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However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph Paperback – May 6, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062132792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062132796
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Molly Melching saw a deeply disturbing but deeply entrenched practice and refused to accept that it couldn’t be stopped. Her relentless efforts are proof that commitment and partnership can drive transformational change.” (Hillary Rodham Clinton)

“Melching’s incredible journey from Illinois to Africa, from graduate student to great humanitarian, is paralleled by the journey of the countless women touched by her work: a journey to understanding, empowerment and human dignity.” (Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

“The story of Molly Melching and Tostan proves that determined and loving individuals can accomplish the seemingly impossible--abandonment of a harmful tradition that is thousands of years old.” (Former President Jimmy Carter)

“ There is no way to overestimate the gift that Tostan and its leader, Molly Melching, have given to the world. The amount of suffering they have alleviated is beyond anything we can gauge. What a story, what a power, and what a blessing.” (Marianne Williamson, New York Times bestselling author)

“Molloy offers a moving account of one woman’s struggle to empower African women and challenge tradition…Reading like a novel, this book demonstrates the power of education and grassroots organizing.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Melching’s transformation from Midwestern college graduate to thrill-seeking international crusader makes for compelling reading…Molloy has a reporter’s knack for selecting and arranging the most salient details of Melching’s experiences, and the resulting story is moving and memorable…Uplifting and inspirational.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“This is the story of an extraordinary woman: Molly Melching. Molly has worked in Senegalese communities to improve lives of the country’s poorest people. . . . This book reinforced my belief that developing communities already have the potential to spark change that will lead to better lives for themselves and their families.” (Melinda Gates)

From the Back Cover

In 1974, American exchange student Molly Melching arrived in Senegal for a six-month program that would become a forty-year journey of transformation. Inspired by her experiences living in a remote village, she founded Tostan, an organization dedicated to empowering communities by using democracy and human-rights-based education to promote relationships built upon dignity, equality, and respect.

Tostan's groundbreaking strategies have led to better education for the women of rural Africa, improved health care, a decrease in child/forced marriage, and declarations by thousands of African communities to abandon the practice of female genital cutting. However Long the Night is the story of how Melching, named by Newsweek and the Daily Beast as one of the "150 women who shake the world," is paving the way to a world with human dignity for all.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful, inspiring story.
Susan Smith
I was familiar with Tostan, the NGO Molly Melching founded, before picking up the book.
JHC
It is so well written and so interesting.
kevin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Collins on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My earlier book review in April 2013 of this book hard cover edition remains totally relevant and even more accurate as this remarkable woman and her efforts for women's rights and thus improved rights for their families have since evolved.

As I said then, "Finally, finally, finally this remarkable woman's story appears in book form.

Having been a personal observer of her programs in Senegal with my wife on two separate occasions, it was evident to me, as a long time activist in trying to help women improve their lot in life, that Melching had embarked on a life journey to put her innovative views to work.

For a Mid Western American Caucasian woman to make this journey will give readers of every political, personal and ethnic persuasion a glorious glimpse at what an open mind, a generous heart and enormous empathy can accomplish.

A trait so evident in my numerous personal contacts with Molly has been her constant willingness to shower the main credit for any advance in this unique program on other people.

Thus I am particularly surprised and very pleased that author Aimee Molloy and Harper One, a division of Random House, have boldly chosen to tell the story of the substantial curbing of this difficult, long embedded cultural practice. Known as female genital cutting (FGC), the book discloses a heartening story which finally can be one about substantial success, not ineffective finger pointing by outsiders that characterized FGC descriptions for years.

Therein hangs the key to understanding TOSTAN's success.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By shelfishness on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It has been a long time since I have been so moved by a book. Aimee Molloy's However Long the Night is a powerful biography focusing on the tireless efforts of Molly Melching who has worked for decades in Senegal to educate and improve the lives of the women and children of villages across the nation.
Melching originally traveled to Senegal as part of a graduate program study abroad, and was looking forward to learning about the culture and people. What she hadn't planned on was the cancellation of the program. After convincing the university to allow her to study, Melching couldn't help but fall in love with all that Senegal offered. Rather than returning home, however, Melching extends her stay and secures a position as an Peace Corps employee. She starts a school to teach the local children, focusing on them reading stories that reflect their own culture and language, rather than stories of European children who share little with their Senegalese peers. This venture quickly leads to another and before Melching knows it, she has embedded herself into the Senegal culture, learned the language, and established an NGO named Tostan to help educate the women and children of the nation. While she set out to improve the quality of life, it becomes apparent that one issue needs attention - that of FGC (female genital cutting). Remarkably, after much effort, and devoted educational efforts Melching and the women of the villages begin to notice a change in the FGC tradition. The women feel empowered, and slowly begin to convince others that a change is needed.
This powerful book is inspiring, engaging, and insightful. I read it in one sitting, fascinated that I had gone so long knowing so little about Melching and the FGC crisis in Senegal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's amazing to me that one woman could initiate such a radical change in basic human rights, specifically the rights of women. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd never read anything about female cutting. It was hard for me as an American woman to believe that this practice was even taking place in my lifetime. I recommend this book to women as well as men. It's a story of perserverance, empowerment, and basic human rights.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Samir Sobhy on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Molly Melching will be counted as one of those important world women whose life and work made a great difference in improving the living conditions and future of millions of people. She is comparable to Mary Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, etc. Her commitment, dedication, determination, and relentlessness allowed her to face and over come various sorts of odds and obstacles in order to secure better life and health to Senegalese girls and women, then extend the target to other African girls and women. Hers, is not only a success story of commitment and courage, but also of love for her fellow-humans. It is because of her care for Senegal and its population, a country and a people she immediately fell in love with on her arrival, that she dedicated her life to serve them.
Aimee Molloy's book succeeds remarkably in conveying the outstanding personality and character of Molly Melching, along with her sensitive feelings, ambitions, effervescence, wit, humor, courage, determination, and fearlessness!
As mentioned in the review by the Publishers Weekly, the book reads like an engaging novel, thanks to the very clever reconstruction by Molloy of thoughts and conversations among the main 'protagonists' of Meclhing's 'journey', and the events which took place during her young years as a child then a teenager, and after her arrival in Senegal in the 70s.
Another remarkable feature of the book is Molloy's amazingly clear understanding of Senegalese culture, traditions, sensitivities, and taboos. It didn't take her more than a year to reach such clear vision of a country and a society so drastically different from her own. Obviously, Melching must have been the one who helped to introduce her to the complexity and subtlety of African/Senegalese culture.
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