Confessions of a Mullah Warrior (Review)

Book cover for "Confessions of a Mullah Warrior" by Masood Farivar.Title: Confessions of a Mullah Warrior

Author: Masood Farivar

Narrator: Christopher Lane

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 336 (audio length: 10 hours 40 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoirs

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

Masood Farivar was ten years old when his childhood in peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan was shattered by the Soviet invasion in 1979. He fled to Pakistan with his family and came of age in a madrassah for refugees. At eighteen, he defied his parents and returned home to join the jihad, fighting beside not only the Afghan mujahideen but also Arab and Pakistani volunteers. Farivar was stationed at Tora Bora and spent the next two years training for, fighting in, and reporting on the conflict. After the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, Farivar made his way from the caves of Tora Bora to Lawrenceville School, a private academy in suburban New Jersey, where he spent a year shoring up his academic credentials before moving on to Harvard. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in history and politics, Farivar traveled the United States by car and finally moved to New York City to pursue a career in journalism. During his ten years in the city, he witnessed the horror of 9/11, made several heartbreaking trips home to visit his family, and was ultimately propelled home for good in 2007. He now serves his country by running a national radio program. At a time when the war in Afghanistan is the focus of renewed attention, and its outcome is more crucial than ever to our own security, Farivar draws on his unique experience as a native Afghan, a former mujahideen fighter, and a longtime U.S. resident to provide unprecedented insight into the ongoing collision between Islam and the West. This is a visceral, clear-eyed, and illuminating memoir from an indispensable new voice on the world stage.

This is one of those books where I had such high hopes and expectations, and they simply weren’t met.

I went into Confessions of a Mullah Warrior expecting a tell-all book about life as a mujahideen, and in particular a narrative about how Farivar both got into the “jihad” scene and how he decided to get out. Sadly, this is not really the case; while the book does tell about his life, the motivating factors behind his decisions are often vague or undefined. It’s not really all that clear what makes him decide to go off to fight, and it seems almost accidental when he decides to stop. Unfortunately, this makes for a book that never really gets exciting, and ends up leaving the reader feeling unsatisfied when it’s all over.

As for the audiobook format … Well. The narrator seems to have assumed an accent to try to make the character more authentic, and all it managed to do was distract me. It sounded contrived and actually irritated me so much at the beginning that I almost stopped listening. I eventually learned to ignore it, but this is a heads-up from me that the narration is a hindrance to enjoying the book.

Other than that, Confessions of a Mullah Warrior isn’t a bad read. It’s just not as fascinating or eye-opening as it purports to be.


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.

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