The Punishment of Virtue

  • by Sarah Chayes
  • Narrated by Renée Raudman
  • 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

As a National Public Radio reporter covering the last stand of the Taliban in Afghanistan's southern borderland, Sarah Chayes became deeply immersed in the attempt to rebuild a broken nation. With her NPR assignment finished in early 2002, she left reporting to help turn around the country's fortunes, accepting a job running a nonprofit founded by President Hamid Karzai's brother. With remarkable access to leading players in the postwar government, Chayes witnessed a tragic, perverse turn of events: the U.S. government and armed forces allowing and abetting the return to power of corrupt militia commanders to the country. In addition, the reinfiltration of Taliban forces was supported by a U.S. ally, Pakistan. In this dramatic account of her four years on the ground, working with Afghanis to restore their country to order and establish democracy, Chayes opens Americans' eyes to the sobering realities of this vital front in the war on terror.


What the Critics Say

"Absorbing...necessary, even" (Kirkus)
"[Chayes'] hands-on experience as a deeply immersed reporter and activist gives her [book] a practical scope and persuasive authority." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pronunciation errors abound!

This is an interesting book, but the narrator commits a range of terrible pronunciation errors that make me wonder who the lazy sloths are who produce these things. Saying "calvary" for "cavalry" (which makes military forces sound like Christian zealots), pronouncing "NGO" not as three discrete letters but as a single Zulu-sounding acronym, even pronouncing "similarly" as "similarily." And let's not get started on names. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Mujahedeen leader, becomes Gulbyudin Hekmatire (roughly rhyming with Rasputin McIntyre). I don't know if this stuff bothers you, but it drives me crazy.
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- Joshua

an odd hybrid

This really should have been two books, or maybe a book and an article. Much of the book is taken up with Central Asian history of the past 1500 years or so. It's interesting in its own right, but not really very enlightening concerning the main topic of the book, which is the situation in Afghanistan following the U.S. invasion and the fall of the Taliban. The latter is timely and interesting, but could be covered in something article-length. As a consequence of having the two mixed together, it's a difficult listen.
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- S. Weaver

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio