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Download West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, by Tamim Ansary Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (572 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tamim Ansary Narrator: Tamim Ansary Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504627214
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The day after the World Trade Center was destroyed, Tamim Ansary sent an anguished e-mail to twenty friends discussing the attack from his perspective as an Afghan American. The message reached millions.

Born to an Afghan father and American mother, Ansary grew up in the intimate world of Afghan family life. When he emigrated to San Francisco, he believed he’d left Afghan culture behind forever. But at the height of the Iranian Revolution, he took a harrowing journey through the Islamic world to rediscover his roots. In the years that followed, he struggled to unite his divided self and to find a place in his imagination where his Afghan and American identities might meet.

Here in his own words is one man’s personal journey through two cultures in conflict.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A book that steadies our skittering compass...It speaks with a modesty of tone and is all the more resonant for that reason[It] sees things we cannot make out and need to.” 

    New York Times

  • “His descriptions of his Afghan childhood are luxe and delicious—crammed with beautiful textiles and wondrous smells, bazaars, casbahs, compounds with courtyards, servants, strawberry patches, ragged mountains.”

    Esquire

  • “[An] emotional and moving memoir, driven by passion and intelligence…It breaks the heart.” 

    Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

  • “[A] powerful, timely book, written with clarity and eloquence…We come to see the humanity behind the country that has come into the international spotlight.”

    Mercury News (San Jose)

  • “Any carping about this being an instant book should be quelled when readers actually encounter Ansary’s considered prose…His descriptions of having lived in and identified alternately with the West and the Islamic world are utterly compelling.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ansary’s low-key reading adds a humanizing tone.”

    AudioFile

  • “[Ansary] tells truths about dislocation, heritage, home, family, and religion that both affirm life and profoundly sadden…Worth any reader’s time.”

    Library Journal

  • “Gracefully written and very powerful, Ansary’s meditative memoir reaches deeper and illuminates more brightly than any news report or political analysis.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalia | 2/7/2014

    " Are you interested in learning more about the conflicts in the Middle East but think the subject may be overwhelming? Please pick up this book. A deeply moving and personal story about Afghanistan; told in a way that only an American can tell it - reminding us the blood of ancient lands runs in all of us. An incrediably easy read. Entertaining. Suitable for teens. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat Scoggin | 2/6/2014

    " A quick read by an articulate and thoughtful author. This book sheds a different kind of light on Afghanistan and all that has brought the country into American consciousness - and all that went ignored. This is one man's experience as a bi-cultural sometimes participant and sometimes observer in the tumultuous last 30 years of Afghan history. It provides a high-level, brief, but insightful look at Afghanistan as it was, what it became, and some of the factors that took it there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 1/25/2014

    " Excellent followup to the Kite Runner - thanks Steph! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 1/23/2014

    " I liked the descriptions of his early childhood in the lost world of Afghanistan, and found his observations about bicultural identity and having a "divided soul" to be quite interesting. I found his journey through the Islamic world a little disappointing, but his famous e-mail was very eloquent and well worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claire | 1/8/2014

    " This book arrived on my doorstep from a dear friend after I told her how much I loved the Kite Runner; this is a compelling memoir about a man who is straddling the line between Afghanistan and America, and struggling to hold his balance. His story is engaging and his writing simple and profound; an easy read for anyone interested in personal memoir/devastation in Afghanistan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 12/8/2013

    " I really liked the book - there was some very infrequent language, but otherwise it was really enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 V. | 11/29/2013

    " What a great education on Afganistan, as told from a personal perspective. It makes me think that the goal of the US (to create a stable, democratic, liberal government there) is a dream. Is it really possible? Surely our government and military officials are listening to people like Ansary?? Someone please tell me yes! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heidi | 11/1/2013

    " I just read this book for the Gardiner bookclub. I was really disappointed, partly because I thought the author was someone who considered himself to be Afganistan. Although he was raised in Afghanistan, his mother is American, and he considers himself to be American. Learning about how he was raised in Afghanistan is interesting and caught my attention. Then is journey of self-discovery could have been omitted completely. It felt like I was along on someone's bad vacation. The last part, "Forgetting Afganistan" was insightful at times. It was also interesting to learn how each of his siblings had adapted to being in the US, but this theme was not developed very little. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ana | 10/22/2013

    " Hurray for Mr Ansary refreshing stark view of his culture, social and economic realities of Afghanistan. A complex country. A dynamic society. A must read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cara | 9/3/2013

    " i loved this book...many valuable lessons here "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ted Brewster | 6/11/2013

    " Transplanted Afghani and Afghan society in America. You can't go home again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 10/28/2012

    " An intimate view on life in Afghanistan, and the power of communication. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Breezy | 3/21/2012

    " This book was suggested to me since I loved Kite Runner so much. This book is no Kite Runner. I found some parts interesting, but the book never really grabbed my attention and held it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 2/19/2012

    " I enjoyed this book. The author's quest to learn about Islam and his Afghan roots was fun and realistic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 6/19/2011

    " This book does a great job of capturing the basic cultural differences between Afghans and Americans. Having traveled to India, it helps with understanding their society as well. It was a bit long in describing the Muslim faith, but I read it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elyssa | 2/25/2011

    " I read this book shortly after 9/11 and it gave me a better understanding of the culture of Afghanistan through the eyes of the writer. Both informative and interesting reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tatiana | 7/9/2010

    " This is a memoir of an Afghan-American journalist based in San Francisco that lived through an interesting time in Afghanistan. The description of the pre-taliban, pre-soviet Afghanistan was pretty interesting, but the rest is similar to travel writing/self-discovery books out there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke Reilly | 2/23/2009

    " Not life changing, but an interesting read that provides some insight into Afghan culture. Glad I read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Troy | 10/5/2008

    " Great historical context of how the Taliban came to be, how Afghan people live, and their struggles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Barz | 4/19/2008

    " Ansary illustrates how the changes in Afghani culture over the past 50 years precipitated the rise of the Taliban in the 21st century. "

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