Places In Between

Places In Between

4.1 45
by Rory Stewart
     
 

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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

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Overview

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, confounding, 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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143053309
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
08/29/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.88(d)

Meet 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 Prince of the Marshes. 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.

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The Places in Between 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
David-Herrick More than 1 year ago
Rory Stewart is either incredibly brave, or totally insane. But whatever the influence may be, he has written a deep and insightful journal on his travels through a country that is often misunderstood and feared. In 2002, Stewart traveled to Afghanistan to walk across it. This walk took him from Herat to Kabul, roughly a 500 mile trek, following the trail of Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal empire. The first half of his expedition he was companied by 3 men, 2 of which were ordered to walk with him by the new Afghan government's secret police. These men gave Stewart many glimpses into the sociological culture of the people without saying anything to him outside of normal conversation. The book is more of a journal that was polished. I found this very refreshing, and made his experience very real to me, especially with his personal drawings included, from people to artifacts to random objects nearby. Stewart often describes his thoughts and feelings towards a situation, adding detail to the author himself. Yet Stewart never truly reveals WHY he is traveling so far, across such a dangerous route in January through a country of poverty stricken people. He does not delve far into descriptions, of either people, objects or locations, which makes the book rather dry and Stewart seem distant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in travel as a whole, culture immersion, Afghanistan or just looking for a good story. Stewarts style of writing keeps the reader engaged but gives them room to think and form their own opinions.
whitee More than 1 year ago
Pretty much a story about this man's quest to bring antiquity thru to the modern age while trying to recapture what made this country beautiful; it's ancient art and history where much has been eradicated by a self-mutilating people frozen in time, who are caught in a vicious political cycle of upheaval and re-birth thru the centuries. He seems to bring out what's left of hope in a hopeless struggle for peace in a region with many conflicts of interest. It's also about a people who are bound to a life they hate and love at the same time. A land of Cain and Abel.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
I had access to a hard copy of this book as I listened to Rory read it on CD. I am completely in awe of his heroic walk through the mountains from Herat to Kabul in war-torn Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban government in 2002. I learned more from his journey than from many other things I have read about Afghanistan, excepting perhaps Didier Lefèvre's book The Photographer, which is a excellent visual accompaniment to this volume. Stewart managed to distill the thousands of interactions he experienced on his month-long walk into revealing vignettes that amuse, instruct, terrify, and sadden us. That he developed a deep and abiding respect for Afghanistan and it's people is obvious and infectious. I was pleased to learn of his return to Kabul, and of his role as Executive Director the Turquoise Mountain Foundation of Kabul. I'd give much to be there with him.
readsinlb More than 1 year ago
When I bought "The Places in Between," I expected it to be well-written and interesting. I did not expect to become personally involved in Agha Rory's deeply meaningful quest to walk across Afghanistan. I was grateful that the obligation of hospitality required good treatment of a guest, and I was personally offended when the hospitality fell short. In contrast to my response, the author does not judge. He desribes what he sees of this war-torn country with rich but brutal traditions colliding with Soviet, Taliban, and the very recent (in the winter of 2001 and 2002) US led invasion. It felt like the author was recording his thoughts and sending me a letter every few days describing his journey, the country, and the people along the way. I really enjoyed my journey -- minus blisters, dysentery, and extreme weather. When I finished the book, I immediately missed Agha Rory and hearing about his amazing adventure. I recommend the book for young adults, book clubs, and the adventerous at heart.
sdgjake More than 1 year ago
Anyone interested even the slightest in Afghanistan and it's people should read this book. It's a great story about the author's journey across the country (on foot no less) and all of the people that he meets and interacts with. Not only is it a great travel tale but the author also brings great historical perspective to bear on his experiences which gives the reader an even greater insight into Afghanistan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. A modern day Marco Polo interweaves his walking journey across Afganistan with this beautiful country's history. This story makes me wish I were more adventursome and could have done something such as this. It also gave me a peek into another world that is still firmly rooted in the 11th century, a different culture of tribal war lords, and a sampling of Afganistan's history that will break your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This should be required reading for anyone who thinks Americans can just walk into a country and that we can then democratize it. The most insightful passage in the book stated how Afghanis have PTSD. Unfortuately, it's not post, it's continual. Mr. Stewart could have expanded more on Afghanistan's modern history of years and years and years of war. But I think that would, unfortunately, have been less appealing for the popular reader. It was evident that he was ill for most of his journey as the days seemed to blur together & I find it amazing not only that he completed his goal, but that he was able to write about at all. It's not the best travel book I've ever read, but it is undoubtedly one of the most amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a fanatic of travel narratives, I've read very many, and this is one of the best. I loved this book, and would recommend it highly. For those who felt the same way - I urge you to read A Tent Life in Siberia: An Incredible Account of Siberian Adventure, Travel, and Survival by George Kennan, which follows an expedition through Siberia in the 1860s.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Someone in Kabul told me a crazy Scotsman walked from Herat to Kabul right after the fall of the Taliban' Thanks for the book. For it was indeed a journey of great spirit and determination. Mr. Stewart was well prepared for this trip with vitamins and various medications he knew would be necessary to successfully complete this challenge ibuprofen, antibiotics, just name it and he had it sharing with the villagers he met on his way when they saw what he had and begged him. Well written, well told. I was truly impressed with how hospitable the people of Afghanistan were those whom he encountered and offered him rest and meals and at times water to wash with, at their various humble abodes where he was invited to stay for the night. Even through they understood little English, Mr. Stewart was able to communicate to them by speaking Persian. I love reading about anything in the Eastern and Asian side of the world, so I was with him all the way. I felt like I was alongside him as he climbed those steep slopes and when he walked on the flat valleys. I drank tea with Mr. Stewart from glass cups, ate stale bread with him and soup, and enjoyed the rest at the end of the day, sleeping on a carpet or just on the floor. The attention given to him was enormous as he persevered onwards. My main concern was just before he got to Kabul when he had to travel through the deep powdery snow which was known to cause frostbite, making it necessary to amputate limbs for some in the past. I held my breath as he and his dog companion Babur made it out of the snow covered mountains, and alas into another bright day. God bless you Rory Stewart. I will soon be starting Prince of the Marshes, which sounds like another winner but to those of you out there looking for a Christmas gift or other, buy The Places In Between first, for you won't be disappointed. An excellent gift, especially for travellers!!! Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 25/11/06)
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Mark Iken More than 1 year ago
This book has an amazing plot and yet it is somehow odd to think that someone would do that especially right after september 11th,thank you Mr. RORY STEWART!!!!!
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