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The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future Hardcover – January 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Fawzia Koofi 'One of the country's most outspoken democracy activists ... Koofi describes unflinchingly the wreckage she witnessed at the hands of Afghans of all ideologies and clans.' - The Globe and Mail 'The spellbinding story refocuses the attention of a desensitized world on Afghanistan's potential and future.' - The Global Journal

About the Author

Fawzia Koofi is Afghanistan's first female Parliament speaker and a noted activist for women and children's rights. She is currently a leading candidate for the presidential elections in 2014 and has been quoted by the BBC, Time, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Globe and Mail, and many others. Koofi was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009. Before getting elected to Parliament, Koofi was employed by UNICEF as a child protection officer from 2002 through 2004. The mother of two girls, she lives in Kabul.Nadene Ghouriis an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. She is a former correspondent of both the BBC and Al Jazeera English


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230120679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230120679
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 94 people found the following review helpful By janetruth on January 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading two to four books a month for two decades and my favorite genre is memoir. But The Favored Daughter, One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future has now become my favorite book of all the memoirs I have read. I received this book as a winner in Goodreads and no payment has been made for this review. I know little about the daily life of an Afghanistan woman despite all the publicity since America has been fighting the Taliban and I have to give this book a full five stars.

I don't know exactly where to begin to describe how this book touched my heart. It wasn't just a book about the hardships of a woman in Afghanistan. It was a book about family values, a country's dearest culture, a mother's love for her daughters, a wife's love for her husband, and the indominatable spirit of a woman who believes under all hardships that helping people is better than doing anything else with one's life. Fawzia Koofi's accomplishments, despite and because of her daily challenges which were life and death, will change your thinking about your own life and circumstances.

I was riveted to the words and messages in this book and the power of Fawzia Koofi's story will last with me forever. Her words and testament to how she lives her life should be read by everyone. Today American girls are too interested in being skinny and each one of them should read The Favored Daughter. If nothing else it will show them what they do not have to conquer because America has already given them the advantages to become whatever is in their hearts. This is a most powerful book. The sentences are rich and tight with action and suspense, heartache and heartwarming scenes.

Truly, I could write a book about how this book opened my heart and renewed my own spirit. It centered me in my own values and I will probably read it again as it also teaches much more about the Afghanistan culture than the American media.

This is definitely a must read.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rudert on February 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On my recent flight back to Kabul from Istanbul I just happened to sit next to Fawzia Koofi and enjoyed conversing with her. I also just happened to see her the night before on BBC's Hard Talk. Upon my return to Kabul I immediately downloaded her book on my Kindle and devoured it in 2 days. This is not just another book about how bad women are treated in Afghanistan. Her Chapter 20 is a must read for anyone interested in Afghanistan's future. She talks about her vision for the future of Afghanistan and the current "political malnourishment" of Afghanistan and lack of social capital that results in the typical Afghan only concerned about the welfare of his immediate family and not the country. She points out that Afghans are most concerned about governance and security. If these two issues can be addressed than social capital development should ensue. Access to education, especially for girls, is key in Fawzia's opinion to changing traditional treatment of women. Fawzia does not advocate for a secular Afghanistan, she firmly believes in the concept of an islamic democracy governed by the true teachings of the Koran.

Fawzia comes from one of the most unique, remote, and beautiful parts of Afghanistan. Her book regales the reader with information on what life is like there. Bear in mind that Afghanistan has more species of cats, such as snow leopards, than Africa with many of them endemic to her Badakshan.

There are many dark forces against people like Fawzia. Unfortunately non-Afghans are limited in the extent that they can help the Fawzia type change agents of the country. Ultimately outside influences need to leave Afghanistan alone and let Afghans work out their differences and decide the future of their country.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Aisha Jill Morgan on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a Muslim I am grateful to Fawzia Koofi to have expressed the strength and ease I find in Islam in a book that is relevant and accessible to readers beyond those who read religious texts. Describing the kindness of others in extreme adversity, she writes, "Even though they didn't have much for themselves they still gave what little they could. This is what it means to be a true Muslim." Clarifying the essence of Islamic modesty, regardless of cultural or governmental dictates, she writes, "Covering the hair with a head scarf and wearing a long loose tunic that covers one's arms, chest and bottom is enough to satisfy the Islamic rule of being modest before God." Her vivid and horrifying stories of Taliban rule support my opinion of "how much the Taliban had damaged Islam." Above all, Fawzia Koofi gives voice to the dignity and respect Muslim girls and women are due within the tenets of the religion. Yes, many people will credit Islam with allowing the father to beat the wife, and I think the author makes it clear that her father's actions were a cultural practice well beyond what the Qur'an condones. May God bless her and keep Fawzia Koofi strong in her faith and good health. She is a voice of moderation in Islam and a sensible interpreter of living a productive, active life in the modern world as an observant Muslim.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Raye on May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Fawzia's story is an inspiration for women everywhere but especially in Afghanistan. The life of Fawzia Koofi stands out. Unfortunately, the book does not. I am not rating Fawzia with my 3 stars. I am rating the book.

THE FAVORED DAUGHTER is a short and somewhat simplistic read. The events in the book often felt glossed over, the attempts at imparting emotion stilted and there was a general sense of disassociation. This could be explained, of course, by the vast cultural divide between myself, a Western reader, and Fawzia. However, there are timeline conflicts and continuity issues that an editor should have had clarified and by not doing so it felt as if the editor handled the story with kid gloves, as did Fawzia herself. This book was a surface telling of events.

One timeline issue involved Fawzia's brother Muqim, who, according to Fawzia, was two years older than her (page 25). However, she says he died at the age of 23 (64) when Fawzia was still a teenager, about age 16. Another problem was Muqim's death, which was a premeditated murder (assassin had to wait until bodyguards were dismissed, sneak in and then shot him to death while he slept, stealing nothing in the process). Yet Fawzia romanticized her brother and never delves into the likely shadiness of her brother's life. His murder is summed up as something "we simply didn't have any answers" to (67). This is strange considering her other brother is a Police General, was the one to dismiss the bodyguards when he normally doesn't do that, and was in the house at the time of the murder. Maybe I'm being cynical, but there is much more to that story than Fawzia acknowledges (or perhaps was told?).

Furthermore, another glossed over story is how Fawzia is elected to Deputy Speaker.
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