- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Opium Season is the story of a young American working on the brutal fault line where the war on terror meets the war on drugs. Joel Hafvenstein didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up for a year in Afghanistan’s rugged Helmand Province, the heart of the country’s opium trade. He was running an American-funded aid program with two goals: to help tens of thousands of opium poppy farmers make a legal living, and to win hearts and minds away from the former Taliban government.
The author and his friends were soon caught up in the deadly intrigues of Helmand’s drug trafficking warlords. He found himself dodging Taliban in poppy-filled mountain ravines and arguing with murderous, AK-47 toting bandits in police uniform. He saw both the stark beauty and the terrible cruelty that Afghans live with every day. At the height of his team’s success, the Taliban attacked, killing his colleagues and destroying their work. These ambushes heralded a Taliban resurgence across the country; they also showed the weaknesses in America’s strategy that continue to undermine every American accomplishment in Afghanistan.
This is a riveting story of intrigue, adventure, and tragedy at the far edge of the world. In the tradition of The Places In Between and The Kite Runner, Opium Season examines the odyssey of an American chasing a seemingly impossible goal in the midst of chaos and describes this shattered, beautiful country and its deeply divided people.
Reading "Opium Season" for a class on drug policy, I was struck with the discrepancy inherent in living in Afghanistan at the period that Hafvenstein did. Read morePublished on July 7, 2011 by S. Robison
This book gave me goose bumps! I spent a year as a Medical Officer assigned to the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) during the period that Mr. Read morePublished on January 28, 2011 by Robert H. Truax Jr.
I read this book last summer and immediately afterwards read "Three Cups of Tea" from Greg Mortenson.
I have to say that I found Opium Season a much better book! Read more
Vivid, passionate writing.
Reveals through personal experience, the complexity of Afghan culture and the failing of US foreign policy.
Joel Hafvenstein provides a detailed account of a year in Afghanistan trying to provide wage work for farmers who would otherwise certainly be growing opium poppies. Read morePublished on February 9, 2008 by Katherine Jensen
Reading the Opium Season felt like reading a first-rate adventure novel starring a particularly likeable and honest protagonist. Read morePublished on January 21, 2008 by Matthew Adam
Immensely readable and impressively honest. This is a great way to learn about Afghanistan's tortured history and what aid work actually involves on the ground. Read morePublished on January 5, 2008 by alex partridge
Although it probably wasn't intentional on the authors part, the main point I took away from the book was the general incompetence of American bureaucracy when it comes to dealing... Read morePublished on December 26, 2007 by A. MacCabe