AUTHOR | GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the two New York Times bestsellers and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She regularly appears on CNN, PBS, MSNBC and NPR, and she has spoken on national security topics at the United Nations, Aspen Security Forum, Clinton Global Initiative and TED. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Ms. Lemmon lives in Maryland with her family.
The author’s two previous New York Times bestsellers were both set in the Middle East - - The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011) about a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban and Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015). Ashley’s War is currently being developed into a major motion picture at Universal with Reese Witherspoon producing and The Daughters of Kobani has been optioned by HiddenLight Productions, the first project from Hillary Clinton’s new production company. Lemmon speaks Spanish, German, and French and is conversant in Dari and Kurmanci.
Ms. Lemmon made many visits to Syria to speak to these women soldiers and her descriptions of their actions in the women’s militia protection units are based on what she saw and heard in hundreds of hours of interviews, not simply researched on-line.
She is passionate about telling the world about the brave exploits of these young Syrian women who share an ideology that, for a country to be free, the women, not just the men, must be free.
This is the extraordinary true story of the young Kurdish women in Syria who decided to fight ISIS in order to reclaim their lives and their bodies, saving their families, homes and towns in the process. It is almost unthinkable that these civilian homebodies, kept by culture from choosing a mate or pursuing higher education, freely became fierce soldiers to defeat the brutality of the ISIS state and prove that contemporary female warriors can be heroes, too.
No matter your political bent, you will be astonished by the ferocity and magnitude of the battle on the ground, fought excruciatingly from house to house, street by street, by women using outdated weapons and limited supplies. While dealing with the ugly realities of battling ISIS, the author lets us see the absolute determination of these young women to rid their homeland of the terrorists who rape, torture, buy and sell them. We're shown what it's like to live as a woman on the other side of the world, limited by religious and cultural beliefs and fearing sexual slavery by armed invaders – and then taking up arms to rid your homeland of these terrorists.
Overarching the war on the ground are the geopolitical realities which leave the U.S. caught between loyalty to an ally who is wary of Syria vs. humanitarian sympathies. The arms-length assistance which the U.S. ultimately provides to these anti-ISIS boots-on-the-ground militia is useful, but it is interesting to see the machinations which take place to preserve a certain optics, even when all of the players clearly know what is taking place.
The Kurdish women who are the focus of this book are a living testament to the desire of all human beings to secure basic rights and live in equality. In the process of taking on a most brutal foe, these women earned the respect of the men they often commanded in battle and that of U.S. Special Operations Forces.