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Masha Hamilton worked as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press for five years in the Middle East, where she covered the intefadeh, the peace process and the partial Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Then she spent five years in Moscow, where she was a Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a newspaper column, "Postcard from Moscow," that ran in about 35 U.S. newspapers, and reported for NBC/Mutual Radio. She wrote about Kremlin politics as well as life for average Russians under Gorbachev and Yeltsin during the coup and collapse of the Soviet Union. She traveled to Afghanistan in the spring of 2004 as a freelance journalist to interview women in prison, child brides and war widows and report on the country's reconstruction efforts.
An idealistic American girl is swept up in the passion of taking the written word to the African tribes of Kenya, and joins a mobile library scheme. We are introduced to each important character chapter by chapter. Simple stories unfold, some full of ancient lore, some full of longing, some with just contented people once happy with their lot, now bewildered. Initially I thought this had the easy charm of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana series but then it turned into something a great deal deeper as the argument for and against educating a semi-nomadic tribe and introducing them to Western ideas developed. It is an impressive tale, simply told and highly recommended. Comparison: Alexander McCall Smith, Tony Hillerman, Marilyn Heward Mills.