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Half the Sky Audiobook

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

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Audible Editor Reviews

A 60-year-old rural Ethiopian villager seeking a second wife purchases 13-year-old Mahabouba for $10. Seven months pregnant by age 14, she flees savage whippings at home, running away to give birth alone. Labor lasts seven days. Mahabouba loses her baby, her pelvis rots; she can't control her bowels or bladder; she can't even walk or stand. Hyenas circle, lured by her blood. Then, Mahabouba, who is profoundly brave, crawls to a missionary one town over, inching forward on her arms. She lands at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and recovers there, at "puddle city", as the devoted, progressive staff fondly jokes, since patients drip urine all day long (floors are mopped many times hourly).

Pulitzer Prize-winning husband and wife journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn root out the barbaric injustices brutalizing Mahaboubas all across developing nations in Half the Sky, a magnificent, roaring abolitionists' plea to shoulder the burden of female oppression by empowering our fellow humankind. "This is a story of transformation," they urge.

Wife abuse; fistulas; sex slavery; honor killings; female genital mutilation (vaginal openings are sewn up with a wild thistle); illiteracy; sex-selective abortion; starvation; AIDS; and the epidemic of rape are among the hard, heavy contents of this book. Yet Half the Sky, as navigated by Kristof and WuDunn, transcends its narrative of despair with vivid, descriptive language and by balancing meticulous gumshoe reporting with intimate profiles in gender inequality. "What You Can Do" is the book's uplifting final chapter, ticking off immediate ways for listeners to connect with women in need.

Cassandra Campbell — whose low pitch and measured pacing lend dignity to the mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters whose horrors she's voicing — masterfully narrates Half the Sky. Campbell is a journalistic narrator, too much a pro to nuance her reading with shock or hysterical outrage. This restraint is most appreciated during exceptionally anguished confidences, as when Zoya Najabi of Kabul reveals her mother-in-law once shredded the soles of her feet with a stick "until they were like yogurt". —Nita Rao

Publisher's Summary

Two Pulitzer Prize winners expose the most pervasive human-rights violation of our era - the oppression of women in the developing world - and tell us what we can do about it.

An old Chinese proverb says, "Women hold up half the sky." Then why do the women of Africa and Asia persistently suffer human rights abuses?

Continuing their focus on humanitarian issues, journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take us to Africa and Asia, where many women live in profoundly dire circumstances....and some succeed against all odds.

A Cambodian teenager is sold into sex slavery; a formerly illiterate woman becomes a surgeon in Addis Ababa. An Ethiopian woman is left for dead after a difficult birth; a gang rape victim galvanizes the international community and creates schools in Pakistan. An Afghan wife is beaten by her husband and mother-in-law; a former Peace Corps volunteer founds an organization that educates and campaigns for women's rights in Senegal.

Through their powerful true stories, the authors show that the key to progress lies in unleashing women's potential, that change is possible, and that each of us can play a role in making it happen.

©2009 Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn; (P)2009 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"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." (Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Rebecca Gardner 07-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A most impactful book! A must read!!"

    Such thorough research on all aspects of women oppression including many stories of individual women!! I consider myself well informed on the topic yet I was shocked by the information. At times I had tears streaming down my face as I listened. It was told objectively without exaggeration. Thankfully it included many positive accounts of people addressing the problems as well as what I could do immediately to create an impact. All humans should read this book and take action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan Headley Ca 06-30-17
    Jordan Headley Ca 06-30-17 Member Since 2017

    jordan

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    "A must read for every human!"

    This is an amazing book! Every human being should read this book and take action. I am going to loan money on Kiva in hopes I too can make a difference for women. we deserve at least half the sky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridget Farrell 06-01-17
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    "Great book, terrible narration"

    Great content, very moving story but the narration is just awful. So monotone. Such a shame for such an important subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-25-17
    05-25-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Some of my favorite authors"

    I have read Kristoff and WuDunns A Path Appears in the past and I am just a fan of their work. Some of the real life accounts in this book are a little hard for my heart to handle but this book is definitely a sign of hope and a call to action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi VAIL, AZ, United States 04-16-17
    Heidi VAIL, AZ, United States 04-16-17 Member Since 2011
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    "This book will change your life"

    Astonishing, heart breaking, moving. This book enlightens the reader of the trials that women and girls endure. I DARE you to read this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-12-17
    04-12-17
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    "Audio book does NOT follow along with paperback book."

    Audio book has all the content however it's divided by 8 chapters. There are actually 14 chapters in the book. The 8 chapters randomly cut off in the middle of the sentence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wallace 03-10-17
    Wallace 03-10-17
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    "Hard to hear, but so valuable! Highly recommend!"
    If you could sum up Half the Sky in three words, what would they be?

    Womens key: education


    What does Cassandra Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She keeps reading when it is hard to hear. Reading myself would have caused me to close the pages on multiple occasions due to the emotions it wrought on me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shaunanah 02-21-17
    shaunanah 02-21-17 Member Since 2012
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    "A must read!"

    This is an amazing book and opinions are well balanced and will researched. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested issues around the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cynthia 02-06-17
    cynthia 02-06-17
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    "Necessary Read"

    It's a hard read at points but definitely something I wish I had been subjected to earlier. They don't sugarcoat events. Be prepared but spread the word. Education is empowerment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dalia Salloum 01-06-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Thank you"

    Excellent and inspiring. Although I was quite informed on many issues addressed, the writers did a wonderful job of wrapping them around humanity and education. I also thoroughly enjoyed the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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