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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Tonight on TDS, Saima Wahab, In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate; and on TCR,  Mark Shriver, A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.
sausage grinder of snark

Still working at half-speed, here. The guest is Saima Wahab, the book is In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate. Here's the publisher's info:

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, at age three Saima Wahab watched while her father was arrested and taken from their home by the KGB.  She would never see him again. When she was fifteen an uncle who lived in Portland, Oregon brought her to America.  Having to learn an entire new language, she nonetheless graduated from high school in three years and went on to earn a bachelor's degree.  In 2004 she signed on with a defense contractor to work as an interpreter in Afghanistan, never realizing that she would blaze the trail for a new kind of diplomacy, earning the trust of both high-ranking U.S. army officials and Afghan warlords alike.          

When she arrived in Afghanistan in the winter of 2004, Saima was the only college-educated female Pashto speaker in the entire country. She was stunned to learn how little U.S. and coalition forces knew about the Pashtun, who comprise 40% of the population and from whom the Taliban arose. The blessing of the Pashtun is essential, but the U.S. army was so unaware of the workings of this ancient, proud, insular ethic group, that they would routinely send Farsi interpreters into Pashtun villages.  As a Pashtun-born American citizen, Saima found herself in an extraordinary position—to be able to explain the people of her native land to those of her adopted one, and vice versa, in a quest to forge new and lasting bonds between two misunderstood cultures.

In My Father’s Country follows her amazing transformation from child refugee to nervous Pashtun interpreter to intrepid “human terrain” specialist, venturing with her twenty-five-soldier force pro-tection into isolated Pashtun villages to engage hostile village elders in the first, very frank dialogue they had ever had with the Americans.

From her posting at the forward operating base Farah in Afghanistan’s blistering western frontier to the year she spent in Jalalabad translating for provincial governor “Hollywood Pashtun” Sherzai to the near-suicide missions of a year and a half in the Khost Province, where before every mission, she left instructions on how to dispose of her belongings, having to face the very real possibility of not coming back alive, Saima Wahab’s is an incomparable story of one young woman’s unwavering courage and undaunted spirit.

Reviews in all the usual places are almost entirely positive (there's always that guy at Amazon, of course).

Stephen's got a somewhat less dramatic memoirist-of-the-night interview set up,  with Mark Shriver and A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver. Publisher's info:

In this intimate portrait of an extraordinary father-son relationship, Mark K. Shriver discovers the moral principles that guided his legendary father and applies them to his own life

When Sargent "Sarge" Shriver—founder of the Peace Corps and architect of President Johnson's War on Poverty—died in 2011 after a valiant fight with Alzheimer's, thousands of tributes poured in from friends and strangers worldwide. These tributes, which extolled the daily kindness and humanity of "a good man," moved his son Mark far more than those who lauded Sarge for his big-stage, headline-making accomplishments. After a lifetime searching for the path to his father's success in the public arena, Mark instead turns to a search for the secret of his father's joy, his devotion to others, and his sense of purpose. Mark discovers notes and letters from Sarge; hears personal stories from friends and family that zero in on the three guiding principles of Sarge's life—faith, hope, and love—and recounts moments with Sarge that now take on new value and poignancy. In the process, Mark discovers much about himself, as a father, as a husband, and as a social justice advocate. A Good Man is an inspirational and deeply personal story about a son discovering the true meaning of his father's legacy.

Reviews suggest that it's pretty much what you'd expect. Which is, y'know, great & all that.
Up this week:
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART, Comedy Central

Mo 8/6: Tim Gunn
Tu 8/7: Saima Wahab
We 8/8: Chris Rock
Th 8/9: Joanna Brooks

THE COLBERT REPORT, Comedy Central

Mo 8/6: Pete Seeger
Tu 8/7: Mark Shriver
We 8/8: Liza Mundy
Th 8/9: Woody Harrelson

(listings and occasional links  via The Late Night TV Page, some links & more guest info available at thedailyshow.com/guests, colbertnewshub.com, and a judiciously-used google.com.)

(Note: Whenever reading reviews from the NYTimes (particularly Janet Maslin, remember this.)

Originally posted to TiaRachel on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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