By Gilbert Cruz
Updated February 24, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Journalist Ann Jones — who has previously written about women and violence — flew to Kabul in 2002 to help Afghan widows and to train teachers. She found a country devastated by decades of war, the world’s worst educational system, and a profound disconnect between the statements of the Bush administration and the sad truth on the ground. Afghanistan, she says, is still a place where female adolescents are married off to older men and are subject to the violent whims of husbands, fathers, and brothers. Kabul in Winter, an illuminating and complex book, can be summed up in one of its simplest statements: ”This is not politics…. This is not one regime…. This is patriarchy.”