BEHIND THE BURQA: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom

Batya Swift Yasgur, As Told to, Sulima, Author, Hala, Joint Author , as told to Batya Swift Yasgur. Wiley $24.95 (277p) ISBN 978-0-471-26389-0

This memoir from two sisters who fled Afghanistan 20 years apart distinguishes itself from the spate of books about women in similar circumstances by the sheer breadth of its coverage. Through these first-hand accounts of oppression, abuse and downright misery, readers come to understand that the much-maligned Taliban only picked up where the Mujihaddin left off in curtailing women's rights. In fact, as "Sulima" and "Hala"'s mother points out, "[The Taliban] is better than the Mujihaddin. The laws are strict and harsh, but at least we know what to expect. They're not just randomly breaking into houses and killing people.... If we keep all the rules, then we will be safe." The sisters' tales of domestic abuse and other now-familiar yet hair-raising injustices may crystallize the turbulent historical timeline, but it seems that their individual voices have been muted in translation. Unfortunately, it's so difficult to distinguish one from the other that much of the impact of this well-intentioned book is lost. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-470-35007-2
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-68162-104-3
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