DPL BAM! Book Club
If you Love reading biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs of strong and remarkable women, then the BAM! Book Club is for you!
April 29, 2019
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Staley Conference Room
The first book will be Little Women of Baghlan by Susan Fox
A forgotten diary...Afghanistan during the Cold War... and a young American volunteer with a story that rivals the intrigue and suspense of any novel. Jo Carter deploys to Baghlan with the Peace Corps in 1968, before the Russian invasion or the emergence of the Taliban. From her plane window, she views the Hindu Kush Mountains, desolate and barren. On the ground, Kabul explodes into color and sound. Taxis honk. Busses spew diesel fumes, sharing traffic lanes with donkeys and camels. The air is infused with the aroma of wool, dust,and dung. As the Volunteers tour the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, three Russian MIGS buzz the courtyard, foreshadowing the Soviet invasion of 1989.
With Co-workers Nan and Mary, Jo starts a school of nursing for young Afghan girls. The Volunteers teach in Farsi, deliver babies, and work in a hospital that lacks equipment, trained doctors, and a reliable source of water. They shop the bazaar, and host a Thanksgiving dinner for their Afghan neighbors. They party with a group of near-by German Volunteers. Jo adopts a juie puppy she names Alex.
On Christmas Eve 1968, Jo walks the frozen mud streets of Baghlan. Overhead, the Apollo 8 astronauts orbit the moon. In January, the women travel on vacation to India, prompting the PeaceCorps director in Kabul to dub them the "Little Women of Baghlan." They make a stop at Peshawar Air Base in Pakistan, and Jo attracts the attention of a handsome, charismatic airman. When they return, she reflects on the paradox that is Afghanistan. The Afghans are mired in poverty, yet generous to the point of embarrassment. The men are solicitous of the Volunteers, yet capable of turning a blind eye to the suffering of their wives, daughters, and sisters.The climate is harsh and unforgiving; the Hindu Kush starkly beautiful. During her two-year deployment, Jo fills the pages of a small, compact diary, never dreaming her tiny handwriting will eventually become a significant historical account.
Nearly a half century later, her journal is a bittersweet reminder of a country that has since vanished--a country on the brink of becoming a modern nation. The country Jo once called home has been buried under layers of recent history, and there is little evidence to suggest that such a time or place ever existed. From Amazon.
Gale Biography in Context
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