Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories (Includes Waiting for the Taliban, Previously Available Only as an Eb (Paperback)

Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories (Includes Waiting for the Taliban, Previously Available Only as an Eb Cover Image
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Travel books bring you places. War books bring you tragedy. In Peace Meals, war reporter Anna Badkhen brings us not only an unsparing and intimate history of some of the last decade's most vicious conflicts but also the most human elements that transcend the dehumanizing realities of war: the people, the compassion they scraped from catastrophe, and the food they ate.
Making palpable the day-to-day life during conflicts and catastrophes, Badkhen describes not just the shocking violence but also the beauty of events that take place even during wartime: the spring flowers that bloom in the crater hollowed by an air-to-surface missile, the lapidary sanctuary of a twelfth-century palace besieged by a modern battle, or a meal a tight-knit family shares as a firefight rages outside. Throughout Badkhen's stories, punctuated by recipes from the meals she shared with the people she encountered, emerges the most important lesson she has observed in conflict zones from Afghanistan to Chechnya: that war can kill our friends and decimate our towns, but it cannot destroy our inherent decency, generosity, and kindness--that which makes us human.

About the Author

Anna Badkhen has been writing about conflicts since 2001 for The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She lives in Philadelphia.

Praise For…

“Anna Badkhen writes about war with a beautiful sensuality, connecting us to those otherwise nameless, faceless fighters and indigenous peoples ensnared in its horrors and hardships. Peace Meals takes us into these people’s kitchens, and into their souls.” 

—Norman Ollestad, author of New York Times bestseller Crazy for the Storm

“Anna Badkhen is a hero among women —war correspondent, wife, mother, diplomat, and, with the publication of this book, a sensitive and lyrical human-interest reporter from the outer reaches of the world.  Peace Meals takes us not only into the hearts and homes of some of the least-understood (and most interesting) people in war zones, it fearlessly explores the wrenching moral conflicts every war journalist faces.  This is a beautiful, vivid, gripping book —with some fabulous recipes.”

—Amy Chua, author of World on Fire and Day of Empire

Peace Meals is an extraordinary mosaic built of keen observation and uncommon compassion. So much more than mere war reportage, Badkhen attunes her ear to fundamental questions that war time activities:  what are the causes of hate and what are the measurable and immeasurable  costs of war?   What does it mean to resist, to persist, and when is it worth it?  Badkhen maintains an unswerving gaze not only at the complex subject matters she investigates but also at her own role as a reporter.  Always her conclusions resonant with authenticity and compassion as she renders accounts that neither judge nor praise; neither sensationalize nor diminish.  People are more than their stories, Badkhen asserts line by line.  Because of this Badkhen can find beauty in the brokenness.  She describes a profound generosity evidenced with astonishing regularity.  It comes in the most humble and necessary of human acts:  eating.”

—Gina Ochsner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight

"The philosophical connection is interesting...absorbing observations...An intriguing premise." —Kirkus

"Illuminates the strange, dark history of the past couple of decades—the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and drought-stricken East Africa.  Most chapters chronicle her connections with particular individuals...each character providing insight into local customs and quirks, but more significantly, illustrates and humanizes regional complexities.  Badkhen regularly encounters real danger, but meets it with compassion and graveyard humor...the resulting range of events both large and small is both honest and real." —Publishers Weekly

"Promising...With careful observation, [Badkhen] sees beyond the heartbreaking stories of the families and soldiers, refugees and warlords, she meets.  Her eloquent, honest words tell an in-depth history of recent war, and also make known courageous and resourceful people whose actions, or lack thereof, are forced by circumstance." —Christian Science Monitor

"[A] gritty memoir of Afghanistan and Iraq that focuses not on frontline reportage but on behind-the-scenes kindnesses of local families, many of whom shared their hearths, and their bread, with the foreign journalist. In Peace Meals [Badkhen] uses those simple meals as a window, a graceful way to bear witness to the devastation she was covering. But don't think that her book is about food. It's about humanity." —Entertainment Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781439166505
ISBN-10: 1439166501
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Pages: 368
Language: English