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Come Back to Afghanistan by Said Hyder Akbar, Susan Burton

Come Back to Afghanistan

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When he was 17, post 9/11, Said's father returned to Afgahistan as the new president's chief spokesman. The boy had never visited his homeland. Here he gives a fresh, candid appraidal of all aspects of the country. Much praised.

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Come Back to Afghanistan by Said Hyder Akbar, Susan Burton

Said Hyder Akbar’s ordinary suburban Californian life was turned upside-down after September 11th. Hyder’s father, a scion of an Afghan political family, left for Afghanistan to become the new president’s chief spokesman and later the governor of Kunar, a rural province. Obsessed since childhood with a country he had never visited, seventeen-year-old Hyder convinced his father to let him join him. Working alongside his father at the presidential palace and in Kunar gave Hyder a unique perspective on the creation of democratic government in Afghanistan.

In Come Back to Afghanistan, Hyder interweaves his personal journey — that of a teenager struggling to find his identity in his parents’ homeland — with his travels, which take him from palaces to prisons and from Kabul to the borderlands, to give a dramatic account of political and civilian life in post-Taliban Afghanistan.


'Hyder Akbar is so engaging, so funny, so different from everyone else who normally reports on this kind of story, that Come Back to Afghanistan is irresistible ... He takes us to a place most of us would normally dread reading about, and by the end we really care very badly about what will happen next in Afghanistan. That's a rare and special thing'
Ira Glass, host of This American Life

'An exceedingly, commendably unique eyewitness account of a country in transition, told by a charming young narrator'
Publishers Weekly

'Straddling cultures, Akbar presents an intimate portrait of a nation at a crossroads'
Conde Nast Traveller

'Raw, honest and unnerving, the book is a grim reminder of Afghanistan's ongoing political struggles'
USA Today

About the Author

Said Hyder Akbar is currently a college student. He is also the co-director and founder of his own non-governmental organisation, Wadan Afghanistan, which has rebuilt schools and constructed pipe systems in rural Kunar province.

Susan Burton is a contributing editor of This American Life, and a former editor at Harper’s. Her writing appears in the New York Times Magazine.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2006


Said Hyder Akbar, Susan Burton

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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc


432 pages


Biography / Autobiography
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Travel writing



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