Come Back to Afghanistan: A California Teenager's Story

Said Hyder Akbar, Author, Susan Burton, Author . Bloomsbury $24.95 (339p) ISBN 978-1-58234-520-8

Akbar's refreshingly unsentimental reminiscences of visiting his father's homeland as a teen make for an intriguing portrait of Afghanistan at a time of significant transition. On 9/11, Akbar, who was born in Peshawar in 1984 but grew up in the U.S., was living near Oakland, Calif., where his father ran a clothing store. After the attack, the elder Akbar, a descendant of an Afghan political family, returned to his country to take a job as President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman and, later, as governor of Kunar, a rural province. The author visited his father for three successive summers, and the result is this account, a closeup view of the creation of the country's post-Taliban democratic government, told from a perspective that's impressively both insider and objective. Akbar reports on chats with cabinet ministers and warlords, and sketches the lay of the land, visiting both sumptuous Kabul palaces as well as bombed-out villages. His youth and curiosity send him on some dangerous adventures (he retraces a mountain route between Afghanistan and Pakistan used by fleeing members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban), and that youthful flavor also infuses the writing with a hip stream-of-consciousness that is by turns funny, insightful and, occasionally, breathtaking. Agent, Jud Laghi. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/05/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-59691-997-6
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-7475-8366-0
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