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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safeby Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Synopses & Reviews
The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.
Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.
"Kamila Sidiqi's unforgettable story shows just how far we are willing to go for those we love, and proves once again the power of girls to remake our world. This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read." Angelina Jolie
"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana gives voice to many of our world's unsung heroines. Against all odds, these young women created hope and community, and they never gave up. This book is guaranteed to move you — and to show you a side of Afghanistan few ever see." Joseph Bailey, coauthor of Slowing Down to the Speed of Life
"Kamila Sidiqi's unforgettable story shows just how far we are willing to go for those we love, and proves once again the power of girls to remake our world. This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read." John E. Welshons, author of One Soul, One Love, One Heart
"An inspiring story of courageous community building...The product of several years of in-depth interviewing...[Lemmon] pays scrupulous attention to detail...[and] convincingly evokes the atmosphere of Taliban-era Kabul." Christian Science Monitor
"Gayle Lemmon's riveting portrait of Kamila, told with grace, elegance and passion, captures the extraordinary tenacity and ingenuity of one woman. A powerful read that serves as a reminder that Afghanistan can never thrive until it embraces the active involvement of women in its leadership and future." Christian Science Monitor
"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 Talibans 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.
About the Author
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2004 she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her reporting on entrepreneurs in these countries has been published by the New York Times, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, and the Daily Beast, as well as the World Bank and Harvard Business School. She lives in Los Angeles.
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