An American Bride in Kabul

An American Bride in Kabul

A Memoir

Book - 2013
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Few westerners will ever be able to understand Muslim or Afghan society unless they are part of a Muslim family. Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on an adventure that has lasted for more than a half-century. In 1961, when she arrived in Kabul with her Afghan bridegroom, authorities took away her American passport. Chesler was now the property of her husband's family and had no rights of citizenship. Back in Afghanistan, her husband,a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country, reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family's attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth. Drawing upon her personal diaries, Chesler recounts her ordeal, the nature of gender apartheid--and her longing to explore this beautiful, ancient, and exotic country and culture. Chesler nearly died there but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women's rights throughout the world. An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Palgrave Macmillan,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780230342217
Branch Call Number: BIO CHESLER P. Chesler 10/2013
Characteristics: xiii, 235 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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Jul 08, 2014

This book delves into such interesting content, it's a shame the story isn't better told. Chesler retells being a wife in Afghanistan and what it was like, yet that part of the story ends quite quickly and as others have said she then tells this fragmented, somewhat rambling story about women's rights. It reads like a college essay with tons of quotes and excerpts from other people's works. Didn't love it.

ChristchurchLib Jan 22, 2014

"A crusader for women's and human rights shares her experiences in 1961 as the wife of an Afghan college student, who, once back in Afghanistan, reverted to traditional and tribal customs, trapping her in a posh polygamous family." Biography and Memoir January 2014 newsletter

JanetReinh Jan 12, 2014

Rambling story by a naïve author who spent more time referencing other books and authors than writing her own story. She might be book smart but really street dumb, esp in keeping in touch with her ex. Waste of time and paper

Dec 30, 2013

I was disappointed in this book, its rambling style, repetitious anecdotes and overuse of sections of works by other authors.

Her experience as part of a harem in Afghanistan is familiar to those who read the news since 9/11. What was different is that she escaped, how she managed her escape and how it influenced her future path..

M. White
Dec. 29, 2013

Dec 04, 2013

Yikes, glad this lady survived her experience. I don't like the rambling style of the book. Huge chunks of it are repeating others' work. I would have preferred to read more about her own experience... or maybe I couldn't handle more of that too. Also I cannot understand why she would maintain any type of friendship or pride as being her ex-husband's 1st wife. The guy starved, raped and almost let her die of hepatitis or something.


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