The Book

Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women

Book cover, Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women

What Khaled Hosseini, Mavis Leno, Kathy Kelly and Tamim Ansary are saying about Gathering Strength:

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns : Peggy Kelsey’s book gives voice to the struggles, sacrifices, and hopes of a remarkable cast of Afghan women. This illuminating and moving collection of interviews is a testament to the courage and resilience of women who collectively yearn to rebuild their war-torn nation and for the freedom to choose the course of their own lives.

Mavis Leno of the Feminist Majority Foundation:  Everything you need to know about the current situation of women in Afghanistan you will find in Peggy Kelsey’s book, through the voices of the women themselves.  This work is a first-rate lesson in the complexity of the problems Afghan women face and of their unstoppable resolve.

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence : Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women reminds us of how valuable it is to hear fresh voices tell the story of a country ravaged by four decades of war. Peggy Kelsey’s own engaging memoir helps us see why she is so curious about Afghan women. Her determination to illustrate the stories of various women by pursuing conversations with them allows us to approach unusual and surprising settings. This is an ideal book for students and teachers who want to learn about war and peace in Afghanistan from an informed, caring and profoundly thoughtful perspective.

Tamim Ansary, author of Games Without Rules, The Often Interrupted History of AfghanistanThis is one of the first [books] I’ve seen that lets us hear Afghan women speaking for themselves. The range and diversity of its subjects make this a comprehensive look at Afghanistan through the eyes of its women. I hope Kelsey will not be the last to walk through the door she has opened.

Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women offers remarkable, sometimes hard-hitting stories of courage and survival, and will help readers make sense of seemingly intractable social issues in a similarly intractable nation. Dynamic, candid photographs reveal the infinite variety of women who are too often portrayed as an homogenous mass.

Who are some of the women you will discover in Gathering Strength? Human rights activists, educators, artists, refugees, midwives, businesswomen, athletes, a pilgrim to Mecca, parliamentarians, the elderly, students, and others:

Najia, who worked as a nurse during the Taliban era and later started her own business;

Hador, who set her rapist cousin on fire and went to prison;

Tajwar, a leader of the Afghan women’s resistance during the Soviet occupation;

and many more.

Timely and compelling!