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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781408717936

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‘Åsne Seierstad is the supreme non-fiction writer of her generation’ Luke Harding

‘As an exploration of the social fabric of Afghan life, this book takes some beating’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘No other recent book on the subject comes close’ CPW Gammell, author of The Pearl of Khorasan

In her international bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad studied life in Afghanistan before and after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. Now twenty years later, the Taliban is back in power, and Seierstad returns with The Afghans, a book to help us understand Afghanistan’s past, present and future, told through the lives of three unforgettable people.

In her compelling, intimate and thought-provoking new book, Seierstad introduces us to three people whose lives have been shaped by the fall and rise of the Taliban – Jamila, Bashir and Ariana – as well their families, friends, foes and co-fighters. Jamila is a women’s rights activist; Bashir is a Taliban commander; Ariana is a law student who had one semester left when the Taliban came to power.

The stories of these three Afghans encompass love, loss, revolt and war as well as the everyday rhythms of family life. Through them, we experience and come to understand the lead-up to the Taliban retaking power in 2021, how the first year of Taliban rule unfolded, and where this leaves Afghans today, and tomorrow.

Praise for Åsne Seierstad:

‘An intimate portrait of Afghani people quite unlike any other’ Sunday Times on The Bookseller of Kabul

‘Has the feel of a non-fiction novel – irresistible’ New York Times on One of Us

‘Hauntingly written, this book is both a masterpiece and a masterclass in investigative journalism’ Christina Lamb on Two Sisters

Meticulously documented, full of drama’ Kate Adie on Two Sisters


Gripping . . . Seierstad succeeds in transforming the demonised stereotype - a Taliban terrorist - into a living, comprehensible human being
The Afghans is not simply an addictively engrossing read, but is also a work of real importance as we come to terms with Afghanistan's recent past and the return of the Taliban. This is a deeply human piece of writing which approaches the war through the eyes of the Afghans, men and women, who lived it, who made impossible choices at difficult moments, and who continue to live with the consequences. Harrowing, uplifting, fascinating, challenging and profound, no other recent book on the subject comes close
CPW Gammell, author of The Pearl of Khorasan: A History of Herat
A heartbreaking account
Enthralling and heart-breaking
Dagens Noeringsliv
As an exploration of the social fabric of Afghan life, this book takes some beating. It's also a deft history of the country since the 1960s, charting its journey from hippy hang-out to Soviet satellite state, jihadist battleground, and finally, failed nation-building project
Daily Telegraph
Seierstad is masterful . . . her book is world class