Study Questions

1. What do you think Mr. Rich’s point and reason is for writing this book?

2. After Mr. Rich lives through the car bomb explosion in Kabul how did that change Mr. Rich’s outlook on life?

3. What do you think the businessman was trying to get across to Mr. Rich when he told him to remember these four things to survive in Afghanistan. “We Afghans will lie, cheat, steal, and try to kill you. Base all your decisions on these principles and you should do fine.”

4. What is the significance of the irony in the story of the man killing his neighbor and then giving his daughters to the men of the murdered man’s tribe? How is this type of justice different from American justice?

5. Compare the different living and safety conditions between the two larger bases of Bagram and Kandahar and the smaller remote bases. How did the rules vary such as drinking alcohol for the US State Department personal and US Military soldiers? Was that fair?

6. Mr. Rich was quoted in an engineering magazine to say, “the only way Afghanistan will survive is through education”. What does this mean and why is this so important?

7. How did Mr. Rich’s knowledge of Afghanistan history help him in Afghanistan? How did his knowledge of the Quran and Muslim religion help him?

8. How do you think the FOB Smart attack and what Mr. Rich did changed how the military felt about him?

9. What do you think the difference is on how the war is perceived between those on the larger bases and those on the smaller remote bases?

10. Why is it so important to have continuity between military units coming in and going out of Afghanistan?

11. How would you work, build structures and communicate with people who cannot read or write?

12. What is an Adrenaline Rush in a war zone and why is that important? Can that become addictive and harmful to one’s health?

13. Is there any importance to having U.S. civilians working in a war zone? How is this both a negative and positive relationship?
14. Why is it important to educate girls in Afghanistan? What more can be done to educate a higher number of girls?

15. Why are pencils & pens so important to Afghan children?

16. Mr. Rich witnessed his immediate surroundings change dramatically from the safety of living in America to war zone in Afghanistan within a short period of time. How does he respond to these changes?