OVERRIDE

West of Kabul, East of New York

An Afghan American Story

Tamim Ansary

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A passionate personal journey through two cultures in conflict

Shortly after militant Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, Tamim Ansary of San Francisco sent an e-mail to twenty friends, telling how the threatened U.S. reprisals against Afghanistan looked to him as an Afghan American. The message spread, and in a few days it had reached, and affected, millions of people-Afghans and Americans, soldiers and pacifists, conservative Christians and talk-show hosts; for the message, written in twenty minutes, was one Ansary had been writing all his life.

West of Kabul, East of New York is an urgent communiqué by an American with "an Afghan soul still inside me," who has lived in the very different worlds of Islam and the secular West. The son of an Afghan man and the first American woman to live as an Afghan, Ansary grew up in the intimate world of Afghan family life, one never seen by outsiders. No sooner had he emigrated to San Francisco than he was drawn into the community of Afghan expatriates sustained by the dream of returning to their country -and then drawn back to the Islamic world himself to discover the nascent phenomenon of militant religious fundamentalism.

Tamim Ansary has emerged as one of the most eloquent voices on the conflict between Islam and the West. His book is a deeply personal account of the struggle to reconcile two great civilizations and to find some point in the imagination where they might meet.

A passionate personal journey through two cultures in conflict

Shortly after militant Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, Tamim Ansary of San Francisco sent an e-mail to twenty friends, telling how the threatened U.S. reprisals against Afghanistan looked to him as an Afghan American. The message spread, and in a few days it had reached, and affected, millions of people-Afghans and Americans, soldiers and pacifists, conservative Christians and talk-show hosts; for the message, written in twenty minutes, was one Ansary had been writing all his life.

West of Kabul, East of New York is an urgent communiqué by an American with "an Afghan soul still inside me," who has lived in the very different worlds of Islam and the secular West. The son of an Afghan man and the first American woman to live as an Afghan, Ansary grew up in the intimate world of Afghan family life, one never seen by outsiders. No sooner had he emigrated to San Francisco than he was drawn into the community of Afghan expatriates sustained by the dream of returning to their country -and then drawn back to the Islamic world himself to discover the nascent phenomenon of militant religious fundamentalism.

Tamim Ansary has emerged as one of the most eloquent voices on the conflict between Islam and the West. His book is a deeply personal account of the struggle to reconcile two great civilizations and to find some point in the imagination where they might meet.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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West of Kabul, East of New York
PART ONEThe Lost WorldVILLAGES AND COMPOUNDS
 
 IN 1948, WHEN I WAS BORN, most of Afghanistan might as well have been living in Neolithic times. It was a world of walled villages, each one inhabited by a few large families, themselves linked in countless ways through intermarriages stretching into the dim historical memories of the eldest elders. These villages had no cars, no carts even, no wheeled vehicles at all; no stores, no shops, no electricity, no postal service, and no media except rumors, storytelling, and the word of travelers passing
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REVIEWS

Praise for West of Kabul, East of New York

"There are many lives now in our melted world as complicated as Tamim Ansary's. The wonder is that this son of Afghanistan and America moves between the competing pronouns of his life with a graceful pen; he is never less than curious and generous toward the various chapters of his life that claim him."-- Richard Rodriguez, author of Days of Obligations
"There are many lives now in our melted world as complicated as Tamim Ansary's. The wonder is that this son of Afghanistan and America moves between the competing pronouns of his life with a graceful pen; he is never less than curious and generous toward the various chapters of his life that claim him."-- Richard Rodriguez, author of Days of Obligations

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Tamim Ansary

  • Tamim Ansary, who has written numerous books for children, is a columnist for Encarta. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two children.
  • Tamim Ansary Copyright Martin Klimek
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Available Formats and Book Details

West of Kabul, East of New York

An Afghan American Story

Tamim Ansary

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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