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The Taliban Shuffle Audiobook

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Publisher's Summary

Now a Major Motion Picture titled Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, and Billy Bob Thornton.

From tea with warlords in the countryside to parties with drunken foreign correspondents in the "dry" city of Kabul, journalist Kim Barker captures the humor and heartbreak of life in post-9/11 Afghanistan and Pakistan in this profound and darkly comic memoir. As Barker grows from awkward newbie to seasoned reporter, she offers an insider’s account of the region’s "forgotten war" at a time when all eyes were turned to Iraq. Candid, self-deprecating, and laugh-out-loud funny, Barker shares both her affection for the absurdities of these two hapless countries and her fear for their future stability.

©2011 Kim Barker (P)2011 Random House

What the Critics Say

“Read this and try not to hurt yourself laughing. Who knew war could be so funny? The Taliban Shuffle isn’t like any other book out there about Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s witty, brilliant, and impossible to put down. Think P. J. O’Rourke meets Paul Theroux. Kim Barker is a gifted storyteller, and her intrepid, sometimes wacky travels through these two strife-torn nations will leave you informed, amused, and—depending on your sense of adventure—wanting to tag along on her next trip.” (Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone)

The Taliban Shuffle is Scoop meets Dispatches, remixed with a 21-century Bollywood soundtrack. Laugh-out-loud funny, it is the true story of what it is like to be a female journalist in one of the world's most exotic war zones, while telling the reader much about what is really going on today in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” (Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden and The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda)

“Yes, there are bombs. And there is carnage. And all sorts of mayhem. But mostly there are people, human beings even, with appetites—for life, for adventure, for riches, for love. Ms. Barker offers this world—the human world caught in the crosshairs of history—with a vitality rarely seen in accounts of the war. A compelling read that offers readers a glimpse of the goings-on behind the byline.” (J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Sue Wellington, Australia 09-01-12
    Sue Wellington, Australia 09-01-12
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    "Warring Your Way to Peace Does Not Work"

    War is not the answer was the overwhelming message I took from "The Taliban Shuffle". Through her personal experiences as a correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kim Barker gives a vivid account of the real situation there.

    In one Afghan village Barker visited, the US army was about to withdraw, having trained the local people. There were two broken Humvies, with no equipment or knowledge to repair them. There was not even a pen. This is just one of the many stories which illustrates the shambles the coalition will leave behind when they withdraw.

    Listening, I could taste the dust my mouth, feel my backside being pinched and be horrified by the senseless violence taking place.

    Through all of this, Barker managed to make me laugh. But then, tragedy and comedy can be very closely associated.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erika Shaffer Seattle, WA 07-17-16
    Erika Shaffer Seattle, WA 07-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Such an interesting story!"

    This is a great combo of education and entertainment. I really enjoyed this book. Was funny listening to Kristen potter whose voice I associate with station 11 tell the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne LS 04-03-16
    Anne LS 04-03-16
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    "Geek 4 News & History finds same"

    Kim Barker is well-documented, well-researched, well-written and is quite funny to read/listen to to boot!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie D. 03-21-16
    Maggie D. 03-21-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Fascinating!"

    This was a very interesting memoir of this woman's experiences in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has helped me to understand why there seems to be unending chaos in that part of the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanna 03-10-16
    Joanna 03-10-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic story"
    If you could sum up The Taliban Shuffle in three words, what would they be?

    Self-deprecating, authentic, engaging


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The story behind the story - the layers of information Barker is able to provide about events we all witnessed in real time was astonishing


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely, I just wanted it to last longer!


    Any additional comments?

    This has been adapted into the new movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which is what prompted me to read the book. I absolutely adored it. I'm a former journalist (small, weekly paper), a military spouse, a political junkie, a lover of women's stories of their own experiences and this hit every button. It's incredibly compelling to hear Barker's observations on Afghanistan from her early days to when she eventually left and how her views evolved and changed and then also, stayed the same. She's very self-aware, not afraid to call out her own privilege, inherent biases and missteps and her deep love for Afghanistan and the people there is abundantly clear. Would highly recommend to anyone - in fact, I did just that to two other friends as well!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 03-26-11
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 03-26-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Great Stuff"

    I enjoyed every minute of this audio book. It gives a feeling that you're getting the 'real' story about the wars and lives in Afghanistan. Yes, there is humor. But Kim certainly is not diminishing the seriousness of the issue in any way. I would say the humor of some of the situations reflects the reality of life which is too often focused on the fighting and not nearly enough on how we (U.S.) are affecting life where our military goes.

    Thanks Kim. Great work.

    Chris Reich

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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    Stephanie C. 08-31-17
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    "Excellent perspective from a variety of viewpoints..."

    I started this book while jumping hoops to get to Afghanistan and then didn't finish until I'd been here a few months. Kim's insights have been both helpful and funny as I learn to navigate this world. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys honest stories of living cross culturally and to anyone who wants to understand life under war in this region.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Anna Moreno 04-29-16
    Anna Moreno 04-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "The narrator has the most annoying voice ever"

    Narrator has awful voice. She always sounds like it is a great chore for her to talk

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allen 04-13-16
    Allen 04-13-16
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    "Better than the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"

    As much as I enjoy Tina Fey, the movie "based on" The Taliban Shuffle is an entirely different story than Kim Barker's fascinating and detailed true story of being a reporter in Afghanistan for several years. There is neither the Margot Robbie character nor Billy Bob Thornton's General. Even the title makes no sense. (I had to explain the military phonetic alphabet to my adult sister.) I urge you to read / listen to The Taliban Shuffle instead. Imagine Barker's (not Baker's) life in a war zone. Well, don't imagine it, listen to or read her stories. The audio version was well done in all respects. We listened to this book during a long drive and then plugged into our RV speakers to finish the final two hours. I enjoyed them both...but they are not the same story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. JSH 04-12-16
    Dr. JSH 04-12-16
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    "One blunder after another or self-deprecation?"

    I enjoyed listening to "The Taliban Shuffle."

    For one, Barker helped me categorize in my mind the disparate and legion socio-political-religious-cultural-ethnic-regional groups and their leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan (plus Middle Eastern nations too).

    Barker seems to make one imprudent decision after another, but I think she has a self-deprecating sense of humor and writing style. For instance, she repeatedly notes that, as a foreign correspondent for the "Chicago Tribune," she submits her articles with a prayer only to later find out [that some of] her work never appeared in the newspaper or its website.
    She mentions her successes far less often, but she must have been effective, otherwise the financially struggling newspaper would not have kept her stationed overseas for as long as it did.

    I was surprised by how deeply she became enchanted with Kabul, Afghanistan. I can't say my reaction would be the same, but Barber evidently has many surprising attributes, which she showcases in "The Taliban Shuffle."

    PS: I haven't seen "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," the movie version of the book with Tina Fey, but I'm curious how entertaining the movie is compared to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • karl bartlett
    5/4/16
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    "Great listen."

    Fascinating book and a great insight into the endless troubles.

    Struggled at first to get used to the narrator, however, she grew on more and did a fantastic job.

    Thank you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Charlie
    4/6/16
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    "Written by a self-important high schooler"

    I turned it off in the second chapter. The author writes like a teenager who spent a decade in Kabul doing nothing but moaning and thinking they are great. The self-important, over-descriptive BS was too much for me. Don't waste your money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • melbopp
    uk
    4/5/16
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    "I liked it"

    there were a lot of descriptions I recognised a lot of characters I recognised bought it all back

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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