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All We Leave Behind

A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others
Written by: Carol Off
Narrated by: Carol Off
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction
Finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

An incredible work of non-fiction that reads like a thriller, All We Leave Behind is the true story of a family fleeing the death sentence of a ruthless warlord, written by the journalist who broke all her own rules to get them to safety.  

In 2002, Carol Off and a CBC TV crew encountered an Afghan man with a story to tell. Asad Aryubwal became a key figure in their documentary on the terrible power of thuggish warlords who were working arm in arm with Americans and NATO troops. When Asad publicly exposed the deeds of one of the warlords, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, it set off a chain of events from which there was no turning back. Asad, his wife, Mobina, and their five children had to flee their home.

The family faced an uncertain future. But their dilemma compelled a journalist to cross the lines of disinterested reporting and become deeply involved. Together, they navigated the Byzantine international bureaucracy and the decidedly unwelcoming policies of Stephen Harper's government until the family finally found a new home.

Carol Off's powerful account traces not only one family's journey and fraught attempts to immigrate to a safe place; it also illustrates what happens when a journalist becomes irrevocably caught up in the lives of the people in her story and finds herself unable to leave them behind.

©2017 Carol Off (P)2017 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

"The CBC reporter steers by her own conscience and that is to tell the story from the point of view of the powerless." ( Vancouver Sun)
"One of our country's finest and most prolific journalists.... Off's journalistic style reveals a deep humanity in the stories she tells about Canadians and people around the world." [Richard Hardacre, ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) national president]

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Powerful, frustrating, gripping

An incredible story, written beautifully, read perfectly. I have a new respect for Afghanistan's history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A movie waiting to happen

This book needs to be made into a movie. It would be fantastic if the refugee family could benefit from the hell they have had to live through.

Carol Off has done an amazing job writing this and following through to help this family.

I believe that if Carol had not interviewed this man, became connected to him and his family and most of all written, so honestly about what became of her interview, this family would not be alive even if they had conformed to whatever government was in power.

The facts and stats Carol uncovers are astounding. This will open your eyes to what refugees go through, despite all the help from good meaning people and organizations.

A must read for those who want to help, more so for those who don’t think we should.

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A story like no other

A brilliantly written account of a refugee family and their long struggle to enter Canada

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  • IAN
  • 2018-09-03

Quite a journey

I have been listening to Carol Off for years so when her book arrived I was happy to read. Her experience is vast but this account gives me more details into her reporting life and a reporters effect on her subjects. Very well done. I’ll continue anew to listen. Thanks.