The intimate and riveting chronicle of an extraordinarily courageous Afghan-American teenager coming of age in post-9/11 Afghanistan.
Building on two acclaimed radio documentaries aired on This American Life, Hyder Akbar tells how his ordinary suburban California life was turned upside-down after 9/11. Hyder’s father, a scion of an Afghan political family, sold his business―a hip-hop clothing store in Oakland―and left for Afghanistan, where he became President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman and later, the governor of Kunar, a rural province.
Obsessed since youth with a country he had never even visited, seventeen-year-old Hyder convinced his father to let him join him on three successive summers. Working alongside his father at the presidential palace and in Kunar has given Hyder a rare front-row seat at the creation of a democratic government in Afghanistan.
In Come Back to Afghanistan, Hyder interweaves his personal journey―a teenager struggling with his identity in his parents’ homeland―with a dramatic behind-the-scenes account of political and civilian life in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Uncommonly wise and insightful, Hyder travels from palaces to prisons and from Kabul to the borderlands, revealing Afghanistan as readers have never seen or understood it before.