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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2021
  • 978-1-7375303-0-5 B09C3XXF42
  • 280 pages
  • $13.99
Paperback Details
  • 10/2021
  • 978-1-7375303-5-0
  • 280 pages
  • $17.99
Chris Woolf
Author
Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush: A Memoir of Fear and Kindness in Afghanistan
Chris Woolf, author

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

In 1991, Chris Woolf was working for the BBC World Service newsroom, and wanted to see if he’d like the life of a foreign correspondent. His friend was the BBC reporter in Kabul, so he went to visit the country. They found a ride with an aid convoy, and inadvertently bumbled straight into the war. They drove into a literal minefield; met death; got separated, then reunited. They made it through the mountains to meet the legendary Mujahidin leader, Ahmed Shah Massoud – the first journalists to reach him from the capital, Kabul. That is just the beginning ... This book is both an exploration of trauma and an insightful window into the people, history, geography and politics of Afghanistan, timed closely with the U.S. withdrawal from the country.
Reviews
Woolf’s memoir details his brief trip as a young journalist through the uncertain Afghanistan of the early 1990s, after the Soviets had withdrawn and before the Taliban had taken over. He recounts seeing death all around, striking out at random, interspersed with a beautiful countryside and welcoming, hospitable people. This two week long excursion left him with nightmares, and Woolf masterfully conveys some of how that felt. Woolf tells his story as primarily one of trauma—his own trauma admittedly brief in comparison with that of those living in the war zone but nonetheless real.

Early in his reporting career, Woolf had considered serving as a foreign correspondent, so when the chance came to visit the BBC’s correspondent in Afghanistan and see what the job actually entailed, he took it, trusting that his experience in the army and in stressful situations would prepare him for what he faced. In his journey into Kabul, taking part in a caravan traveling to the rebel-held north of the country, and leaving the country after his visa expired, he was shot at, under artillery attack and nearly stranded on the wrong side of a pass when winter made it impassable. In between all of that, he also managed to take the photos which ably illustrate the text, and interview a Russian prisoner who converted to Islam and joined the Afghan forces.

Woolf is both gripping as he relates these tense stories and humble in his reflection on the heroism of the Afghans and various international aid workers and journalists he met. He describes many more unforgettable incidents than you might expect given the brief length of his time in the country. Readers looking for an exciting memoir about travel through Afghanistan or a look at how the trauma of continued danger can weigh on someone will find this a satisfying read.

Takeaway: Fans of travelogues or war stories, particularly of Afghanistan, will find this memoir compelling.

Great for fans of: Deborah Copaken's Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War, Carmen Gentile's Blindsided by the Taliban.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2021
  • 978-1-7375303-0-5 B09C3XXF42
  • 280 pages
  • $13.99
Paperback Details
  • 10/2021
  • 978-1-7375303-5-0
  • 280 pages
  • $17.99

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