Joel Hafvenstein is an international development consultant, an analyst of South and Central Asia, and a writer. He has written on Afghanistan for The New York Times and Commonweal magazine, and been interviewed on National Public Radio's "The Story." OPIUM SEASON is his first book.
"A wrenching account of lofty hopes and bitter disappointments."--The New York Times "A strong first book laden with urgent information and stinging political insights."-- Booklist "His personal narrative gracefully introduces this complex and troubled land."-- Publishers Weekly "The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 has resulted in another wretched chapter in the recent history of that volatile country. Six years after the overthrow of its fundamentalist Taliban government, chaos and uncertainty characterize daily life there. Notwithstanding elections that have led to the establishment of a nominal central government in Kabul, the country continues to exhibit all the hallmarks of a failed state. The opium trade has once again become the most important source of revenue in Afghanistan, where a combination of opium growers and the so-called warlords exercise more political and socioeconomic control than do the country's elected officials and its government. This very readable and engaging book recounts the harshness of daily life in Afghanistan, as seen from the vantage point of an American who spent a year in the country's rugged Helmand province for an aid organization seeking to train farmers to cultivate other crops than opium. The author, who has published articles on Afghanistan, describes in a diary format his experience of violent political intrigue and criminal alliances resulting in the murderous drug trafficking, and the impossibility of his mission, in that country. Recommended for public libraries."-Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, Library Journal