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The Sleeping Buddha: The Story of Afghanistan Through the Eyes of One Family

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Afghanistan has one of the most convoluted and turbulent histories of any place on earth. Hamida Ghafour's family fled when the Communists came, the first of their ancient Afghan line to leave. Most of her other relatives soon followed. This is an evocative, searching family memoir from a young journalist.


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Afghanistan has one of the most convoluted and turbulent histories of any place on earth. Hamida Ghafour's family fled when the Communists came, the first of their ancient Afghan line to leave. Most of her other relatives soon followed. This is an evocative, searching family memoir from a young journalist.

30 review for The Sleeping Buddha: The Story of Afghanistan Through the Eyes of One Family

  1. 4 out of 5

    TheTyee.ca

    Hamida Ghafour was born in Afghanistan, but grew up in Toronto after her family fled the country in 1981. It wasn't until she was in her mid-20s -- after two decades of war on Afghan soil -- that she felt the urge to return. In 2003, she did. And she can't believe what she saw. For Ghafour, Afghanistan existed mainly in the memories and photos passed down by family members who lived in pre-Soviet Afghanistan. When she retuned a few years ago, the Taliban had been officially ousted, but the countr Hamida Ghafour was born in Afghanistan, but grew up in Toronto after her family fled the country in 1981. It wasn't until she was in her mid-20s -- after two decades of war on Afghan soil -- that she felt the urge to return. In 2003, she did. And she can't believe what she saw. For Ghafour, Afghanistan existed mainly in the memories and photos passed down by family members who lived in pre-Soviet Afghanistan. When she retuned a few years ago, the Taliban had been officially ousted, but the country was in shambles. Women had to cover their heads on the street, and NATO forces were far from defeating radical... Read more... http://thetyee.ca/Books/2007/05/24/Gh...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    This was a heavy but informative read. It has certainly enlightened me to some of the problems and complexities there will be in any attempted "reform" of this troubled country. It was a holiday read - and I found myself re-reading lines a fair bit as it is not a book you can easily read with interruptions. I recommend this to people wanting to delve into the truth behind current affairs as well as those wanting to learn a bit more about the state of Afghanistan from a Afghan point of view, taki This was a heavy but informative read. It has certainly enlightened me to some of the problems and complexities there will be in any attempted "reform" of this troubled country. It was a holiday read - and I found myself re-reading lines a fair bit as it is not a book you can easily read with interruptions. I recommend this to people wanting to delve into the truth behind current affairs as well as those wanting to learn a bit more about the state of Afghanistan from a Afghan point of view, taking into account its history and the religious beliefs of its people.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Agnes Goyvaerts

    I would consider this book to be educational. It is essential to anyone who wants to understand what is going on in Afghanistan today and how history has brought events to where this country is now. I learnt not only about the culture and people of this land, but also about what the U.N. and the U.S.A. are doing there, something I did not know much about. Because the author is Afghan herself, though she was brought up in Canada, she is able to be close to the people and get their stories, making I would consider this book to be educational. It is essential to anyone who wants to understand what is going on in Afghanistan today and how history has brought events to where this country is now. I learnt not only about the culture and people of this land, but also about what the U.N. and the U.S.A. are doing there, something I did not know much about. Because the author is Afghan herself, though she was brought up in Canada, she is able to be close to the people and get their stories, making this a unique and touching document, letting the reader make up their own mind and receive a realistic picture of the problems but also of the beauty of these people and their land. The last two chapters give quite a current update (up to 2006) on how the young people of Afghanistan are coping with the war and destruction around them while growing up, how it is affecting them, and how lost they are, yet wishing for a life of peace and prosperity just like youths everywhere else. Hamida looks at her country through the eyes of a western woman but gives us a deep understanding of this fascinating, if troubled country. I wanted to keep reading, could not put down the book, but at the same time was trying to stall ending it, probably will be my favourite book of 2011

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jude Grebeldinger

    Afghanistan history is complicated, tragic, and so broken by well meaning and not so well meaning powers that there is little hope for the people. Drug lords, tribal conflict ,international interference, Taliban atrocities...it all adds up to a horrid life to the Afghan people as they are the unfortunate "non combatants ' that pay the ultimate price. As Hamida explores her grandmothers life and death, she discovers her country anew and quotes poetry from another time, long forgotten by the peopl Afghanistan history is complicated, tragic, and so broken by well meaning and not so well meaning powers that there is little hope for the people. Drug lords, tribal conflict ,international interference, Taliban atrocities...it all adds up to a horrid life to the Afghan people as they are the unfortunate "non combatants ' that pay the ultimate price. As Hamida explores her grandmothers life and death, she discovers her country anew and quotes poetry from another time, long forgotten by the people today. Tragic but meaningful for today.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    I usually love reading about other cultures and societies so I was excited about this book. alas, I gave up after three chapters. the author does speak about her family and their Afghan roots but the story is interspersed with so many facts, dates, history, that it became increasingly difficult for me to follow the stories of individual family members. however, I did learn more about the recent history of Afghanistan, the background of the conflicts there and the struggle to establish a modern d I usually love reading about other cultures and societies so I was excited about this book. alas, I gave up after three chapters. the author does speak about her family and their Afghan roots but the story is interspersed with so many facts, dates, history, that it became increasingly difficult for me to follow the stories of individual family members. however, I did learn more about the recent history of Afghanistan, the background of the conflicts there and the struggle to establish a modern democracy while trying to retain the country's identity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christel Keijzer

    a very objective and insightful impression of Afghanistan by a woman who tells of her family's past life in Afghanistan and the changes the country has undergone after they emigrated. As an adult she had opportunities to go back as a reporter / researcher to witness the political changes the country went through from various perspectives.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maggie May

    I absolutely loved this book. I learned so much about the history of afghanistan. It was very well written and very interesting. Its a must read for anyone who has remote interest in current affairs.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I wasn't able to finish it, which is very hard for me to admit because I almost NEVER give up on a book I have chosen to start. It was just so dry, like I was reading my grade 11 Global History text. I expected a bit more personalization, but it felt more like a list of facts and a timeline.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Probably would be a good book but I found it hard to get through, ultimately gave up.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    A worthwhile read. A helpful insight to to the sad situation in Afghanistan with dismal prospects for resolution, either with or without external help.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    Gives some of the history of Afghanistan and how the situation got to where it is today. (as of early/mid 2000's). She has knowledge and interest b/c her family is from there.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sai Rasathurai

    Excellent book. Gives you a whole new perspective on Afghanistan and how it was before the war. Highly recommended. :)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    An astonishing insight into life and the politics behind the rise to power of the Taliban. Very memorable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    interesting story of Afghanistan through one family's eyes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    interesting.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renate

    My review is on Amazon. My review is on Amazon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kamila Kunda

  18. 5 out of 5

    T

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Barnard

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

  21. 5 out of 5

    Narayanan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anna Blokker

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Wallace

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lovebooks

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicoletta

  26. 5 out of 5

    Saritha Ap

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Lindeque

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margo Embury

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leone

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