Wednesday Wanna-Read: The Taliban Shuffle

My Wednesday wanna-read this week is tied to the release of a movie I’m anticipating the viewing of (at some point).

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker is the basis for the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (starring Tina Fey), which opens Friday.


From Goodreads page

Barker was a reporter who was sent to Kabul to be a correspondent for a newspaper. (In the movie, the character is a television reporter.)

One other major difference I can spot based solely on the trailer vs. book summary: the movie is a comedy. The book is not.

From Goodreads: “When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban.

Being a female, American journalist in the Middle East at this time could have been nothing short of terrifying. As much as your adrenaline pumps when you’re out on a big story, you know many of the people you’re trying to report on want to harm you because of what you’re doing.

Barker’s ability to do this job and then come back and document her experiences in a book is remarkable.

As much as I will enjoy seeing a comedic take on Barker’s experiences on the big screen, I’m also excited to read the serious account of her actual time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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