> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review and Giveaway: The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway: The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, and giveaway, free of charge,from Wunderkid PR, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

This re-release comes out TODAY in paperback, with the movie based on it out March 4th!

the taliban shuffle


When Kim Barker first arrived in Kabul as a journalist in 2002, she barely owned a passport, spoke only English and had little idea how to do the “Taliban Shuffle” between Afghanistan and Pakistan. No matter—her stories about Islamic militants and shaky reconstruction were soon overshadowed by the bigger news in Iraq. But as she delved deeper into Pakistan and Afghanistan, her love for the hapless countries grew, along with her fear for their future stability. In this darkly comic and unsparing memoir, Barker uses her wry, incisive voice to expose the absurdities and tragedies of the “forgotten war,” finding humor and humanity amid the rubble and heartbreak.

After five years spent wearing a scarf, abiding by the cultural norms and traveling long hours on unpaved roads, Kim returns to America and is eager to tell of her long-lasting love story with these countries.


This book sounded like something I had missed, and having seen the trailer for the movie, I knew I had to check it out! I have to admit, Kim had me in the second chapter, when she said she was hooked on "vodka and war lords". Knowing the journalists of old (think Hunter Thompson like gonzo geniuses), I had a feeling Kim was not your average dull reporter. And I was right. Kim's adventures are unreal, as well as so natural to her, that you can understand once she threw herself into her work, how it so consumed her and became her world. She gives the reader a look behind the scenes of what most of us were shown on TV, or read in the news. Her search for the story behind the story, staying one step ahead, gave her some pretty amazing articles and memories that read like a movie script. So it's not surprising that a movie was finally made of this astounding adventure book! 

There are laughs, thrills, heartache (how can you keep a long distance relationship with an artistic boyfriend who doesn't get your lust for the adrenaline rush of chasing a lead no one else has) and loss (the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto or the Asian tsunami that killed so many). Yet through it all, Kim is the reader's amazing tour guide, leading you through the craziness of trying to unite the varied war lords of Afghanistan, and its downfall, and the craziness of the formation of the Taliban. Ultimately, as newspaper readership died down, costs escalated and the region became unstable, it was time for Kim to come home. Coming home is never easy when you've been on such aadrenaline high for years, but this book is proof that Kim's time spent was well worth the story she tells here.

About the Author:

Kim Barker was the South Asia bureau chief for The Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009, based in New Delhi and Islamabad. Her book about those years, “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” a dark comedic take on her time in South Asia, was originally published by Doubleday in 2011. 

Barker has covered natural disasters such as the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Kashmir, as well as tracked manmade disasters -- the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the corruption in Afghanistan, and the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Before going overseas, Barker worked at The Seattle Times and the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

After coming back in 2009, she was the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she freelanced for Foreign Affairs, Reader’s Digest and The Atlantic. In 2010, she joined ProPublica, where she wrote about campaign finance and the fallout of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Barker, who grew up in Montana and Wyoming, now lives in Brooklyn and works as a New York Check out her website for more info!

About the Movie:
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, the upcoming movie starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina, is based on Kim Barker’s memoir of her time reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Check out the trailer:

flashing Win


 One lucky BTHM reader will win their own copy of The Taliban Shuffle to read before they see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

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