Gathering Strength

Conversations with Afghan Women

Non-Fiction - Biography
390 Pages
Reviewed on 04/16/2013
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Author Biography

Peggy Kelsey is a professional photographer who was inspired to begin the Afghan Women’s Project after meeting with a delegation of Afghan women who passed through Austin in 2002. She traveled to Afghanistan the following year and created a photo-documentary chronicling the narrative histories of forty women. In the spring of 2010, she revisited the country to meet new women and gain new insights. She now travels around the country sharing her slide presentations and exhibit. Her book Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women was published in October, 2012 and has received enthusiastic critical acclaim.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Laura Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

“Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women” is a comprehensive, non-fiction compilation of the past and present experiences of the women of Afghanistan. The book begins with a detailed account of the history of Afghanistan as well as its geography. The majority of the book is then comprised of interviews conducted by the author, Peggy Kelsey. The author interviewed Afghan women across all spectra of education, socio-economic status and age. The reader is engulfed with stories about women’s rights and how they have changed, what education is like in Afghanistan and the effects of the Taliban on women, among many other issues. Many of the conversations are heartbreaking as they deal with the issues of rape and war. This book is complete and detailed about all things pertaining to Afghan women.

As a person who takes great interest in the rights of women, I found this book to be extremely interesting yet heartbreaking. The author does an amazing job of writing the women’s stories in a manner that touches your heart. You can’t help but feel for these women. However, Kelsey also interviews Afghan women who are leaders and are working to change the dynamics in Afghanistan, so the conversations aren’t all negative. In fact, many are quite uplifting. After reading and digesting this book, I believe that “Gathering Strength” would be the perfect supplement to a college level course studying the subject. It would also be an excellent book for anyone who is interested in learning more details about the lives of Afghan women, past, present and future.