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Preview — No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal
No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes
As U.S. troops prepare to withdraw, the shocking tale of how the American military had triumph in sight in Afghanistan—and then brought the Taliban back from the dead
In the popular imagination, Afghanistan is often regarded as the site of intractable conflict, the American war against the Taliban a perpetually hopeless quagmire. But as Anand Gopal demonstrates in this stu...more
He follows the lives of Akbar Gul (a Taliban commander), Jan Muhammad Khan (a U.S-allied militia leader) and Heela Achekzai (a civilian woman), charting the course of their lives before, during and after the American invasio ...more
As is most often the case, the narrative about the war that seems to prevail is the government's: that the Taliban harbored terrorists, they were routed, and then were allowed to recover when the country turned its attention and resources to the boondoggle in Iraq.
The story Gopal tells is more complicated, but rings true because of that. The Taliban is not a discrete category ...more
With determined objectivity, Gopal does just what he claims: he tells the story of the War on Terror and the last fourteen years--particularly 2001 through 20010--of war and distrust in Afghanistan, "through Afghan eyes". The focus is not on the military or on the people in power, but on the men And women who are, very simply, attempting to survive in a climate of terror, poverty, and confusion. And Gopal begins on September 11, 2001, but in a fitting way for ...more
This book follows three different Afghans, starting in the months following the American invasion: a housewife, a Taliban commander and a regional strong-man. The journalist (Anand Gopal) chronicles their stories (heart-breaking in their own ways). One thing I will say is t ...more
... full review is at http://www.iiipublishing.com/blog/201...
Anand Gopal is a great writer. His characters come alive in the book. He does not hit readers over the head with a political critique. The book is anecdotal. It ...more
Second, Anand's significant accomplishment bound up in this book, which might be possible to overlook given how natural his relationships with his protagonists see ...more
My only objection is that the author first of all tells us that Afghans lie when they need to, they are used to being at war and say what they need to say to succeed. They indicate each other as Taliban all the time to eliminate enemies, for example. Then he proceeds to take everything they say at face value. No one who goes to Bagram deserves to be there, and much more so for Gitmo. Which is it?
One of the best narrative nonfiction books I've read in years.
The story of Afghanistan may be too fresh for some, but the author takes a different look at things and tells the story not only of the war, but the toll the war took among normal afghans.
An engrossing, illuminating read.
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“The first time a woman enters her husband’s house," Heela “told me about life in the countryside, “she wears white”—her wedding dress—“and the first time she leaves, she wears white”—the color of the Muslim funeral shroud.
The rules of this arrangement were intricate and precise, and, it seemed to Heela, unchanged from time immemorial. In Uruzgan, a woman did not step outside her compound. In an emergency, she required the company of a male blood relative to leave, and then only with her father’s or husband’s permission. Even the sound of her voice carried a hint of subversion, so she was kept out of hearing range of unrelated males.
When the man of the house was not present, boys were dispatched to greet visitors. Unrelated males also did not inquire directly about a female member of the house. Asking “How is your wife?” qualified as somewhere between uncomfortably impolite and downright boorish. The markers of a woman’s life—births, anniversaries, funerals, prayers, feasts—existed entirely within the four walls of her home. Gossip, hopscotching from living room to living room, was carried by husbands or sons.”