Thursday, May 3, 2012

TLC Book Tour Review and Give@way: In My Father's Country by Saima Wahab

Title: In My Father's Country
Author: Saima Wahab
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Crown
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a history lover.
  • You're a memoir lover.
What's the Story?:

From " Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, at age three Saima Wahab watched while her father was arrested and taken from their home by the KGB.  She would never see him again. When she was fifteen an uncle who lived in Portland, Oregon brought her to America.  Having to learn an entire new language, she nonetheless graduated from high school in three years and went on to earn a bachelor's degree.  In 2004 she signed on with a defense contractor to work as an interpreter in Afghanistan, never realizing that she would blaze the trail for a new kind of diplomacy, earning the trust of both high-ranking U.S. army officials and Afghan warlords alike.           

When she arrived in Afghanistan in the winter of 2004, Saima was the only college-educated female Pashto speaker in the entire country. She was stunned to learn how little U.S. and coalition forces knew about the Pashtun, who comprise 40% of the population and from whom the Taliban arose. The blessing of the Pashtun is essential, but the U.S. army was so unaware of the workings of this ancient, proud, insular ethic group, that they would routinely send Farsi interpreters into Pashtun villages.  As a Pashtun-born American citizen, Saima found herself in an extraordinary position—to be able to explain the people of her native land to those of her adopted one, and vice versa, in a quest to forge new and lasting bonds between two misunderstood cultures."

My Two Cents:

I think that books like In My Father's Country are incredibly important for people, particularly Americans to read. The United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for the past 10 years. There are still a lot of people who don't really understand a  lot about the current state and even fewer understand the historical context behind present-day Afghanistan.

I like to mix a bit of non-fiction into my reading. I love the stories of people who have gone through really tough circumstances and are faced with the extraordinary. Ms. Wahab definitely fits that bill.  She's definitely a person that you just really have to be in wow of. The book follows her as a young child in Afghanistan as the Russians are attacking the country. She comes to the United States as a teenager. 

I read a lot of this book with my mouth wide open. It's hard to believe that Wahab would go back to Afghanistan as a translator. On one hand,  she could have just stayed in the United States where she was safe. She goes back to Afghanistan though, which puts her in a very vulnerable position. Translators often are sent to places that can be pretty dangerous. On top of that, they are relied on very heavily and have tons of responsibility. It would be a lot for anyone to take on. Yet Wahab perseveres. She takes on every challenge with a game face. I found so much in her character to admire.

I think that history lovers and memoir lovers alike will both really enjoy this book. You will get totally absorbed into Wahab's story!

Bottom line: A great memoir about a tough place!

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, April 24th:  Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, April 25th:  Unabridged Chick
Monday, April 30th:  Bibliosue
Tuesday, May 1st:  Broken Teepee
Wednesday, May 2nd:  My Book Retreat
Thursday, May 3rd:  A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 7th:  Book Dilettante
Tuesday, May 8th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Wednesday, May 9th:  Book Club Classics!
Monday, May 14th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, May 15th:  Luxury Reading
Wednesday, May 16th:  Lit and Life
Thursday, May 17th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, May 21st:  Chew & Digest Books
Tuesday, May 22nd:  Twisting the Lens
Wednesday, May 23rd:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It sounds like a great book to read to get a better understanding of the people living in Afghanistan. I would love to read about Wahab, she sounds like one brave woman!

    1. The giveaway is wide open! You should enter. No entries yet! *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

  2. This does sound like a valuable read -- especially for Americans. I don't understand much (if anything) about Afghanistan myself, and know I have much to learn. Adding non-fiction into my reading diet has definitely helped expose me to new cultures, and I think I'm going to add this one to my wishlist!

    1. The giveaway is wide open! You should enter. No entries yet! *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

  3. I love reading true stories of other cultures. And now especially Afghanistan. Please enter me in the giveaway.Thank you.


    1. Same here. I think it's so important to try to understand cultures outside of our own.

  4. I have only read a little about Afghanistan. I did meet a man from Afghanistan in one of college classes a long time ago. He was horrified that I was not staying at home, taking care of my son. That made me realize that the culture is extremely different. Saima's college education is a huge leap and she never would have been able to achieve it if she had stayed there. I am very interested in this book and want to read about this brave young woman.


    1. It's sort of interesting to think of how different Saima (or any of our lives would be) if we didn't grow up in the places where we grew up.

  5. I don't really know much about Afghanistan and would love to learn more. Have added this one to my TBR list.

  6. A true-life story with relevance for us all. We need to understand foreign cultures like that of Afghanistan better if we are going to better citizens of the world.

    1. Yes! We all would do well to try and understand a little more about the world around us!

  7. Books like this continually amaze me by reminding me of all this things about the world that I just don't know.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. Same here! I love getting a new perspective from books!

  8. This sounds like an amazing book. I have seen many great reviews. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com


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