Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on an adventure that has lasted for more than a half-century. In 1961, when she arrived in Kabul with her Afghan bridegroom, authorities took away her American passport. Chesler was now the property of her husband’s family and had no rights of citizenship. Back in Afghanistan, her husband, a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country, reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family’s attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband’s wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth.
Drawing upon her personal diaries, Chesler recounts her ordeal, the nature of gender apartheid—and her longing to explore this beautiful, ancient, and exotic country and culture. Chesler nearly died there but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women’s rights throughout the world.
An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.
About the Author
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York, best-selling author, legendary feminist leader, and psychotherapist. She is co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology, the National Women’s Health Network, and the International Committee for Women of the Wall. Dr. Chesler has lectured and organized women’s rights and human rights campaigns all over the world and has also appeared on outlets such as CNN, Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, The Today Show, Oprah, and multiple NPR programs, including a three year tenure as a regular contributor to NPR’s At the Opera. Her writings have been featured in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The Times of London, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Israel National News, The New York Times, Salon, The Globe and Mail, The London Guardian, and the Jewish and Israeli media. Her archives are at Duke University. She lives in New York City.
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