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Extended Audio Sample The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,336 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Narrator: Sarah Zimmerman Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"We're far more accustomed to—and comfortable with—seeing women portrayed as victims of war who deserve our sympathy rather than as resilient survivors who demand our respect…" 

Former ABC journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the riveting true story of Kamila Sidiqi and other women of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s fearful rise to power. In what Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, calls “one of the most inspiring books I have ever read,” Lemmon recounts with novelistic vividness the true story of a fearless young woman who not only reinvented herself as an entrepreneur to save her family but, in the face of ferocious opposition, brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Kabul.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is pure inspiration...it reveals...the anxiety of ordinary people trying to fold their lives around the whims and laws of abusive regimes.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a most remarkable tale.” 

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a heart-wrenching, heartwarming story about the courageous women of war-ravaged Afghanistan.” 

    Washington Times

  • “A truly uplifting and very true story of how one woman set out to start a business and ended up preserving the dignity of so many women; opened up possibilities for hundreds more; and inspired thousands.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Remarkable.”

    New Yorker

  • “[A] transporting, enlightening book...The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a fascinating window on Afghan life under the Taliban and a celebration of women the world over who support their loved ones with tenacity, inventiveness, and sheer guts.” 


  • “Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells a true, inspiring story of courageous women and quiet heroism at work in Taliban-era Afghanistan.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “[A] powerful and humbling book.”


  • “This true story introduces listeners to an aspect of Afghan society rarely heard about—the region’s entrepreneurial women. The life of Kamila Sidiqi is a model of ingenuity, creativity, courage, and adaptability amid the harshest surroundings and brutal circumstances...Sarah Zimmerman’s feminine clarity contrasts sharply with the grim war-torn realities, and she also captures the coarse tones of the brutal Taliban. Her voice softens as she compassionately recounts the stories of the brave sisterhood, focusing on the resilience of the women.”


  • “An inspiring, uplifting story about one woman’s extraordinary courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity.”


  • “A revealing work that contributes to the literature on women under Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.”

    Library Journal

  • “A memorable, inspiring story of courageous community-building.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by bethany malouf | 2/19/2014

    " A beautiful and inspiring story inside the lives of women in Taliban run Afghanistan. I was moved to tears by the eternal optimism despite the daily threat to their lives just to survive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marian | 2/16/2014

    " This is a story of a young girl in Afghanistan who created a thriving dressmaking business to support her five younger sisters when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul and her parents and brothers were forced to flee. It is a true story and is written by a former journalist who writes about the women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda. It gives an insight to the lives of these women not usually told. I highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Caroline | 2/15/2014

    " Eye-opening! Terrific read that started out a bit slow with the reporter "talking" to the reader about why she wrote the book and her personal worries (in her defence...they later dovetailed nicely with those of the main character). Noble characters that I can only hope will demonstrate that people are people wherever they live, whatever they believe, whoever they pray to. An important story for everyone to know, esp. women and those who love them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Charissa | 2/9/2014

    " First 60 pages or so FAR too slow for my liking! It's taken me far too long to get into this one... A bit too predictable & dull. Kite Runner was a far better read and depicted the characters and country much better. Could go on, but my rating said it all... "

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