100 books like Poetry of the Taliban

By Felix Kuehn, Alex Strick Van Linschoten,

Here are 100 books that Poetry of the Taliban fans have personally recommended if you like Poetry of the Taliban. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of My Life with the Taliban

Phil Halton Author Of Blood Washing Blood: Afghanistan's Hundred-Year War

From my list on the War in Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Phil Halton has worked in conflict zones around the world as an officer in the Canadian Army and as a security consultant and has extensive experience in Afghanistan. He is the author of two novels and a history. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. 

Phil's book list on the War in Afghanistan

Phil Halton Why did Phil love this book?

There are few books available in English that describe the Taliban’s point of view, not just of the war, but of the many years leading up to it. Mullah Zaeef was a senior member of the Taliban government before the US invasion, and he explains a lot of the thinking behind the Taliban’s decisions and policies. Perhaps more importantly, he tells his own life story, which makes those decisions relatable on a human level. A very readable autobiography.

By Abdul Salam Zaeef,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life with the Taliban as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abdul Zaeef describes growing up in poverty in rural Kandahar province, which he fled for Pakistan after the Russian invasion of 1979. Zaeef joined the jihad in 1983, was seriously wounded in several encounters and met many leading figures of the resistance, including the current Taliban head, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Disgusted by the lawlessness that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal, Zaeef was one among the former mujahidin who were closely involved in the emergence of the Taliban, in 1994. He then details his Taliban career, including negotiations with Ahmed Shah Massoud and role as ambassador to Pakistan during 9/11. In…


Book cover of Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy

Phil Halton Author Of Blood Washing Blood: Afghanistan's Hundred-Year War

From my list on the War in Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Phil Halton has worked in conflict zones around the world as an officer in the Canadian Army and as a security consultant and has extensive experience in Afghanistan. He is the author of two novels and a history. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. 

Phil's book list on the War in Afghanistan

Phil Halton Why did Phil love this book?

Drug trafficking has become entwined with Afghanistan in the minds of many, though the true situation is often misunderstood. Bradford’s meticulous research not only clearly explains the present situation, it places it in the broader historical context that is almost always missing. The legal trade in opium has deep roots in Afghanistan, and even in the present day, there are as many senior government officials benefiting from it as there are insurgent leaders. He also explores the growing problem with addiction that plagues Afghanistan, humanizing a complex problem.

By James Tharin Bradford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poppies, Politics, and Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historians have long neglected Afghanistan's broader history when portraying the opium industry. But in Poppies, Politics, and Power, James Tharin Bradford rebalances the discourse, showing that it is not the past forty years of lawlessness that makes the opium industry what it is, but the sheer breadth of the twentieth-century Afghanistan experience. Rather than byproducts of a failed contemporary system, argues Bradford, drugs, especially opium, were critical components in the formation and failure of the Afghan state.

In this history of drugs and drug control in Afghanistan, Bradford shows us how the country moved from licit supply of the global…


Book cover of An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978-2012

Phil Halton Author Of Blood Washing Blood: Afghanistan's Hundred-Year War

From my list on the War in Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Phil Halton has worked in conflict zones around the world as an officer in the Canadian Army and as a security consultant and has extensive experience in Afghanistan. He is the author of two novels and a history. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. 

Phil's book list on the War in Afghanistan

Phil Halton Why did Phil love this book?

Martin was a British Army officer who learned to speak fluent Pashto, and spent long hours talking with and gaining the trust of various players in Helmand Province. Based on those discussions, he has put together the only oral history of the conflict there available in any language. By starting in 1978, he clearly shows that the fighting thirty years later had much deeper roots, and that more often than not, the causes of conflict were not apparent to Western eyes.

By Mike Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Intimate War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An Intimate War' tells the story of the last thirty-four years of conflict in Helmand Province, Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of the Helmandis. In the West, this period is often defined through different lenses -- the Soviet intervention, the civil war, the Taliban, and the post-2001 nation-building era. Yet, as experienced by local inhabitants, the Helmand conflict is a perennial one, involving the same individuals, families and groups, and driven by the same arguments over land, water and power.

This book -- based on both military and research experience in Helmand and 150 interviews in Pashto -- offers…


Book cover of The Hidden War: A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan

Phil Halton Author Of Blood Washing Blood: Afghanistan's Hundred-Year War

From my list on the War in Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Phil Halton has worked in conflict zones around the world as an officer in the Canadian Army and as a security consultant and has extensive experience in Afghanistan. He is the author of two novels and a history. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. 

Phil's book list on the War in Afghanistan

Phil Halton Why did Phil love this book?

Borovik was a very well-known journalist in Russia, whose work gives an inside view of the Soviet military machine in Afghanistan. Far from being the all-powerful monolith that it is often portrayed as, Borovik shows the human aspect of war with unblinking candor. Although it is a journalistic account of what he saw and experienced, his writing elevates the subject to the level of literature. The misery and shattered idealism of the defeated Soviet soldiers resonates today.

By Artyom Borovik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hidden War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a record of the author's experiences during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He lived and travelled with the Russian soldiers, went into combat with them and shared the terror, helplessness and despair of waging war in a foreign land against an unseen enemy for unclear purposes. The book also explains how and why Russian troops went into Afghanistan. It describes the drug problems, criminal behaviour and psychiatric disorders prevalent among veterans and concludes with an account of the Russian withdrawal and its aftermath.


Book cover of Brass & Unity: One Woman's Journey Through the Hell of Afghanistan and Back

Alana Stott Author Of She Who Dares

From my list on helping you escape victimhood and keep you winning.

Why am I passionate about this?

In life my motto has always been “The buck stops with me.” There is no room in life for excuses, blame, and victimhood. You need to build your own strength and resilience and not rely on others when it comes to your own successes. I have spent my life putting this mindset into practice and have surrounded myself with people, and books that keep me winning. 

Alana's book list on helping you escape victimhood and keep you winning

Alana Stott Why did Alana love this book?

This is the story of a young woman who witnessed the worst in the War in Afghanistan, was confronted by demons of post-traumatic stress, and fought for her life to become stronger than ever. Her storytelling is raw and real and she will gift you with that little bit of extra grit and determination we sometimes need to ignore the voices of negativity. 

By Kelsi Sheren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brass & Unity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a woman who witnessed the worst in the War in Afghanistan, was confronted by demons of post-traumatic stress, and fought for her life to become stronger than ever.

As seen on:
* JOCKO Podcast Episode #381
* The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show "Post Traumatic Growth and Resiliency"
* Lex Fridman Podcast Episode #230

Fresh out of high school, Kelsi Sheren, a diminutive nineteen-year-old woman, sought to join the military to help liberate those oppressed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. While she was often the smallest person in basic training, she proved she had the biggest…


Book cover of The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan

Grant Lock Author Of Shoot Me First: A Cattleman in Taliban Country. Twenty-Four Years in the Hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From my list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban.

Why am I passionate about this?

To stop us from reopening a school for girls, a mob of angry and well-armed Pashtun men threatened to shoot my workers. I surprised myself. “If you are going to shoot my workmen, you will have to shoot me first!” My wife, Janna, and I bred cattle in outback Australia. On the weekends we played tennis. Yet, in 1984 we began a twenty-four-year adventure battling corruption, injustice, and disadvantage in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I dug wells, built schools, and helped restore the eyesight of thousands of Afghans; until I myself became blind.

Grant's book list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban

Grant Lock Why did Grant love this book?

The three Pashtun virtues are hospitality, honor, and revenge. Pashtun hospitality epitomizes human warmth and generosity but Pashtun honor and revenge make a chilling and toxic cocktail. Christina Lamb gives a human face to the destruction wrought by the then unknown ultraconservative political and religious faction led by the one-eyed cleric, Mohammad Omar. Lamb was there before and after the tragedy. A great read. Will history repeat itself?

By Christina Lamb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sewing Circles of Herat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Lamb’s long experience as a journalist is a solid stage upon which to build the story of her voyage through Afghanistan, told with a deep, loving honesty.” — Montreal Gazette (Canada)

A brilliant British war correspondent who has spent ten years in Afghanistan gives a first hand report on the war and its genesis.

Award-winning journalist Christina Lamb chronicles the human stories behind the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lamb spent the last phase of the Soviet War in Pakistan, relying on her friendship with exiled Afghans to smuggle her in and out of Jalalabad. Many of these friends…


Book cover of Craig & Fred: A Marine, a Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other

Teresa J. Rhyne Author Of Poppy in the Wild: A Lost Dog, Fifteen Hundred Acres of Wilderness, and the Dogged Determination that Brought Her Home

From my list on rescue dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been passionate about dogs and rescue dogs in particular since I got my first little rescue pup for Christmas when I was six years old. Tippy, a perfect blend of poodle and cocker spaniel, lived until my second year of law school. I’ve volunteered with several rescue organizations, transported dogs, fostered dogs, adopted dogs, and, oh, I also wrote three books about rescue dogs. Dogs are my passion, and books are a very close second, so naturally, dog books are kind of my thing. I hope you love these books as much as I do.

Teresa's book list on rescue dogs

Teresa J. Rhyne Why did Teresa love this book?

This may be the ultimate stray dog rescue story. Craig (the human) rescues Fred (the dog) from a war zone in a remote part of Afghanistan. What Craig goes through to bring this dog home to the US is astounding. And Fred is one of those instantly lovable, charming dogs whose personality shines through in Craig’s writing. In many ways, this book crosses genres—dog book, memoir, adventure, military, and thriller (I held my breath while reading several times!).

By Craig Grossi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Craig & Fred as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A heartwarming story of a stray dog and a U.S. Marine who met under the unlikeliest circumstances in Afghanistan—and who changed each other’s lives forever.

As part of an elite team of Marines, Craig Grossi was sent on his most dangerous assignment to the Sangin District of Afghanistan. He expected to face harsh conditions and violence from Taliban fighters.

What he didn’t expect was to meet a stray dog, with a big goofy head and little legs—a dog all on his own, filthy and covered in bugs, in a bomb-ridden district, but who carried himself with confidence. And even though…


Book cover of Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan

Denis Dragovic Author Of No Dancing, No Dancing: Inside the Global Humanitarian Crisis

From my list on the tragedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived, breathed, and studied peace and conflict since 1998, but what I’m most passionate about is the plight of the people. I spent over a decade in countries such as Iraq, Sudan, and East Timor providing humanitarian assistance followed by another decade writing and working on the consequences of wars. The more we understand the impact of wars the better humanity will be placed to stop them. That is why I chose five beautifully written books that will be difficult to put down while offering an array of voices and perspectives that together provide insights into how we can better respond to outbreaks of war.

Denis' book list on the tragedy of war

Denis Dragovic Why did Denis love this book?

Ann Jones’ memoir Kabul in Winter takes the reader inside the lives of Afghan women following the overthrow of the Taliban in the early 2000s. The book includes the necessary tour of Afghanistan’s history taking the reader through major events alongside the more valuable contribution of her time in Kabul. The book’s beauty lies in Jones’ ability to explain the plight of Afghan women in the complex context of entrenched cultural norms and religious beliefs without relying on simplistic Western cliches. We get to understand that there is no easy solution, no quick fix, because the entire society is structured around an uber patriarchy. I loved how her writing didn’t hold back and how her passion shines through along with her anger and despair.

By Ann Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kabul in Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon after the bombs stopped falling on Kabul, award-winning journalist and women's rights activist Ann Jones set out for the shattered city. This is her trenchant report from the city where she spent the next four winters working in humanitarian aid. Investigating the city's prison for women, retraining Kabul's long - silenced English teachers, Jones enters the lives of everyday women and men and reveals through small events some big disjunctions: between the new Afghan "democracy" and the still-entrenched warlords, between American promises and performance, between what's boasted of and what is. At once angry, profound, and starkly beautiful, "Kabul…


Book cover of The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland

Steven Nightingale Author Of The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace: 64 Stories

From my list on by or about world-changing women.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first person I ever trusted in the world was a high-school English teacher, a woman named Margaret Muth. She plucked me out of a trash-can, literally and figuratively. When I was seventeen years old, she told me: “Books will teach you. They will help you. Choose books the way you choose the risks you take in life: do it patiently, thoughtfully. Then give yourself to them with a whole heart. This is how you learn.” This is one sentence, from one teacher, given to a teenager of decidedly crude and primitive material—one sentence that changed his whole life for the better. Bless her. 

Steven's book list on by or about world-changing women

Steven Nightingale Why did Steven love this book?

An extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. Saira Shah recounts her journeys in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the context of her upbringing in a family with deep roots in the region. She is on the ground during the rise of the Taliban and the fight against the Russian occupation, and the story is hair-raising, enlightening, revelatory, informed, and insightfully detailed. Ms. Shah went on to make the celebrated documentary Beneath the Veil, risking her life daily to shoot video during the first phase of Taliban control. Unforgettable, and indispensable for understanding Afghanistan.

By Saira Shah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Storyteller's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine that a jewel-like garden overlooking Kabul is your ancestral home. Imagine a kitchen made fragrant with saffron strands and cardamom pods simmering in an authentic pilau. Now remember that you were born in London, your family in exile, and that you have never seen Afghanistan in peacetime.

These are but the starting points of Saira Shah’s memoir, by turns inevitably exotic and unavoidably heartbreaking, in which she explores her family’s history in and out of Afghanistan. As an accomplished journalist and documentarian–her film Beneath the Veil unflinchingly depicted for CNN viewers the humiliations forced on women under Taliban rule–Shah…


Book cover of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

Grant Lock Author Of Shoot Me First: A Cattleman in Taliban Country. Twenty-Four Years in the Hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From my list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban.

Why am I passionate about this?

To stop us from reopening a school for girls, a mob of angry and well-armed Pashtun men threatened to shoot my workers. I surprised myself. “If you are going to shoot my workmen, you will have to shoot me first!” My wife, Janna, and I bred cattle in outback Australia. On the weekends we played tennis. Yet, in 1984 we began a twenty-four-year adventure battling corruption, injustice, and disadvantage in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I dug wells, built schools, and helped restore the eyesight of thousands of Afghans; until I myself became blind.

Grant's book list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban

Grant Lock Why did Grant love this book?

Did the British learn anything from Napoleon’s fatal retreat from Moscow in 1812? Exactly three decades later the greatest debacle in British military history occurred in Afghanistan, the graveyard of conquerors. William Dalrymple serves up a satisfying slice of history, complete with spies, counter-espionage, intrigue, hubris, and folly, and provides context for the emergence of the Taliban. The wise will heed the timeless saying, “The only time Pashtuns stop fighting, is when they go to war.”

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Return of a King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2013

'Dazzling' Sunday Times
'Magnificent' Guardian
'Sparkling' Daily Telegraph

In the spring of 1839, Britain invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.

On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of…


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