Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OMNI AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN BOOK FORUM at 6 p.m. November 6, 2009, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas



The books for this Forum discuss the complicated history and factional rivalries that have shaped Afghanistan,imperial—British, Soviet, and US--forays into Afghanistan and South and Central Asia,the role of the CIA, the rise of bin Laden and Taliban, human rights struggles of women in Afghanistan, and much more. The subject has large, urgent meaning for Americans today, as President Obama weighs the heavy decision whether to increase (as General McChrystal recommends) or not increase or decrease troops in Afghanistan ( Vice President Joe Biden’s argument); whether to change from a policy primarily of military force (including assassination of Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders) and occupation, to a criminal approach, arresting and prosecuting Al-Qaeda; or to one of diplomacy and assistance. These books help us to understand the history of Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, knowledge essential to a citizen who wishes to be informed in order to have a voice regarding the costs and the future of this longest war in U.S. history.


Sanaa Riaz: Ali, The Duel (history of Afghanistan)

Jesse Barr: Kolhatkar and Ingalls, Bleeding Afghanistan

Edrene McKay: Chayes, The Punishment of Virtue

Julie Thacker: Rashid, Descent into Chaos


*--Ali, Tariq. The Duel. Simon & Schuster, 2008. (Riaz)

--Bick, Barara. Walking the Precipice. Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

*--Chayes, Sarah The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban. 2006. (McKay)

--Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

AFGHANISTAN 101 by Ehsan Entezar

--Gould, Elizabeth and Paul Fitzgerald. Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story.

--OPIUM SEASON by Joel Hafvenstein

-- Iraq Veterans Against the War and Aaron Glantz. Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations. Haymarket Books, 2008.

--Johnson, Chris and Jolyon Leslie. Afghanistan: The Mirage of Peace. 2004.

*--Kolhatkar, Sonali, and James Ingalls. Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence. 2006. (Barr)

--THREE CUPS of TEA by Greg Mortenson and David Relin

*--Rashid, Ahmed. Descent Into Chaos. Viking, 2008. (Thacker)

--Stewart, Rory. The Places in Between.



Born and raised in rural central Illinois. (1932)

Korean war veteran. (1952-1956)

BS in Journalism 1960, University of Illinois

MS in Education 1970, University of Oregon

TV producer/cinematographer/photographer, University of Illinois,

Xerox Corporation, Government of American Samoa,

University of Michigan Telecommunications consultant

Avocation: wood sculptor


Edrene McKay teaches United States history, Western Civilization, and contemporary history at NorthWest Arkansas Community College and DeVry University Online. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and her specialty is late 19th and early 20th century U.S. history, although in recent years she has focused more on contemporary history.


Sanaa Riaz is a PhD Candidate in the Dept. of Anthropology, University of Arkansas. She has conducted a year and a half of fieldwork on private schools, public schools and madrasas (religious schools) in Karachi, which is also her hometown. Sanaa is the American Association of University Women International Fellow 2008-9. She has taught at high school and college levels in Pakistan and served as a teaching assistant for 2 and a half years for the Anthropology department. She has also taught for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arkansas. Sanaa has contributed book reviews to academic journals and has written over 20 book reviews, articles and opinion pieces for Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English language newspaper.


Julie Thacker is a life-long Arkansan. I was born in Stuttgart AR, and moved to Elaine Ark. when I was about 4 years old. I went to college at ASU in Jonesboro Ark. and graduated in 1976 with a BSE in Art. I have been living in Fayetteville for 30 years, which I think is a better place to live than any other place in Arkansas. I have an adult daughter. I want to do this forum because I believe that evil thrives when good people do nothing. I consider it my civic duty to do this forum.

Dick Bennett

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