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Publisher's Summary

The extraordinary story of the women who took on the Islamic State and won.

"The Daughters of Kobani is an unforgettable and nearly mythic tale of women's power and courage. The young women profiled in this book fought a fearsome war against brutal men in impossible circumstances - and proved in the process what girls and women can accomplish when given the chance to lead. Brilliantly researched and respectfully reported, this book is a lesson in heroism, sacrifice, and the real meaning of sisterhood. I am so grateful that this story has been told." (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love)

"Absolutely fascinating and brilliantly written, The Daughters of Kobani is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand both the nobility and the brutality of war. This is one of the most compelling stories in modern warfare." (Admiral William H. McRaven, author of Make Your Bed)

In 2014, Northeastern Syria might have been the last place you would expect to find a revolution centered on women's rights. But that year, an all-female militia faced off against ISIS in a little town few had ever heard of: Kobani. By then, the Islamic State had swept across vast swaths of the country, taking town after town and spreading terror as the civil war burned all around it. From that unlikely showdown in Kobani emerged a fighting force that would wage war against ISIS across Northern Syria alongside the United States. In the process, these women would spread their own political vision, determined to make women's equality a reality by fighting - house by house, street by street, city by city - the men who bought and sold women. 

Based on years of on-the-ground reporting, The Daughters of Kobani is the unforgettable story of the women of the Kurdish militia that improbably became part of the world's best hope for stopping ISIS in Syria. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews, best-selling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon introduces us to the women fighting on the front lines, determined to not only extinguish the terror of ISIS but also prove that women could lead in war and must enjoy equal rights come the peace. 

In helping to cement the territorial defeat of ISIS, whose savagery toward women astounded the world, these women played a central role in neutralizing the threat the group posed worldwide. In the process they earned the respect - and significant military support - of US Special Operations Forces.

Rigorously reported and powerfully told, The Daughters of Kobani shines a light on a group of women intent on not only defeating the Islamic State on the battlefield but also changing women's lives in their corner of the Middle East and beyond. 

This audiobook includes a PDF containing a map, acknowledgments, and a guide to the story's characters.

©2021 Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Impressively reported. . . . It’s a story not only about the warriors who battled ISIS against all odds, but also a reminder of the ways in which the world is still divided by gender - and how that’s changing in Syria, the Middle East, and the world at large.” (Town and Country)

“Handling difficult topics with adroit respect and care, Lemmon offers a story that’s eminently relatable and speaks to the ongoing fight for women’s rights the world over. This is a story that needed to be told and needs to be heard. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in current events and women’s history.” (Library Journal, starred review) 

“Lemmon’s books . . . have extolled heroic women fighting sexism in the Islamic world. Now she’s back with The Daughters of Kobani, a remarkable true story about an all-female Kurdish militia who helped drive ISIS from northern Syria.” (CNN.com) 

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What listeners say about The Daughters of Kobani

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WOW!

Where to begin... I listened to this story while snow shoeing through a winter storm on top of a mountain. I do not understand war and have never been interested in gaining any knowledge about its strategies, routes and leaders.

However, this story will be on I will listen to again. Empowering, moving, gripping, shocking... A deeply moving, page turner of a story. Absolutely a must read for every woman and man on the planet. I feel like my life will never be the same.

Thank you Gayle Tzemach Lemmon for bringing us this story of the warriors, angels, amazing women and human beings.

Highly recommend this book.

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  • Patricia Tranquilli
  • 2021-04-15

Things the Media don't explain

We know so little about what really goes on around the world. With 24 hr sound bite news we never get the true picture of the struggles of others. These women were amazing. Thank you for this book and being able to gain insite and understanding of the Kurdish culture and fight for a seat at the table

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  • R. Song
  • 2021-04-13

More a Feminist Screed Than a Story

Short book that dedicates many pages to buttressing militant feminism and communism than describing the immediate actions of its protagonists. Won't change any minds and doesn't do the Kurdish women justice.

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  • Yahya
  • 2021-04-09

Very informative but one-sided.

The book is a compilation of narratives of YPJ (women's protection units) soldiers, particularly their fight against ISIS and for Kurdish self-rule. It does a great job explaining the ideological struggle motivating the PKK and its military branches: YPG and YPJ. It also emphasizes the importance of gender equality to these fighters and to the anti-regime resistance leadership in the SDF. It was quite interesting to understand the ideological lineage of the PKK, from Abdullah Ocalan to Murray Bookchin, the anarchist theorist behind "social ecology." This explains the appreciation that libertarian leftists and anarcho-communists have for the PKK. 

On the other hand, a critical reader would be able to read between the lines and see the pro-U.S. interventionist undertones across the book. The book advances a one-sided narrative of Kurds and PKK as liberationist heroes. It avoids presenting their dirty laundry like their ethnic bias against Arabs in SDF or past terrorist activities recorded by Amnesty International and others. The book also demonizes Russian intervention and the Assad regime one-sidedly. Both of these governments warrant severe criticisms for their human rights abuses. However, Lemmon speaks fondly of the American military agents she accompanied as she recorded her experiences with the YPJ soldiers. She also overplays the Kurdish and American hand in debilitating ISIS forces, and underplays the Russian and Assad regime's hand in doing so. 

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-06

Powerful Story

I am filled with wonder, awe and admiration after reading this book. It's an incredible journey.

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  • Lorri A. Peltz-Lewis
  • 2021-03-26

Strong women and real hero’s!

The story was hard to listen to, but made me understand the REAL warriors. This is not a Hollywood movie, this is the real battle in Syria. Listen and learn. Great performance and high respect for the women fighting real battles.

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  • David H. Chamberlin
  • 2021-03-24

Revealing

This book opened my eyes to historical events that up to this point I only knew through limited media coverage. The story and courage of these women is inspiring!

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  • Kensington Jane
  • 2021-03-23

Real and Real-Life

The book reads with the tension of an action movie where women are the heroines. Except this is real and real-life. The part of the book where the female fighters of the YPJ were being hugged by the mothers, grandmothers, and daughters they helped save from Daesh was especially moving.

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  • Tana
  • 2021-03-12

Good story

I love the real life story of these women. She makes the story personal by telling it from the perspective of one of the fighters. But it's just good.
There isn't enough of a hero narrative to make you love the main character, and not enough of the politics or history to make you pick a side. Politically correct and factual, but not compelling enough to fully immerse myself in the story.

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  • Tony L.
  • 2021-03-08

Read or listen - this is an important snd stunning book!

The author provides a thoughtful overview and well-grounded observations of a deeply complex region. I was stunned at the depth of strategic planning, courage, and sacrifice these women made on behalf of their people and communities. And for America, finally, some elements of our 20 years of war make good sense. We all know our history with the Kurds. So much promise and blood. For them, our decades of “alliance” has been a blessing and a curse. But our policy people and our men & women on the ground and in the air, made a difference.
And, from now on, I’m reading whatever Gayle T. Lemmon writes.

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  • Tomas Thorhard
  • 2021-03-03

a most read.

one of the most important books I've listened to. and crucial in the spreading of the story of the women's struggle.
"shaheed namirin"