Sisters in War: Book summary and reviews of Sisters in War by Christina Asquith

Sisters in War

A Story of Love, Family, and Survival in the New Iraq

by Christina Asquith

Sisters in War by Christina Asquith

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About this book

Book Summary

Caught up in a terrifying war, facing choices of life and death, two Iraqi sisters take us into the hidden world of women's lives under U.S. occupation. Through their powerful story of love and betrayal, interwoven with the stories of a Palestinian American women's rights activist and a U.S. soldier, journalist Christina Asquith explores one of the great untold sagas of the Iraq war: the attempt to bring women's rights to Iraq, and the consequences for all those involved.

On the heels of the invasion, twenty-two-year-old Zia accepts a job inside the U.S. headquarters in Baghdad, trusting that democracy will shield her burgeoning romance with an American contractor from the disapproval of her fellow Iraqis. But as resistance to the U.S. occupation intensifies, Zia and her sister, Nunu, a university student, are targeted by Islamic insurgents and find themselves trapped between their hopes for a new country and the violent reality of a misguided war.

Asquith sets their struggle against the broader U.S. efforts to bring women's rights to Iraq, weaving the sisters' story with those of Manal, a Palestinian American women's rights activist, and Heather, a U.S. army reservist, who work together to found Iraq’s first women's center. After one of their female colleagues is gunned down on a highway, Manal and Heather must decide whether they can keep fighting for Iraqi women if it means risking their own lives.

In Sisters in War, Christina Asquith introduces the reader to four women who dare to stand up for their rights in the most desperate circumstances. With compassion and grace, she vividly reveals the plight of women living and serving in Iraq and offers us a vision of how women's rights and Islam might be reconciled.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[T]his informative narrative offers readers a seldom heard female perspective into the everyday lives, struggles, disappointments and triumphs of four women during this chaotic and dangerous time." - Publishers Weekly

"Throughout, the chasm between Western myopia and Iraqi truths is manifest, as when Manal, trying to empower Iraqi women in tangible ways, bemoans the U.S. government's simplistic solutions ... A vital, edifying cultural investigation." - Kirkus Reviews

"Christina Asquith has written a brilliant book, extraordinary in concept and execution, the most intimate and moving portrait I have read of the early American disaster in Iraq. It is a shifting and powerful portrait of disillusionment seen through the hopeful eyes of American and Iraqi women colliding with the hard realities of religion, politics, power, and morality in a traditional society. Sometimes, to see a thing fresh, we need to look at it from a different vantage. Asquith’s young women, from the courageous and committed American feminists to their Iraqi counterparts, who must cope with cultural constraints their new Western friends can hardly imagine, are all victims of the criminal arrogance and naïveté of the U.S. occupation. This is a work of reporting and writing that will last." - Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

"Christina Asquith’s description of the wild incompetence – and dedication – of early American efforts in Iraq reads like a great novel but with the added weight of history. And her focus on women, both American and Iraqi, makes this book uniquely valuable among the many on this long war. Asquith is a fine writer and, clearly, a very brave reporter. She has filled in several crucial pieces of the Iraq puzzle, and done it beautifully." - Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm

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Reader Reviews

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Iraqiyah

Exaggeration in facts and truth
As Iraqi/American Woman I find very poor book. I think the writer took some the facts and exaggerate over it to make the book look interesting and excited to sell the book and make money of it so I do not recommend this book if you are looking for the truth or what is truly going on in Iraq. Even some of the historical facts are misstated or was wrong. Overall if you are looking for imaginary novel with some facts to make the story realistic this might be the book you are looking for, so I recommend you borrow it from friends or public libraries to read it in instead wasting your money buying it.

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More Information

Christina Asquith was born in New York City and was educated at Boston University and the London School of Economics. A journalist for more than a decade, she has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Guardian, and she was a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives with her husband and their daughter in Burlington, Vermont.

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