So Many Enemies, So Little Time
An American Woman in All the Wrong Places
By Elinor Burkett
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060524432, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 2005
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At a time when Americans were so riveted by questions about their place in a newly hostile world and were swearing off air travel, Elinor Burkett did not just take a trip -- she took a headlong dive into enemy territories.
Her yearlong odyssey began with her assignment as a Fulbright Professor teaching journalism in Kyrgyzstan, a faded fragment of Soviet might in the heart of Central Asia -- a place of dilapidated apartments, bizarre food, and demoralized citizens clinging to the safety of Brother Russia. She then journeyed to Afghanistan and Iraq -- where she mingled with tense Iraqis, watching the gathering storm clouds of an American-led invasion -- as well as Iran, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, China, and Vietnam.
Whether she's writing about being served goat's head in a Kyrgyz yurt, checking out bowling alleys in Baghdad, or trying to cook a chicken in a crumbling apartment, Burkett offers an eclectic series of adventures that are alternately comical, poignant, and discomfiting.