Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022 and Award Winners

An American Bride in Kabul Summary and Reviews

An American Bride in Kabul

A Memoir

by Phyllis Chesler

An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler X
An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Oct 2013
    256 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Few westerners will ever be able to understand Muslim or Afghan society unless they are part of a Muslim family. Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on an adventure that has lasted for more than a half-century. In 1961, when she arrived in Kabul with her Afghan bridegroom, authorities took away her American passport. Chesler was now the property of her husband's family and had no rights of citizenship.

Back in Afghanistan, her husband, a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country, reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family's attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth.

Drawing upon her personal diaries, Chesler recounts her ordeal, the nature of gender apartheid - and her longing to explore this beautiful, ancient, and exotic country and culture. Chesler nearly died there but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women's rights throughout the world. An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Chesler adroitly blends her personal narrative with a riveting account of Afghanistan's troubled history, the ongoing Islamic/Islamist terrorism against Muslim civilians and the West, and the continuing struggle and courage of Afghan feminists." - Publishers Weekly

"A renowned psychotherapist's richly compelling memoir about how her experiences as an Afghan man's wife shaped her as both a feminist and human rights activist...Intelligent, powerful and timely." - Kirkus

"Phyllis Chesler is by far the bravest and most outspoken American feminist to address the plight of Muslim women...Yet every page is laden with compassion and love for the ex-husband and his family she unwittingly joined. I recommend this book be put on the reading list of every American school." - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Author of Infidel and Nomad

"This is a bold book; intimate and rich in detail; as revealing a story about class, gender and religious differences as one will find. Chesler is a voice crying out for women. She had the right training. She will never stop." - Kate Millett, author ofSexual Politics and Going to Iran

"With a deft pen and a half-century of experience, Chesler revisits her brief, unpleasant, but life-changing and ultimately precious time in an Afghan harem." - Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum, author of In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power.

"Many of the book's insights about 1961 Kabul seem oddly relevant to Kabul in 2013 – a culture that, if possible, has become even more heinous to women with the advent of the Taliban. This is an eye-opening work." - Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years

"[Chesler's] story is believable because it is sadly repeated millions of times around the globe...Readers will leave understanding like so many Muslim reformers already do that Islamist misogyny is a Muslim problem that needs Muslim solutions." - M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, author of The Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith.

"Her decades of academic and professional work advocating for women who cannot cry out for themselves is a tremendous legacy: the seeds of this deep calling were sown in Afghanistan and are now recounted here in this moving and marvelous book." - Sara Aharon, author of Kabul to Queens: The Jews of Afghanistan and Their Move to the United States

This information about An American Bride in Kabul was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. 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 they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York, best-selling author, legendary feminist leader, and psychotherapist. She is co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology, the National Women's Health Network, and the International Committee for Women of the Wall.

Dr. Chesler has lectured and organized women's rights and human rights campaigns all over the world and has also appeared on outlets such as CNN, Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, The Today Show, Oprah, and multiple NPR programs, including a three year tenure as a regular contributor to NPR's At the Opera. Her writings have been featured in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The Times of London, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Israel National News, The New York Times, Salon, The Globe and Mail, The London Guardian, and the Jewish and Israeli media. Her archives are at Duke University. She lives in New York City.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biography/memoir...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Voted 2022 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Geraldine Brooks creates a ...
  • Book Jacket: In Love
    In Love
    by Amy Bloom
    Voted 2022 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. In 2019, author Amy Bloom and her...
  • Book Jacket: Remarkably Bright Creatures
    Remarkably Bright Creatures
    by Shelby Van Pelt
    Voted 2022 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel, ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Scatterlings
    by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

    The debut novel of a gifted storyteller who has become a sensation in her native South Africa.

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.