Sarah Chayes never ceases to impress with the breadth of her understanding of her adopted country, Afghanistan. The Punishment of Virtue is dense with its descriptions of Afghan history and politics, but valuable as a guide to anyone interested in the region.
I really enjoyed Three Cups of Tea, although at times I thought the writing was sloppy and the reader was a bit too animated for my taste. I found the reading annoying, especially his emphasis on certain words, like Pakistan, which he insists of pronouncing "Pak-eeeee-stahn" at each opportunity. I think the reader really detracted from Greg Mortentson's impressive story of how a moneyless climber found a way to build a school in a remote village in the Baltistan region of Pakistan.
For those of us who missed the depression years, "The Worst Hard Times" tells us the story of the Dustbowl years through the stories of those who remembered. The few historical photographs from that era fail to describe the harrowing storms, suffering, and strength of those who lived through the "Dirty Thirties". Egan's storytelling skills are impressive. Well told, well read and definitely recommended.
The story of Hannah, a revolutionary activist in The Weather Underground who flees to Liberia only to get involved in Charles Taylor's revolution and then watch it sour was riveting from start to finish. Unforgettable. Russell Banks does it again.
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