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The Sewing Circles of Herat: My Afghan Years Paperback – 7 Jul 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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  • Small Wars Permitting: Dispatches from Foreign Lands
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  • Farewell Kabul: How the West Ignored Pakistan and Lost Afghanistan
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (7 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780007142521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007142521
  • ASIN: 0007142528
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


‘“The Sewing Circles of Herat” opens a window on to the deeply unromantic horrors of Taliban-led Afghanistan and, less troubling for the squeamish, tells the remarkable stories of those who dared to defy that particularly vile regime…Lamb writes with pace, conviction and honesty, uncovering both the terrible human cost of the Taliban experiment and the enduring strength of spirit of those who refused to join it.’ Justin Marozzi, Sunday Telegraph

‘Award-winning foreign correspondent Christina Lamb has written an inspiring and moving account of Afghanistan’s plight…Lamb shows that, despite attempts to destroy the country and its culture, its soul remains uncrushed.’ Marianne Brace, Independent on Sunday

‘A lucid, intimate, haunting book, which sings the song of Lamb’s love – and the tragic plight of a defiant and divided nation.’ Sunday Times


A gold-inscribed invitation to a wedding in Pakistan led Christina Lamb to leave suburban England for Peshawar - a town perched on the frontier of the Afghan war - at the age of just 21. Captivated by the Afghans she met, for two years she tracked the final stages of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets as Afghan friends smuggled her in and out of their country in a variety of guises - from burqa-clad wife to Kandahari boy - travelling by foot, on donkeys, or hidden under the floor of an ambulance. Long haunted by her experiences in Afghanistan, Lamb returned there after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre to find out what had become of the people and places that had marked her life as a young graduate. This time seeing the land through the eyes of a mother and experienced foreign correspondent, Lamb's journey brings her in touch with the people no one else is writing about: the abandoned victims of almost a quarter century of war.

Among them are the brave women writers of Herat who carried on the literary tradition of this ancient Persian city under the guise of sewing circles; those persecuted by the Taliban such as Kabul's leading kite-maker, imprisoned for making the colourful paper kites that fly from the rooftops of the city; and Khalil Ahmed Hassani, a former Taliban torturer who admits to breaking the spines of men, then making them stand on their heads. This text is a poignant memoir of her love affair with the country and its people.

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