April 13, 2009
New Book on Late Afghan Hero Published by Webster UniversityST. LOUIS, April13, 2009 - He was assassinated by Al-Qaeda operatives 48 hours before the attacks of 9/11, but few Americans even know his name. Ahmad Shah Massoud's life as a hero to the people of Afghanistan, a progressive advocate of women's rights and an ally to the U.S. and the West are chronicled in the latest Webster University Press book, Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader, by Webster University alumnae Marcela Grad (B.A. Spanish, 1993). "Massoud" is a collection of stories Grad gathered through interviews conducted with Afghans and others who knew the late Afghan leader. Massoud worked to liberate Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion and the Taliban and warned the U.S. government of an imminent attack by the Taliban. One such warning is featured in the book — "A letter to the United States," that he sent in 1998.
Masood Khalili, current Afghan ambassador to Turkey, was a close friend to Massoud and is prominently featured in the book. He had the following to say about Grad’s book: “Afghanistan now and in the future would gain a lot from every page of your book and the world powers may get their lessons to not repeat their mistakes of abandoning Afghanistan.”
Award-winning author and journalist Sebastian Junger spent time as a reporter in Afghanistan and profiled Massoud for National Geographic just months before the leader’s assassination. Junger also authored The Perfect Storm and reviewed Grad's book.
"I have been reading Marcela Grad's extraordinary book and I just wanted to say - having met Massoud and being deeply involved in Afghanistan - that I think she has performed a great service to us all. Massoud was one of those pivotal figures who has changed history around him and affected us forever. Many people have written about Massoud, of course - including me - but Marcela's approach is completely unique. She has effectively done an oral history of Massoud, and her book is undoubtedly the richest and most comprehensive collection of information on that man that exists. It was a book that really, really needed to be done. And I think it will interest people for precisely the reason that both Marcela and I were swept into the Massoud story: He was just one of those people in history who manages to magnetize everyone around him. It's a hard thing to explain - I've tried, and failed - but Marcela has found dozens of people who knew Massoud far better than I did. What they have to say about this man is of profound importance in the post-9/11 world."
Grad will deliver remarks and take questions from the audience at a free event to be held Tuesday, April 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., on the campus of Webster University, University Center Sunnen Lounge, 175 Edgar Road, Webster Groves, Missouri. Books will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow. Check www.webster.edu/wup for information on other author events.
Look for Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader on Amazon.com. Review copies and author interviews are available by contacting Christine Wells Eason, director of media relations, Webster University, at: 314-968-5976, 314-565-5745 or email@example.com.
Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader
Paperback, 6 x 9
About the AuthorWebster University alumnae Marcela Grad is a writer and translator born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She collected the stories in this book during a period of three years in which she interviewed Afghans as well as people around the world who knew and accompanied Massoud in the long resistance against the Soviets and the Taliban.
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of more than 100 campuses. Its 20,000-plus student population represents almost 150 nationalities. The University’s core values include excellence in teaching, joining theory and practice, small class sizes, and educating students to be lifelong independent learners, fully prepared to participate in an increasingly international society.
Since opening its first campus overseas in Geneva in 1978, Webster has become a recognized leader and innovator in global education, with an international presence that now includes campuses in London; Vienna; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. Webster also has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan.