The Places in Between
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' flo...more
But after reading Stewarts book, I have to say it is extremely good. We learn next to nothing about Stewart here outside of...more
A) he encounters very poor and poorly educated tribal/feudal lords
B) he encounters hostile, backward, cruel teens and militia and former soldiers
C) he walks 25 miles a day with not much to describe: rural Afghanistan is rural for a reason
D) all of the above
D, of course D. Well, at one point he does get a dog. Now Rory can describe how Babur likes to sniff and pee and roll in snow.
I give Rory some credit for what he cho...more
He feels a sense of entitlement towards their hospitality. He expects to show up and be provided with the best accommodations and the best food. That he does this in an area where people often have a difficult time feeding themselves is irresponsible.
He intersperses historical entries of a previous walker & conquerer between tales of hospitality and snow and destruction of antiquities.
I don't imagine I will ever have the opportunity to go to the places he writes about. So much of it was unfamiliar that th...more
Anyway, a good travel book, in my opinion, should make you vaguely want to go to a place. Even if it's a wretched journey (as in In the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O'Hanlon). Even if the trip is perhaps beyond your financial or physical means. Even if you know what's being described on the pag...more
In the last couple of years, I have read Khaled Hosseini's fictional books about his native land and I found them very revealing and sympathetic. I had hoped for a broadening of that experienc...more
Rory Stewart never explains why it is he decided to walk across Asia. For whatever reason, he walked across India, Nepal, Iran, and other Asian countries. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanist...more
Years later, my friend Caroline Kennedy heartily recommended it. She went so far as to compare my book, "The Archipelago," to Stewart's. I think I got the long end of the stick on that comparison: Where I took...more
It is a good book.
At times the comments are so British, the type that you can't see coming from anyone else but someone who is British.
One of the reviews here accuses Stewart of being insenative to the culture he visits. I'm not convinced that is the case. The book is more about the culture than about Stewart, and while Stewart does treat his dog as a West...more
Published by Mariner Books in 2006.
When the United States first invaded Afghanistan one of my friends wondered aloud if we intended on keeping it as a colony. I quipped that we already owned a mountainous desert area full of people that have a religion that we don't understand - we call it Utah (with apologies to my Mormon friends out there).
After reading The Places In Between I truly realize the depth of our misunderstanding of the situation in Afghanis...more
Stewart is a very good writer and the book was never b...more
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|a walk across Afghanistan||2||65||May 08, 2009 11:20AM|