From Publishers Weekly
This elegant narrative chronicles the lives of four women who experienced elation, hope and disappointment following the American invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam in 2003. Two Iraqi sisters glimpse a new life following years of oppression: Zia is fluent in English and obtains a job inside the Green Zone working for the Americans; Nunu, the younger and more timid sister, struggles to complete college in the increasingly dangerous urban environment. Asquith (The Emergency Teacher
) deftly details the arduousness of establishing women's centers and getting women elected to office through her profile of Heather, once a wonky bureaucrat turned U.S. Army reservist, who must confront sexism within both the U.S. military and the unfamiliar Muslim culture. Lastly is Manal, a women's rights and antiwar activist born in America of Palestinian parents, who struggles to put aside her politics in the interests of helping Iraqi women succeed with the establishment of women's centers. Deftly chronicled by Asquith, who spent two years in Baghdad reporting from the front lines, this informative narrative offers readers a seldom heard female perspective into the everyday lives, struggles, disappointments and triumphs of four women during this chaotic and dangerous time. (Oct.)
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“A rare, beautifully written insight into the haunting ways in which women have been affected by the conflict.”
– The Financial Times
“Sisters in War is a brilliant, powerful and convincing story of three women from the same Iraqi family. . .It is not only a story of women fighting for their liberated lifestyles. It is a story of Islamic traditions, religion, politics and power versus American lifestyle, American power and American belief.”
-The Feminist Review “Few books capture the complexity and diversity of Muslim women and the varying views on their place in Islam as Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family, and Survival in the New Iraq by journalist Christina Asquith. A true page-turner."
“Journalist Asquith went into hiding with a Baghdadi family she had befriended, and investigated what life meant for Iraqi women. She also immersed herself in the lives of a few Americans who remained there, devoted to creating at least small solutions to the massive problems of local women, both new and historical. Sisters in War is the formidable fruit of her reporting."– Slate Asquith has won admiration from many feminists and Iraqi activists for exposing this struggle. Her resounding message is that a country committed to ensuring the needs, success and prosperity of women is a country worth fighting for.”
– Roll Call
“Christina Asquith has written a brilliant book, extraordinary in concept and execution, the most intimate and moving portrait I have read of the early American disaster in Iraq. It is a shifting and powerful portrait of disillusionment seen through the hopeful eyes of American and Iraqi women colliding with the hard realities of religion, politics, power, and morality in a traditional society. Sometimes, to see a thing fresh, we need to look at it from a different vantage. Asquith’s young women, from the courageous and committed American feminists to their Iraqi counterparts, who must cope with cultural constraints their new Western friends can hardly imagine, are all victims of the criminal arrogance and naïveté of the U.S. occupation. This is a work of reporting and writing that will last.”—Mark Bowden
, author of Black Hawk Down
“Christina Asquith’s description of the wild incompetence–and dedication– of early American efforts in Iraq reads like a great novel but with the added weight of history. And her focus on women, both American and Iraqi, makes this book uniquely valuable among the many on this long war. Asquith is a fine writer and, clearly, a very brave reporter. She has filled in several crucial pieces of the Iraq puzzle, and done it beautifully.”—Sebastian Junger
, author of
The Perfect Storm