set out to see for themselves the effects the Taliban had on Afghan women's lives. This account of the three weeks they spent among Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, on the way to Afghanistan and the four days they spent in Kabul captures intimate moments, conveying not just suffering and pain but also joy and beauty.

An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World
by William T. Vollmann
reading searching for hassan     There are no pictures in this picture show but, in the spirit of photography, there are glimpses of a world frozen in time. In 1982, 23-year-old Vollmann took his camera and tape recorder and headed off to help the Afghanis in their war against Soviet invaders.

Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran
by Terence Ward
    Growing up in Tehran in the 1960s, Terence Ward and his brothers were watched over by Hassan, the family’s cook, housekeeper, and cultural guide. After an absence of forty years, Ward embarked on a pilgrimage with his family in search of Hassan.