by Richard MacIntyre (Virginia): For a realistic, dramatic, and shocking view of what it was like for Afghans to flee their nation, even before the Taliban took over, read this book.

My Vietnam veteran friend, Bill Shugarts, passed this book along to me. He, too, has been very active in helping Afghan SIV’s and families escape the tragedy of today’s Afghanistan and find refuge in the US.

Matthieu Aikins is a Canadian/Japanese whose looks can pass as Afghan, so as a journalist he determines to travel with his good friend Omar who is in an Afghan family that is desperate to escape. Omar previously served as a driver and translator for the US military in Afghanistan.

You may have read of others, or even related with others who faced similar difficulties, but this book lays out the uncertainties, personal risks, disappointments, and challenges of trying to access a new life elsewhere. I doubt any other book can portray the many issues more thoroughly and emotionally.

The first edition of “The Naked Don’t Fear the Water,” was published this year in Great Britain by Fitzcarraldo Editions. The title is a Dari proverb, and an allegorical allusion to the challenges faced by refugees, but not literally about naked fearing the water. So if you want to really feel the life-threatening emotions, and remember a recent major challenge in world history, do read this book.

~ Richard MacIntyre