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Between Two Worlds

ISBN: 9780578317632
Binding: Paperback
Author: Mehr Khan Williams
Pages: 264
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 12/17/2021

100 % of the proceeds from ‘Between Two Worlds’ will be donated to UNICEF for its life saving work in Afghanistan.* 
(* No portion of the purchase price is tax deductible. Unicef does not endorse any brand, company or service.)


Between Two Worlds is the autobiography of a family set against historical changes taking place in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan from the 16th century to the present day. It takes us on a journey with Pathans of Afghan origin as they circulate across South Asia repeatedly fleeing turbulence in search of security. They find it in the space between two of India's great rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna. But 400 years later, the Partition of India shatters their lives forcing them to rebuild again in a strange new world. Between Two Worlds shows how traumatic changes can transform women's lives and shape their children as they wrestle between old and new values.


Mehr Khan Williams is a journalist, artist and international civil servant. She has written extensively on development and human rights for newspapers and publications around the world. Most of her career was spent working in senior positions at the United Nations, with UNICEF and with international human rights non-governmental organizations.


"Between Two Worlds is the autobiography of a family. But in weaving the personal stories of family members into the canvas of history it becomes something much more-- a humanization of that history and a compelling insight into the realities of migration. From the Pashtun tribes of the 16th century Khorasan, the story follows the author's family to India, through the trauma of Partition to present-day Pakistan and a family diaspora across the globe. Along the way, we meet formidable characters, witness tragedies and triumphs, see their struggles to reconcile old values with new ways of living, and meet the modern generation who often achieve brilliant careers. Between Two Worlds is that rare thing--both a work of scholarship and a work of love." - Peter Adamson, novelist, author and an eminent writer on development issues. Winner of the Royal Society of Literature V.S. Pritchett Memorial Award 2013.

"Pashtun, Pathan, Pakistani, daughter, sister, wife. U.N. official, global citizen, family historian --Mehr Khan Williams narrates the journeys of multiple lives across centuries and the world. The author draws upon Pashtun generological narratives and stories from ancient Afghanistan, the Sultanate period of north India, the colonial era, the partition of British India, a return to the post-colonial Peshawar Valley and beyond. Her family stories document challenges, resilience, and achievement. Wives and daughters claimed new autonomy and life chances. Old histories and intimacies faded in the twenty-first century, even as connections endured across the branches of a now extended trans-national family tree." - Robert Nichols, professor of History at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey.

"In this riveting story of her extraordinary life Mehr Khan Williams takes you on a journey into all her worlds, with grace, humor, pathos and joy, always with a reasoned and reasonable voice. She draws you into her family and her successful international career. It is the story of her peripatetic forbears who crossed what are now international boundaries dividing Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In 1947, they migrated to Pakistan and then spread across the globe. This is a quintessential Pakhtun saga of resilience, honor and lifelong relations that reflect the author's own strengths." - Shuja Nawaz, Distinguished Fellow and founding Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. His new book is The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter US Friendship, and A Tough Neighborhood.