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Download The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (335 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kim Barker Narrator: Kirsten Potte Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A true-life Catch-22 set in the deeply dysfunctional countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, by one of the region’s longest-serving correspondents.

Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job.

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the US and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban. And as her love for these hapless countries grows, her hopes for their stability and security fade.

Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffle unforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkable…[Barker] has written an account of her experiences covering Afghanistan and Pakistan that manages to be hilarious and harrowing, witty and illuminating, all at the same time.”

    Michiko Kakutani, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for the New York Times 

  • “Kim Barker gives a true and amusing picture of hellholes and the reporters on assignment in them. But she breaks the journo code of silence and reveals a trade secret of the hacks who cover hellholes: the hell of the holes is that they’re kind of fun.”

    P. J. O’Rourke

  • The Taliban Shuffle is part war memoir, part tale of self-discovery that, thanks to Barker’s biting honesty and wry wit, manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “If you’re looking for a window on the challenges facing Afghanistan and Pakistan today—from a resurgent Taliban to American incompetence to Afghan and Pakistani corruption and nepotism—Barker provides a sterling vantage point.”

    San Francisco Chronicle 

  • “[An] immensely entertaining memoir.”

    Boston Globe

  • “What you’d hear if the reporter never turned off the voice recorder between interviews—brilliant firsthand outtakes that wind up telling us more about the Afghan debacle than any foreign policy briefing.”

    Seattle Times

  • “At once funny and harrowing, insightful and appalling…The Taliban Shuffle will pull you in so deep that you’ll smell the poppies and quake from the bombs.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • The Taliban Shuffle gives us an insider’s perspective of Afghanistan and Pakistan—their fascinating cultures, unstable governments, and burgeoning terrorist groups…With dark, self-deprecating humor and shrewd insight, Barker chronicles her experiences as a rookie foreign reporter and the critical years when the Taliban resurged amidst the collapse of the Afghan and Pakistani governments.”

    The Daily Beast 

  • “Politically astute and clearly influenced by Hunter S. Thompson, Barker provides sharp commentary on the impotence of American foreign policy in South Asia after the victory against the Taliban…Fierce, funny and unflinchingly honest.”

    Kirkus Reviews 

  • “Brilliant, tender, and unexpectedly hilarious.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Candid and darkly comic…With self-deprecation and a keen eye for the absurd, Barker describes her evolution from a green, fill-in correspondent to an adrenaline junkie.”

    Publisher’s Weekly 

  • The Taliban Shuffle isn’t like any other book out there about Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s witty, brilliant, and impossible to put down.”

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City

  • “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 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

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Morleymor | 2/15/2014

    " Too many personal issues mixed up with very shallow reporting of events in Pakistan, Afganistan and India. The author seems to enjoy the thrill of events more than a desire to use her journalistic skills to improve a dire situation. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Kimberly | 2/11/2014

    " I couldn't even finish this one. In fairness, the author does state that she wasn't/isn't an expert on the region, so I can't really hold it against her. The narrative, however, feels full of college-type theme parties set against the backdrop of the messiness of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, I felt that I was reading more about her trysts with other journalists and westerners on assignment there rather than what was going on in a bigger context. I guess I didn't expect the memoir to be as personal and . . . I dunno, juvenile? as I found it to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Martin Grayson | 2/9/2014

    " Details all the facts and reasons why US engagement in Afghanistan is an exercise in ludicrous futility. Vietnam II, anyone. Why don't we ever learn. Or is the several trillion dollars a year we spend on the military - not to mention the military contractors (three of them for every soldier in uniform) - just too big an engine to shut down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/5/2014

    " Entertaining read and you learn something too! "

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