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Afghanistan 101: Understanding Afghan Culture Paperback – January 4, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

r. Entezar received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, his MA from Columbia University Teachers College in New York City, and his BA from Kabul University. He has taught at Kabul University and the University of Imam Ibn Saud, Riyadh, Saudi A
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris (January 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425792820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425792824
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Michael M. T. Henderson on May 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
My wife and I read this book with interest, since we had spent several years in Afghanistan in the 1960's. and because we (believe) we were in graduate school with the author.

While the book does provide some interesting information, it suffers from two deficits: (1) it badly needs to be edited by a native English speaker, preferably one who has editing experience AND has been to or at least knows something about Afghanistan. (2) Dr. Entezar, who was apparently not in the country when the Taliban were in charge, seems not to have done a lot of research when he returned for his short visit in this century. The Taliban had a profound effect on the country, and is still making itself felt in Pakistan and over the border. Gone are the days when we could fearlessly drive through the Khyber pass to Peshawar and stay at Dean's Hotel while visiting the Commissary at the USAF base to buy needed things unavailable in Kabul. Now, the only safe way through would be in an armored minesweeper.
We are hoping, without a great deal of optimism, that the coming elections are not only free, open, and fair, but also that President Karzai is reelected to keep his country on the road to peace.
I would recommend Afghanistan 101 only to people who knew Afghanistan well, or who had access to more up-to-date facts about the country.

Michael M. T. Henderson
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics
University of Kansas
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Leicadave on August 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This should be read by all military personnel and anyone interested in understanding a very different culture on its own terms. It helps you understand the real differences of US and Afghan culture and how these differences can be understood and bridged.

An important book which benefits from Entezar's long exposure to both cultures as a resident and teacher.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Cook on July 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased this book when I found out I was on my way to Afghanistan. I wanted to understand the culture and way people think before I got here. I was sent to Afghanistan on a mission to train the afghan military and police. This book is a must read for anybody in this type of position. It is almost as if this book was written specifically for my mission. I highly recommend this book for anybody interested in why people are the way they are and how to perceive the Afghan way.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vieuxblue on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Entezar's book is a delightful introduction, with many contemporary examples, to Afghan culture and its implications for those working with Afghans, or offering programs for Afghans. His experience teaching Afghan language and culture to Peace Corps Volunteers, diplomats, and soldiers makes this book a fascinating read with illustrations that come alive to the reader.

It should be read by every policy maker, aid worker and soldier who is preparing to travel and live in Afghanistan. One cannot understand, assist, and positively influence Afghans without understanding their culture.

A native of Afghanistan, Dr. Entezar returned to his native country and continued his research over the past 30 years.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Albert L Brewster on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was called to Kabul Afghanistan last August 2012 in response to the Green on Blue murders of 3 of our Border Management Task Force contractors. After 26 years in the military I've seen plenty of war torn countries but this trip to Afghanistan sent me on a mission to better understand what was obviously an extraordinarily complex and mutifaceted culture. To do this I selected both the excellent history by Thomas Barfield (also reviewed here) and this more contemporary view of Ehsan M. Entezar. For me it took both books, each unique in their perspective, to capture a satisfactory understanding of the ethnic, religious, tribal and political forces at work in Afghanistan. By it self Barfield provides a superb history. Entezar provides very practical insight into every day Afghan culture and is the minimum must read for the western visitor. Together, these two books will serve you well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rahmani on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Afghanistan: A Collection of Stories

This book provides better information than any other book related in Afghan culture. Actually, from an Afghan point of view I can say that this book provides cultural information on Afghanistan even better than any Afghan author in the industry.
Thank you for the great book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fair introduction to Afghan culture and interpersonal dynamics. Afghanistan 101 is a mash up of academic study and analysis, personal anecdotes, and a practical tips aimed at non-Afghans who plan to work in Afghanistan. The academics are good but pretty light ('though well referenced, so a motivated person could do a fair amount of follow up, should they choose to); the personal anecdotes are enlightening and well done; and the tips, while not always on the mark, are pretty good. The "Food for Thought" sections at the end of each chapter are easily ignored if reading for your own education but my be useful if the book id part of a larger course.

I give the book a soft recommendation but would not, despite the title, recommend it as a first book on Afghanstan. Any of Tamin Ansary's works would be good for giving a person an initial 'feel' for Afghan culture. I'd follow that up with Thomas Barfield's very readable history of Afghanistan and then open up Afghanistan 101.
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