The Daughters of Kobani Summary and Reviews

The Daughters of Kobani

A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Daughters of Kobani by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon X
The Daughters of Kobani by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
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Book Summary

The extraordinary story of the women who took on the Islamic State and won.

In 2014, northeastern Syria might have been the last place you would expect to find a revolution centered on women's rights. But that year, an all-female militia faced off against ISIS in a little town few had ever heard of: Kobani. By then, the Islamic State had swept across vast swaths of the country, taking town after town and spreading terror as the civil war burned all around it. From that unlikely showdown in Kobani emerged a fighting force that would wage war against ISIS across northern Syria alongside the United States. In the process, these women would spread their own political vision, determined to make women's equality a reality by fighting--house by house, street by street, city by city--the men who bought and sold women.

Based on years of on-the-ground reporting, The Daughters of Kobani is the unforgettable story of the women of the Kurdish militia that improbably became part of the world's best hope for stopping ISIS in Syria. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews, bestselling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon introduces us to the women fighting on the front lines, determined to not only extinguish the terror of ISIS but also prove that women could lead in war and must enjoy equal rights come the peace. In helping to cement the territorial defeat of ISIS, whose savagery toward women astounded the world, these women played a central role in neutralizing the threat the group posed worldwide. In the process they earned the respect--and significant military support--of U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Rigorously reported and powerfully told, The Daughters of Kobani shines a light on a group of women intent on not only defeating the Islamic State on the battlefield but also changing women's lives in their corner of the Middle East and beyond.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] fascinating portrait of Kurdish female fighters and their role in the Syrian civil war and the fight against the Islamic State...This deeply reported account enthralls and informs" - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Handling difficult topics with adroit respect and care, Lemmon offers a story that's eminently relatable and speaks to the ongoing fight for women's rights the world over. This is a story that needed to be told and needs to be heard. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in current events and women's history." - Library Journal (starred review)

"The author focuses on the YPJ women in their fighting roles, which makes for a steady pace but at times limited characterizations. As a group, however, these soldiers display a wholly admirable bravery and commitment to women's equality...A well-told story of contemporary female warriors and the complex geopolitical realities behind their battles." - Kirkus Reviews

"The Daughters of Kobani is an unforgettable and nearly mythic tale of women's power and courage. The young women profiled in this book fought a fearsome war against brutal men in impossible circumstances—and proved in the process what girls and women can accomplish when given the chance to lead. Brilliantly researched and respectfully reported, this book is a lesson in heroism, sacrifice, and the real meaning of sisterhood. I am so grateful that this story has been told." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love

"Absolutely fascinating and brilliantly written, The Daughters of Kobani is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand both the nobility and the brutality of war. This is one of the most compelling stories in modern warfare." - Admiral William H. McRaven, author of Make Your Bed

"This passionate and incisive book takes us into the radically brave hearts of the women who fought ISIS. The Daughters of Kobani is a gift to the women of the Middle East and to us, inscribing their sacrifice onto the history of a war no one will soon forget." - Azadeh Moaveni, author of Guest House for Young Widows

This information about The Daughters of Kobani shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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lani

Fight for the right
Take one war. Combine with women's oppression. Mix with inestimable courage and bravery. The final product...the daughters of Kobani, Syria. Four major female characters are highlighted to illuminate the tenacity and heroism of the Kurdish women who became an all female militia and helped direct men in battle to take back their land against ISIS and other geopolitical forces. In a world where women are expected to be more docile, these rising warriors sacrificed much in the inhumanity of war. The author, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, spent several years researching and traveling to Syria to explore the history of the war and to observe this group of dedicated women fighting not only for their land and tribe but also for women's rights and long term political and social change. Kobani is pressed right up against the Turkish border along with nearby Iraq ,and the people experienced minimal rights within their own country being essentially stateless, with Arab families living on the land owned by the Kurds. The author, with painfully exhaustive research becomes a guide to the history of the war while giving tribute to the women. This non fiction piece is a testimony to accomplishing a goal with grit and boldness. Hillary Clinton thought so. Along with Chelsea, they are adapting this book as a TV series. May we all be so lucky to view both.

Lani S.

Inspiring women fighters
Take one war. Combine with women's oppression. Mix with inestimable courage and bravery. The final product...the daughters of Kobani, Syria. Four major female characters are highlighted to illuminate the tenacity and heroism of the Kurdish women who became an all female militia and helped direct men in battle to take back their land against ISIS and other geopolitical forces. In a world where women are expected to be more docile, these rising warriors sacrificed much in the inhumanity of war. The author, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, spent several years researching and traveling to Syria to explore the history of the war and to observe this group of dedicated women fighting not only for their land and tribe but also for women's rights and long term political and social change. Kobani is pressed right up against the Turkish border along with nearby Iraq ,and the people experienced minimal rights within their own country being essentially stateless, with Arab families living on the land owned by the Kurds. The author, with painfully exhaustive research becomes a guide to the history of the war while giving tribute to the women. This non fiction piece is a testimony to accomplishing a goal with grit and boldness. Hillary Clinton thought so. Along with Chelsea, they are adapting this book as a TV series. May we all be so lucky to view both.

Betty Taylor

Informational
I loved Lemmon’s book “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” so was really looking forward to reading her newest book. Unfortunately, it was not what I expected.

I was expecting much more about the women themselves and their interaction, both in battle and privately. Instead, the book is mostly about the history of the Kurdish people and their determination to keep ISIS from taking over portions of Syria. The portions that did address the all-female militia (the YPJ) that defended Kobani were interesting and portrayed these brave women nobly. Azeema, Rojda, Znarin, Nowruz, and Miriam are representative of all the women fighting not only to stop ISIS but also to prove that women could lead in war. They fought alongside their male counterparts (YPG), often directing and leading the attacks, and won the respect of the US Special Forces by fearlessly fighting against the men who bought and sold women. Their goal, beyond the defeat of ISIS, was to build a democratic and egalitarian society and to defend women from around the region wherever they faced discrimination or persecution, not just in Kurdish areas.

A couple of favorite quotes: Miriam comments on ISIL - “Now they can talk to each other about getting killed by women instead of just beheading and enslaving them.” Nowruz says “One day we will be finished with this war. And then people will know that women showed their power on the front lines.”

If you know nothing of the history of the Kurds, this is a good synopsis and would be worth reading just for that. Lemmon did an extensive amount of research and interviews for this book.

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Author Information

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ashley's War and The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She regularly appears on CNN, PBS, MSNBC, and NPR, and she has spoken on national security topics at the Aspen Security Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, and TED. A graduate of Harvard Business School, she serves on the board of Mercy Corps and is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee.

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