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A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush Paperback – Jul 1 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 2 edition (July 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741795281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741795288
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #468,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 2 2003
Format: Paperback
but wish you could (if you could find good hotels, fresh food, etc). This trip is impossible in today's climate so read it as the armchair explorer -- and be thankful that Newby can describe what must have been unnerving encounters with a humor and flair that make one want to try the voyage anyway! (BTW: been there -- don't try it)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graymac on Jan. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
The idea is preposterous: two non-alpinists, one working in fashion design, the other a diplomat, decide to scale some of the hardest peaks in the world, in one of the nastiest, most remote corners of the globe. The resulting book is hysterical. It's been a couple of years since I last read it, yet I'm giggling again as I recall some specific passages. Fun, fast read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graymac on Jan. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
The idea is preposterous: two non-alpinists, one working in fashion design, the other a diplomat, decide to scale some of the hardest peaks in the world, in one of the nastiest, most remote corners of the globe. The resulting book is hysterical. It's been a couple of years since I last read it, yet I'm giggling again as I recall some specific passages. Fun, fast read.
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Format: Paperback
Quintessentially English bit of travel, with the ambitious idea of climbing Mir Samir in Afghanistan, but ostensibly to visit Nuristan next door. The English bit comes into play when you discover that Newby isn't a mountain climber, nor is his traveling friend. They "practice" for four days in Wales before embarking.
This is the type of travel literature I favor. A trip, yes, with its attendant hazards and foibles, but also a story about the travelers, why they travel and the people they meet. So far, I can sense a "difference" in travel writing, easily two categories now, but possibly many others. This book would join with Seth & O'Hanlon as a "Hardship Trip"--a journey filled in pain and danger. Salzman and Mayle are "Sedentary Travelers." They both got to the place, then stuck around and observed the things that happened around them. This book also has one of the best last lines I've read in quite a while. I can't quote it, because not only would it ruin the line for you in case you choose to read this book yourself, but also because it is necessary to sit through the 180 or so pages that go before to fully appreciate the irony of it.
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Format: Paperback
Good travel narrative should begin with self awareness and, one would hope, a sharp wit on behalf of the writer. That's the entertainment half. It should end in a new appreciation of place and culture for the reader, the edifying part. A Short Walk In the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby delivers on all accounts. Though the "short" walk of the title took place circa 1956 and the book was published in 1958, it has special pertinence for the contemporary reader. The name of the mountain range translates as the "Killer of the Hindus," straddling Afghanistan and Nuristan, the wild vortex where cultures and powers have collided in attempts to bridge east and west for thousands of years. Most recently, of course, the region has figured in the war on terrorism. In fact, I have a much better grasp of the multicultural nature of the land and its political history from Newby's careful notes than from contemporary media.
Even if the Hindu Kush was irrelevant to latterday headlines, Newby's narrative is worthwhile reading. To explain why an urbane executive in the fashion industry would quit and suggest a trek in partly uncharted mountain range in a alien land, with no experience in mountain climbing, he begins with a hilarious account of his London job. He also speaks to that national urge to get off the island and go look about. His is a genuine yearning for exploration, for experiencing "the other." The trek, taken with a pal and some local guides, is often perilous. At the very end, the Newby party meets up with the embodiment of the stuffy military Brit who belittles their achievement. The author does not have to answer for the reader or himself-we know, as he does, that it was quite extraordinary.
Newby is great company, a fine writer who doesn't make the story about himself even when starring in it. Lonely Planet is to be thanked for keeping this in print.
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By "bcj222" on April 1 2002
Format: Paperback
Approaching mid life and feeling restless in the world of London's fashion industry in the 1950s, Eric Newby asked a friend to go mountain climbing in the Hindu Kish. Newby quits his job, puts his affairs in order and, together with his friend, sets off for an adventure in Northeastern Afghanistan. Their walk was not short and they almost reached the summit of 19,880 foot Mir Samir, but not before stopping for four days of instruction about mountain climbing in Wales. Newby's description of the geography and peoples he encountered along the way opens the door a little further and provides another peek on one of the most mysterious regions of the world. Unlike many books in this genre that are often told in a breathless, self promoting style, Newby's approach is modest, self effacing and understated, right down to the title. This book is a delight!
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By A Customer on Jan. 2 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm sure that this book had a different impact upon me than on readers who picked it up before the attacks of September 11 and the ensuing war in Afghanistan. After having my head filled with heavily-slanted news profiles of places like Kabul and Jalalabad and the people of this part of central Asia, it was extremely refreshing to lose myself in Eric Newby's impressions of the land, the people and the history. Newby was not an expert or scholar - and this layman's perspective may be precisely why I found the book so interesting. Of course, I also agree with the previous reviewers who enjoyed the story of Newby and Carless' somewhat foolhardy travels. But I also recommend this book to anyone who wants to add to his or her understanding of this region.
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