Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"'s Reviews > A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
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Aug 24, 2008

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bookshelves: nonfiction, travel-adventure, middle-east
Read in September, 2008

It seems like it took me an awfully long time to get through such a short book. I think it was just his writing style and the way he included detail about certain things I wasn't so interested in, such as mountain climbing technicalities.
However, I did enjoy the book and stuck with it because I wanted to know what it was like in this part of the world in the 1950s as compared to the present.

In 1956, the author quit his job in the haute couture industry and trekked with a friend through a region called Nuristan, in the extreme NE part of Afghanistan. They attempted, with virtually no climbing experience, to climb a very challenging peak called Mir Samir.

Along the way they had a great variety of adventures and experiences, not all of them pleasant. They met and traveled with people from many tribal backgrounds and learned much about local customs and traditions, some quite bizarre.
I especially enjoyed reading about some of the small villages they passed through that were practically idyllic at that time and are probably rubble today.

The book definitely has its humorous moments. He quotes from his Bashgali(Kafir) phrasebook, which turned out to be of questionable usefulness.
The funniest phrase: "A lammergeier came down from the sky and took off my cock." (Meaning rooster, not the other kind!)
Can't help wondering when a tourist might have need of that one.

At the conclusion of the trek, the author wrote:

"I had the sensation of emerging from a country that would continue to exist more or less unchanged whatever disasters overtook the rest of mankind."
He couldn't have known how wrong he would turn out to be about Afghanistan.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Petra Eggs (new)

Petra Eggs I've always wanted to read this book, something about the title.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Yes, the title's just a wee bit of understatement. You might like the book. I know you're a patient reader. Newby's a bit dry and plodding in writing style, but it's still interesting. He's sort of a doofus, though, in the way he plans a thing without preparing properly.


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