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When Toby Ralph joined a UN team assisting preparations for Afghanistan's 2009 presidential election, he didn't quite know what he was getting into. In a country unaccustomed to fair and free processes, the resistance he encountered to the idea democracy ranged from corruption and ineptitude to violence.

When Toby Ralph joined a UN team assisting preparations for Afghanistan's 2009 presidential election, he didn't quite know what he was getting into. In a country unaccustomed to fair and free processes, the resistance he encountered to the idea democracy ranged from corruption and ineptitude to violence. Along the way, he found AK-47s stuffed into the couch at his lodgings, Taliban wearing tennis shoes, and press conferences that descended into farce. Rocket fire rattled the guesthouse walls. A candlelit diner required three rounds of security checks. Ralph's wryly humorous account of his experiences as electoral adviser in a war zone makes voting for the Australian Senate look like a cakewalk.

'Forthright and darkly humorous ... [Ralph] provides a bleakly intriguing, occasionally absurdist take on the latest in a long line of fraught attempts by outsiders to influence this war-torn country.' Canberra Times

'Written in a flowing, irreverent style that takes no prisoners.' Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

Reviews

While there have been numerous recent accounts by Westerners in Afghanistan, few have been as forthright and darkly humorous ... [Ralph] provides a bleakly intriguing, occasionally absurdist take on the latest in a long line of fraught attempts by outsiders to influence this war-torn country.

Canberra Times

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143570585

    November 20, 2013

    Penguin

    144 pages

    RRP $9.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742537108

    July 16, 2012

    Penguin eBooks

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