A stirring recollection and an insightful national history.



A memoir recounts one man’s wretched experience under tyrannical rule in Afghanistan.

Khaled Siddiq’s family was renowned throughout Afghanistan for its patriotic ardor. Khaled’s grandfather Ghulam Haidar Khan Charkhi was a respected general who fought in the Anglo-Afghan Wars, and all four of his sons, including Khaled’s father, Ghulam Siddiq Khan Charkhi, became important government figures. They participated in Prince Amanullah Khan’s project to aggressively modernize Afghanistan, which included diplomatic relations with European nations, the abolition of slavery, and greater freedom for women. However, after Amanullah was overthrown in 1929 in a coup orchestrated by religious fanatics, Khaled’s family was savagely punished for their loyalty to him. His uncles were murdered, and the rest of the family was placed under house arrest in Kabul and eventually exiled to Sarai Badam, where they lived in squalid conditions. When Khaled and his brothers reached puberty, they were sent to prison—a harrowing experience that’s vividly described here by debut author Adam Siddiq, Khaled’s grandson. He lived in that prison for nearly 15 years and was placed under house arrest for another five following his release in 1945. He found good work as a translator and got married, but he longed to see his father, who lived in exile in Berlin. When Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979, Khaled realized he had no choice but to move his whole family to Germany to save their lives. Siddiq composed this moving remembrance in collaboration with his grandfather, and the entire account is told in first person from Khaled’s perspective. The story, told in precise but moving prose, is often achingly beautiful—a stirring mix of sadness and inspiring triumph. Along the way, Siddiq limns an astute history of the country of Afghanistan that focuses on 40 of its most turbulent and formative years. The book includes black-and-white photographs of Khaled and his family as well as the reproduction of important correspondence in full. It all combines to create an intensely personal memoir whose political and moral dimensions have universal relevance and appeal.

A stirring recollection and an insightful national history.

Pub Date: Dec. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-946852-00-7

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Lineage Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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