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4 Hawthorne World History- Afghanistan and Pakistan

This title in other editions

The Places In Between


The Places In Between Cover

ISBN13: 9780156031561
ISBN10: 0156031566
Condition: Standard
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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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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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Doreen, January 10, 2010 (view all comments by Doreen)
An insightful journey walking alone across Afghanistan (from Herat to Kabul)the night after the fall of the Taliban. A very humane and enlightening book about that part of the world. I absolutely could not put it down and read it in about 6 hours - my husband read it immediately afterward and felt the same. Rory Stewart has been called a crazy Scotsman for this, yet the people he meets in the "places in between" on the map are touching and informative. I literally cried at the ending.
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featherbooks, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by featherbooks)
Although it has been several years since I read Rory Stewart's book, it is my favorite of the decade partly because I cannot pick up a newspaper without being reminded of the author's exceptional experiences and conclusions trekking from Herat to Kabul with his dog Babur. His encounters with Afghan people, possibly Taliban, the dangers faced, the thrilling, frustrating and meditative moments all beautifully described make it a memorable and prescient book.

To find out what the author thinks about current events in Afghanistan, read his newest piece in the 1/14/2010 The New York Review of Books.
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Product Details

Stewart, Rory
Harvest Books
Description and travel
Social life and customs
Modern - 20th Century
Asia - General
Asia - Central
Essays & Travelogues
Middle East - General
Afghanistan Description and travel.
Afghanistan Social life and customs.
Travel Writing-General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9
8 x 5.31 in 0.67 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Business » Management
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
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History and Social Science » Asia » Afghanistan
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » Afghanistan and Pakistan
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
Travel » Asia » Central Asia
Travel » Featured Titles
Travel » Middle East
Travel » Sale Books
Travel » Travel Writing » Africa and Middle East
Travel » Travel Writing » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Middle East

The Places In Between Used Trade Paper
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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 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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