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The Places In Between

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The Places In Between Cover

ISBN13: 9780156031561
ISBN10: 0156031566
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A brilliant account of a death defying walk through Afghanistan.

Rory Stewart's moving, sparsely poetic account of his walk across Afghanistan in January 2002 has been immediately hailed as a classic. Caught between hostile nations, warring factions and competing ideologies, at the time, Afghanistan was in turmoil following the US invasion. Travelling entirely on foot and following the inaccessible, mountainous route once taken by the Mohgul Emperor, Babur the Great, Stewart was nearly defeated by the extreme, hostile conditions. Only due to the help of an unexpected companion and the generosity of the people he met on the way, did he survive to report back with unique insight on a region closed to the world by twenty-four years of war.

Review:

"We never really find out why Stewart decided to walk across Afghanistan only a few months after the Taliban were deposed, but what emerges from the last leg of his two-year journey across Asia is a lesson in good travel writing. By turns harrowing and meditative, Stewart's trek through Afghanistan in the footsteps of the 15th-century emperor Babur is edifying at every step, grounded by his knowledge of local history, politics and dialects. His prose is lean and unsentimental: whether pushing through chest-high snow in the mountains of Hazarajat or through villages still under de facto Taliban control, his descriptions offer a cool assessment of a landscape and a people eviscerated by war, forgotten by time and isolated by geography. The well-oiled apparatus of his writing mimics a dispassionate camera shutter in its precision. But if we are to accompany someone on such a highly personal quest, we want to know who that person is. Unfortunately, Stewart shares little emotional background; the writer's identity is discerned best by inference. Sometimes we get the sense he cares more for preserving history than for the people who live in it (and for whom historical knowledge would be luxury). But remembering Geraldo Rivera's gunslinging escapades, perhaps we could use less sap and more clarity about this troubled and fascinating country." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Stewart relates his encounters with ordinary villagers, security officials, students, displaced Taliban officials, foreign-aid workers, and rural strongmen, and his descriptions of the views and attitudes of those he lived with are presented in frank, unvarnished terms." Booklist

Review:

"Stewart has done a masterly job of relating stories of many of the villages and villagers that he encountered, receiving shelter and food and kindness from strangers. He successfully conveys the intricacies of Afghanistan's culture and tradition." Library Journal

Review:

"Stewart...seems hewn from 19th-century DNA, yet he's also blessed with a 21st-century motherboard. He writes with a mystic's appreciation of the natural world, a novelist's sense of character and a comedian's sense of timing." New York Times

Review:

"Gripping account of a courageous journey, observed with a scholar's eye and a humanitarian's heart." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[This] evocative book feels like a long lost relic of the great age of exploration." Guardian

Review:

"His encounters with Afghans are tragic, touching and terrifying." Daily Telegraph

Review:

"This is traveling at its hardest and travel-writing at its best." David Gilmour

Book News Annotation:

Arriving six weeks after the fall of the Taliban, journalist Stewart set out to walk across Afghanistan, accompanied by a mastiff he named Babur after the Mughal emperor of lore. He recounts the five-week journey in this memoir, describing his encounters with poor villagers, tribal elders, Taliban commanders, Western aid workers, Quranic scholars, and many others across the remote war-torn country. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

In 2001, Rory Stewart set off from Herat to walk to Kabul via the mountains of Ghor in central Afghanistan. This is literary travel writing, but with a greater element of adventure and danger. It is an account of what it is like to travel painfully and slowly on foot in an alien and hostile landscape.

Synopsis:

In January 2002, Rory Stewart survived a walk across Afghanistan by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. In this memoir, he writes about heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers as he makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance.

Synopsis:

In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.

Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map's countless places in between.

About the Author

Rory Stewart has written for the New York Times Magazine, Granta, and the London Review of Books, and is the author of The Places in Between. A former fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the British government for services in Iraq. He lives in Scotland.

Table of Contents

Contents

 

Preface ­xi

The New Civil ­Service 1

Tanks into ­Sticks 6

Whether on the Shores of ­Asia 10

 

Part ­One 15

Chicago and ­Paris 17

Huma 19

Fare ­Forward 23

These ­Boots 30

 

Part ­Two 35

Qasim 37

Impersonal ­Pronoun 44

A Tajik ­Village 48

The Emir of the ­West 50

Caravanserai, Whose ­Portals . . . 56To a Blind Mans ­Eye 62

Genealogies 69

Lest He Returning Chide . . . 74

Crown ­Jewels 85

Bread and ­Water 90

The Fighting Man ­Shall 95

A Nothing ­Man 99

 

Part Three 103

Highland ­Buildings 105

The Missionary ­Dance 112

Mirrored Cats­-­Eye ­Shades 117

Marrying a ­Muslim 120

War ­Dog 127

Commandant Haji (Moalem) Mohsin Khan of ­Kamenj 134

Cousins 141

 

Part Four 145

The Minaret of ­Jam 147

Traces in the ­Ground 157

Between Jam and ­Chaghcharan 161

Dawn ­Prayers 164

Little ­Lord 167

Frogs 172

The Windy ­Place 177 

Part ­Five 183

Name ­Navigation 185

The Greeting of ­Strangers 192

Leaves on the ­Ceiling 197

Flames 200

Zia of ­Katlish 203

The Sacred ­Guest 208

The Cave of ­Zarin 212

Devotions 217

The Defiles of the ­Valley 220

 

Part Six 227

The Intermediate Stages of ­Death 229

Winged ­Footprints 231

Blair and the ­Koran 234

Salt Ground and ­Spikenard 239

Pale Circles in ­Walls 242

@afghangov.org 245

While the Note ­Lasts 250

Part Seven 255

Footprints on the ­Ceiling 257

I Am the ­Zoom 260

Karaman 262

Khalilis ­Troops 266

And I Have ­Mine 270

The Scheme of ­Generation 273

The Source of the Kabul ­River 276

Taliban 279

Toes 285

Marble 289

 

Epilogue 295

 

Acknowledgments 299

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Clyde, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Clyde)
Afghanistan. How many times have I heard that name? It has been repeated so many times it is tempting to think we all know what it means. In reality we don't have a clue. Sure, it's a predominately Islamic country, there's a war, it looks different, and the people don't dress like us. That's about all I knew until read Rory Stewart's book. He walked across Afghanistan! Yes, he did it 2002 when it was not quite the suicidal undertaking it would be today, even for a Scotsman, never mind an American. There was no entourage, no film crew, no bullet proof SUV following him at a reasonable enough distance to make it feel like he was alone. Except for local guides, usually armed, on some parts of the journey, he was alone. This is the reason why this book is so riveting. Unsupported, he had to make his own way by living as any Afghan man would live while traveling, from repeating the elaborate greetings correctly, as required before anything else good can happen, to sleeping on dirt floors in rooms crowded with other guests, and generally adopting every other cultural norm as his own. Before I read this book Afghanistan was the equivalent of a black hole, now when I hear that name I am most likely to picture a scene from Rory Stewart's truly amazing journey, and feel immeasurably better informed for it.
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judyg, August 22, 2012 (view all comments by judyg)
Spellbinding. Through the author's excellent narrative of his experiences, and his great descriptions of the tribal ways, leaders and people, it becomes very clear why we will never "win" the war(s) in these cultures with Western mindsets.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Clyde, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Clyde)
This book contains the unvarnished nitty gritty of reality in a place that can most generously be called foreign. A truly amazing story from a bewildering country that continues to impinge on the national consciousness. Read it, and any mention of the name Afghanistan will conjure up a set of images never before imagined.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780156031561
Author:
Stewart, Rory
Publisher:
Harvest Books
Author:
STEWART, RORY
Subject:
Description and travel
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Asia - General
Subject:
Asia - Central
Subject:
Asia
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
Afghanistan Description and travel.
Subject:
Afghanistan Social life and customs.
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
One 16-page black-and-white photo insert
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.67 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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The Places In Between Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156031561 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "We never really find out why Stewart decided to walk across Afghanistan only a few months after the Taliban were deposed, but what emerges from the last leg of his two-year journey across Asia is a lesson in good travel writing. By turns harrowing and meditative, Stewart's trek through Afghanistan in the footsteps of the 15th-century emperor Babur is edifying at every step, grounded by his knowledge of local history, politics and dialects. His prose is lean and unsentimental: whether pushing through chest-high snow in the mountains of Hazarajat or through villages still under de facto Taliban control, his descriptions offer a cool assessment of a landscape and a people eviscerated by war, forgotten by time and isolated by geography. The well-oiled apparatus of his writing mimics a dispassionate camera shutter in its precision. But if we are to accompany someone on such a highly personal quest, we want to know who that person is. Unfortunately, Stewart shares little emotional background; the writer's identity is discerned best by inference. Sometimes we get the sense he cares more for preserving history than for the people who live in it (and for whom historical knowledge would be luxury). But remembering Geraldo Rivera's gunslinging escapades, perhaps we could use less sap and more clarity about this troubled and fascinating country." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Stewart relates his encounters with ordinary villagers, security officials, students, displaced Taliban officials, foreign-aid workers, and rural strongmen, and his descriptions of the views and attitudes of those he lived with are presented in frank, unvarnished terms."
"Review" by , "Stewart has done a masterly job of relating stories of many of the villages and villagers that he encountered, receiving shelter and food and kindness from strangers. He successfully conveys the intricacies of Afghanistan's culture and tradition."
"Review" by , "Stewart...seems hewn from 19th-century DNA, yet he's also blessed with a 21st-century motherboard. He writes with a mystic's appreciation of the natural world, a novelist's sense of character and a comedian's sense of timing."
"Review" by , "Gripping account of a courageous journey, observed with a scholar's eye and a humanitarian's heart."
"Review" by , "[This] evocative book feels like a long lost relic of the great age of exploration."
"Review" by , "His encounters with Afghans are tragic, touching and terrifying."
"Review" by , "This is traveling at its hardest and travel-writing at its best."
"Synopsis" by , In 2001, Rory Stewart set off from Herat to walk to Kabul via the mountains of Ghor in central Afghanistan. This is literary travel writing, but with a greater element of adventure and danger. It is an account of what it is like to travel painfully and slowly on foot in an alien and hostile landscape.
"Synopsis" by , In January 2002, Rory Stewart survived a walk across Afghanistan by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. In this memoir, he writes about heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers as he makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance.

"Synopsis" by ,
In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.

Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map's countless places in between.

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