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The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,744 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews
The nineteenth daughter of a local village leader in rural Afghanistan, Fawzia Koofi was left to die in the sun after birth by her mother. But she survived, and perseverance in the face of extreme hardship has defined her life ever since. Despite the abuse of her family, the exploitative Russian and Taliban regimes, the murders of her father, brother, and husband, and nume ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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I loved this memoir of a woman who grew up in a remote village in Afghanistan. She was inspired by her father's leadership skills and decided to get an education and go into politics; now she is a member of Parliament, trying to improve the lives of her fellow Afghanis, especially women. Fawzia's story is all the more amazing because after she was born, she was abandoned and left to die in the hot sun because her parents didn't want any more girls. Her mother eventually took pity and saved her, ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: world
A marvellous biography, by one of Afghanistan's foremost women politicians.

Not only is it a story following the fascinating life of Fawzia Koofi, from early childhood to her successes today, but it is soaked in Afghan culture. Koofi, whilst being intelligent and educated, is nevertheless Afghan to the core, and she shows us life through the eyes of an Afghan woman.

We follow her life during her childhood, then during the difficult times of the Russian invaders, then the civil war when Majahideen
Mar 14, 2013 Jennie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone - this should be required reading.
I saw Fawzia Koofi on a recent episode of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and her brief interview made me rush out and buy this book as soon as I could.

This book should be required reading for high school students (boys and girls, but especially girls), as well as any adult who can be convinced to pick it up. Fawzia Koofi's life story is compelling and inspiring, and I find myself both inspired and embarrassed by her, mainly because I am a soft, middle-class American woman whose toughest stru
Jan Marquart
Oct 12, 2011 Jan Marquart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I have been reading two to four books a month for two decades and my favorite genre is memoir. But The Favored Daughter, One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future has now become my favorite book of all the memoirs I have read. I received this book as a winner in Goodreads and no payment has been made for this review. I know little about the daily life of an Afghanistan woman despite all the publicity since America has been fighting the Taliban and I have to give this book a full five ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Visala rated it it was amazing
Following her interview with Jon Stewart, I ordered the book on Amazon. I got it yesterday evening.....just finished reading it an hour ago...this is one amazing book!! One thing that stands out in the recent books that I have read - whether it is Fawzia Koofi or Sonia Sotomayor, this incredible human resilience, optimism and the instinct of survival in the worst of circumstances to hope for a better tomorrow, is fascinating!! These women are such inspiring role models, in front of us, in our ow ...more
Jenny Tipping
Mar 13, 2012 Jenny Tipping rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Review written for

The Favored Daughter is the powerful memoir of Fawzia Koofi, the human rights campaigner and first female Speaker of the Afghan parliament. The story traces her life from her birth into a patriarchal society in Northern Afghanistan, through the death of her father, himself a prominent and respected politician and the turbulence caused by his assassination. Always ambitious, she goes to school in Kabul during the Soviet and civil war eras but her educati
Mar 17, 2013 Debra rated it really liked it
As some other reviewers did, I saw Ms. Koofi on the Jon Stewart show and went right out and bought the book. I am in the middle of it, but inspired to write a review bc her story is educational, inspiring and worthwhile (also sometimes brutal). Many people-- women and men-- supported her in her efforts throughout her life which I probably shouldn't have found surprising, but I did. I seem to hear of so much of the brutality and of women as second class citizen's but it is a much more nuanced soc ...more
Mz. Diana Gagliardi
Mar 02, 2013 Mz. Diana Gagliardi rated it it was amazing
Amazing book, amazing woman. I now have a much better and deeper understanding of Afghanistan and all it's been through. Seeing it through Afghani eyes and experience creates a much more compelling background for helping and assisting a country that has suffered from far too many people trying to claim it. We are lucky in our distance and in not having to know what the sounds of war are.

Fantastic book. Thank you Jon Stewart for making me get it.
M.F. Moonzajer
Jan 23, 2016 M.F. Moonzajer rated it it was amazing
The favored daughter describes the life of an Afghan woman from many angles, which often has been ignored even by media and human rights institutions. The book went viral after Koofi attend Jon Stewart’s show, the Daily Show, a satirical news program and talked about her life and works for the empowerment of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Mar 26, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin Herzog
Aug 19, 2012 Erin Herzog rated it it was amazing
This book was outstanding! Fawzia Koofi is only a few years older than me but she has lived a life so far removed from that of mine. We learn about her upbringing as a young Afghanistan girl - one who listens and learns from her family elders. We learn about the change of leadership in her country – from a pristine countryside to one that is taken over by Taliban extremists. We watch as her father is murdered while trying to serve his village’s constituents and we see how her family endures in n ...more
Julie Dolcemaschio
Jul 10, 2012 Julie Dolcemaschio rated it it was ok
This book left a lot of unanswered questions for me, and I put the book down with perhaps three dozen pages left. The story is harrowing, as any story of a woman growing up and living in Afghanistan would be, but throughout the book I never felt as though Koofi understood life outside of Afghanistan enough to actually rule, or lead a country in such a condition as this one. In short, I didn't buy it, or her. While she said she was educated, I didn't see it in terms of her knowledge of how the re ...more
Joyce Scapicchio
Feb 21, 2013 Joyce Scapicchio rated it really liked it
I am left humbled, horrified, aghast, anxious, dare I think even slightly hopeful after reading Koofi's life (so far) story... maybe she WILL one day be president of Afghanistan. Though the writing is not always the best, and the end a little preachy, her story is gripping. From abandonment at birth, through a lifetime of war and discrimination, Koofi persists, and somehow grows into an incredible woman. She has become not just a strong and educated woman, but also a mother and leader in her wor ...more
Feb 15, 2013 India rated it liked it
Like several other reviewers here, I was captivated by an interview with Fawzia Koofi and hurried to get hold of her book. Her story is at once deeply disturbing and inspirational, and the book is certainly thought-provoking. Moments of vivid detail (a prison guard notices her polished nails; she battles morning sickness wearing a burqa) are tremendously powerful. However, as a book it was disappointing; the editorial process did not serve her story well. The device of using letters to loved one ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Fay rated it liked it
This book was fascinating from a historical and cultural perspective. It presented the historical information clearly. I finished the book with a deep admiration of the author as well. She is a profoundly forgiving person. Her optimism is backed up by people see has seen open their minds after one of her speeches. She tells a story that is compelling in and of itself, but the writing style doesn't draw you in. I'm glad I read it; reading this book is worlds better than learning about this topic ...more
May 08, 2013 Asiah rated it it was amazing
Whenever I read a politician's book, I am skeptical. So I definitely could believe that some of Fawzia Koofi's memoir might turn out to be nothing but self promotion. And yet, it seems so genuine and humble. I love this story and I love the advice and messages scattered throughout about being a woman in a society that is makes it very hard to be one. A great read that makes me want to learn more about Afghanistan. It makes no apologies for the region or Islam, instead she has great insight as to ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Alice rated it really liked it
An amazing life that witnessed such enormous changes - and she's only in her 30's! Growing up first in a rural Afghan village where girls were worth less than nothing, then moving to the city and convincing her mother to send her to school; living through war and the Taliban; beng widowed; getting elected to the legislature. Hard to believe how things keep swinging between good and horrible. Right now she believes things are good - let's hope they stay that way.
Kelsey Hanson
This is another book that makes me grateful that I was born in a country where women are allowed to receive an education and engage in politics. Fawzia's story covers her childhood growing up in Afghanistan and living through the rise of the Taliban. I think this book showcases that the Taliban's views do not reflect the views of many of the Afghan people. Her story of survival and her pursuit of politics and gave me a new view of the country of Afghanistan.
An excellent read

The author gives good insight into the Afghan culture. It is difficult to understand some of their customs - especially the treatment of women. The book also gives a good history of the power changes in recent years and how that has affected the people of Afganastan.
Mar 15, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
The daughter of a well-off and politically active father ... but still a daughter. Strong mother, strong family ties, a husband who was generally supportive of her ambitions and an education allowed Fawzia to overcome horrendous tragedies and rise into the family business of politics. Very hard to read at some points. At points hopeful, but Afghanistan has so far to go.
Aug 06, 2015 Nadia added it
She's a formidable woman and this biography reveals the derivation of her political life. She shares some pretty personal stories, uncommon for Afghans, but it makes for a compelling read. The best part of Fawzia Koofi's story is that it's not over.
Jul 04, 2015 Vavita rated it it was amazing
Amazing biography! A hard-working, honest and strong woman! Amazing life!
Lindsey Sheehan
May 15, 2013 Lindsey Sheehan rated it liked it
Quick read. An interesting story, but very repetitive and self-promoting.
AJ LeBlanc
Feb 20, 2013 AJ LeBlanc rated it really liked it
I picked up The Favored Daughter after seeing an interview with Koofi on The Daily Show. She was promoting her book, speaking about her plans to continue in Afghanistan’s government, and the importance of fighting for her country. She was calm and serious and you could tell that she lives her life with clear purpose. She doesn’t have time to waste time, especially knowing that people want to kill her. She plans to run for president and knows her life will continue to be in danger. John Stewart w ...more
Sherry Aske
Dec 01, 2016 Sherry Aske rated it really liked it
This is not a boring memoir.
It is an eyeopening read with a strong, insightful narrator.
It's also a great first-person account of what life was like in Afghanistan through the Soviet occupation, civil war and the rule of the Taliban - but you don't need an in-depth understanding of Afghanistan's history to follow along.

Fawzia Koofi's passion and strength as a leader is inspiring to read.
Her account of her life and the life of her fellow citizens through periods of war and political instability i
This was a fascinating autobiography about one of the first female members of Afghanistan's parliament. It's a first-hand look at the rise and fall of different political powers, including the Taliban, and Koofi's life through each one.
Jessica O'Toole
Not many spoilers...

This book is worth reading for the jigsaw puzzle that is Middle Eastern politics and the kinds of people who are involved or affected by it. It is difficult to understand exactly what life is like in that part of the world and so drawing on direct experience is always welcome.

However, I do wonder how much the co-writer, a BBC journalist, had in 'livening up' the story and introducing such obvious propaganda. I enjoyed reading about Koofi's childhood, and how certain sections
Jul 09, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
This is a book which is simply incredible. Incredible as in beyond belief.

It amazes me that human beings can live through such huge changes in just one life time, and come out relatively normal. Fawzia Koofi was born into a Russian controlled Afghanistan. She then lived through the warlords seizing the country. The Taliban were the next stage of her life followed by 9/11 and all the kak that brought Afghanistan. And now she is a member of the democratically elected government in Afghanistan.

John Wiswell
Nov 24, 2014 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing
Knowing that we should approach any politician's autobiography with skepticism, I was still deeply moved by The Favored Daughter. Koofi was the daughter of a middle wife to a polygamous politician, and because girls were so unwanted, she was left outside to die in the sun. A neighbor took pity on her wailing and brought her inside, and seeing the burned child, her father swore to favor her in penance. She still has scars from the sun to this day, and will until she dies. As she writes in the pol ...more
James F
This is the February read for the Utah State Library's book discussion.

It is the autobiography of Fawzia Koofi, the deputy Speaker of the Afghan Parliament and a candidate for President of Afghanistan in the elections scheduled for 2014. Koofi was the youngest daughter of a politician and member of Parliament who was assassinated by the Mujahadeen during the war against the Soviet Union. The book is very intense in places; it describes the brutality of the Mujahadeen and their destructive conte
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Fawzia Koofi is Afghanistan's first female Parliament speaker and a noted activist for women and children’s rights. Her forthcoming book THE FAVORED DAUGHTER will be released January 3rd, 2012 by Palgrave.

Koofi is currently a leading candidate for the presidential elections in 2014 and has been quoted by the BBC, Time, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Globe and Mail, and many
More about Fawzia Koofi...

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