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Publisher's Summary

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope. 

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.  

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty. 

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential listening for every global citizen.

©2019 Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This book isn't a sermon.... These stories are electrifying and have the effect of breaking down this enormous problem into segments the reader can focus on. Suddenly, these horrendous problems begin to seem solvable.... Again, this book is not a sermon about victims. Its range is wide, and sometimes it's even funny...Half the Sky is a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue. It does so with exquisitely crafted prose and sensationally interesting material...I really do think this is one of the most important books I have ever reviewed.” (Carolyn See, The Washington Post)

“If you have always wondered whether you can change the world, read this book. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have written a brilliant call to arms that describes one of the transcendent injustices in the world today - the brutal treatment of women. They take you to many countries, introduce you to extraordinary women, and tell you their moving tales.  Throughout, the tone is practical not preachy and the book’s suggestions as to how you can make a difference are simple, sensible, and yet powerful. The authors vividly describe a terrible reality about the world we live in but they also provide light and hope that we can, in fact, change it.” (Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World

“The stories that Kristof and WuDunn share are as powerful as they are heartbreaking. Their insight into gender issues and the role of women in development inspires hope, optimism, and most importantly, the will to change. Both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action, this book should be read by all.” (Melinda Gates) 

What listeners say about Half the Sky

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Life changing

This book touched me deeply. It is eye opening to listen to real stories from real people. To hear whole statistics as well as specific stories. I really liked how it kept such a formal view of each situation. The stories were not blown up with verbiage meant to pull at your heart because the factual stories themselves do that all on their own. And to see that there are programs that are more effective and less effective and why is important. This book has made me feel like I can do something about the problems and know that what I am able to do can be effective. Thank you for writing this important book Mr. Kristof. I will be sharing it with others.

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Very strong

If you are familiar with any suffering in your life at the hands of an abuser this book is not for you. I could not finish it. I woke up mental distress in my life.

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A valuable and educational book...

Valuable and hard stories concerning the treatment of women and girls around the world.