Zen Under Fire

Elliott, Marianne

  7 Reviews

Living in what is considered to be one of the most dangerous places on earth is not everyone's cup of tea, but for New Zealand lawyer Marianne Elliott, it was the lure of her dream job that took her to Afghanistan to work as a human rights officer for the United Nations. From liaising with tribal leaders and warring factions, to battling bureaucracy and getting to grips with local customs and protocols, the life of a peace advocate is a constant challenge.

In this very personal account of life in a war zone, the author not only recounts the daily struggles of living in such a high-stress environment, but the many difficulties faced by ordinary people. An insightful and inspiring read. [Small font]

Comments from Groups

"Our group had mixed feelings about this book. A very honest portrayal of self weakness ironically highlighting the writer's courage. Very topical. Wellington 18

This was the least liked book that we have had, but it led to a very good discussion. Auckland 287

We would definitely recommend this book.... the author had incredible strength to write so frankly about her experience. Auckland 15

What made this book a more compelling read was what the author revealed about her personal life and her daily struggle with depression and the coping mechanisms she tried to put in place. This book generated a lengthy and interesting discussion. Tauranga 34



Everyone enjoyed this book. They found it very interesting. Small print was challenging.
WELL 047
The book was well-written; gave a clear portrayal of what life is like for the local people, as well as the UN and humanitarian workers. Definitely informs the reader of the difficulties for individuals and aid agencies working in a country with wide-spread conflicts.
NELS 009
In general the book was greatly admired for the skill and honesty of the writing. For some it raised questions about the role of the U.N. in Afghanistan. An excellent read - highly recommended.
3 couldn't put it down, and 3 found it very hard going. Those that read it found her story fascinating, with new insights into the people of Afghanistan.
Interesting and easy to read, and even though Marianne went into great detail it didn't matter - a great insight to the shambles. We had a good discussion.
Wow! What a discussion we had...most folk found it interesting, informative and really worth reading. Well-written if a little bit too much me me me!! What an undertaking though.
AUCK 210
Well-written book, but the fact that her personal life intruded on her work as a human rights lawyer in Afghanistan, tended to irk most of us. We wanted to read more about the experience rather than read all about her angst.