The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

Penguin Pr. Feb. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780525560685. $27. HIST
In her new book, journalist Lemmon (Ashley’s War) again focuses on the contributions of women in wartime, highlighting the all-female Kurdish militia units who partnered with U.S. armed forces against ISIS in Syria. Indeed, it was a soldier she’d previously worked with while researching Ashley’s War who urged her to take a deeper look at the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). From 2017 to 2020, the author made multiple trips to Syria to interview YPJ members, who served as snipers and frontline commanders, fighting alongside men, all the while demanding that women be considered equal. After following the women through the victory of retaking the ISIS capital of Raqqa, the book ends on a darker note, with the announcement by Donald Trump that the U.S. would pull out of Syria, leaving the country alone to handle an invasion by NATO ally Turkey. Only days later, Turkey launched an offensive aimed at an ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds.
VERDICT 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.
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