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Photography books filled with pretty pictures are a dime a dozen. The ones that stand out from the pack contain either stunning and innovative photos, or stories compelling enough to give average photos a resonating impact.

Women of Courage: Intimate Stories from Afghanistan (Gibbs Smith, October 2007, $20), is a combination of the two. The book, by documentary photographer and photojournalist Katherine Kiviat and Middle East Correspondent Scott Heidler, pairs simple environmental portraits of Afghan woman from all backgrounds with short interviews about their lives both before and after the overthrow of the Taliban.

From the principal of a girls’ high school, to an abused wife, from Olympic athletes to journalists, actresses, pilots and flight attendants, and even beekeepers, Women of Courage offers a glimpse into the lives and struggles of the women in a changing country.

Lailama Nabizada Fariba Razayee
Afgahn National Army Helicopter Pilot Afghan Judo Olympian

—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor