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The Places in Between Paperback – Apr 10 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (April 10 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156031566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031561
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #857,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 6 2008
Format: Paperback
Scotsman Rory Stewart tells the story of his walk across Afghanistan a few months after the fall of the Taliban. He takes the less travelled route through the mountains, in the wintertime, passing through a number of small villages. Some of the villagers are kind, other are nasty, and some are plain disinterested. Stewart speaks enough of the local language, and with quite a bit of perseverance and luck, he makes it safely to Kabul.

This book is pretty standard travel fare. Stewart tells his story, without too much in the way of commentary, politics or history. He does tell us a little about the Emperor Barbur who made the same trip, also in winter, about 500 years earlier. And, of course, it is impossible not to get a bit of an anthropology lesson on such a trip, but Stewart does not preach or put his views up front. Rather, he tells story of his interesting walk -- the places he sees and the people he meets -- in plain language. Overall, it is a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2007
Format: Paperback
Rory Stewart's account of his trek through the wilds of central Afghanistan involves an amazing journey of courage, skill, and adventure into a world beyond human comprehension. Throughout the weeks he spent trudging through some of the wildest terrain imaginable, Stewart developed a real appreciation for the rich diversity of ancient culture - Persian, Mughal, Buddhist - as it shows up in numerous tribal settlements along the way. His constant search for new and dangerous experiences was forever taking him along paths less travelled and and reliving history along the way. Picking up Babur(his new found mastiff) along the way presents some new challenges for Stewart. For instance, tribal Afghans so disdain dogs that Rory spent considerable time protecting Babur from the elements and malicious strangers. Any act of kindness towards a stranger or animal is generally regarded as an unforgivable weakness. While always courteous and civil, Stewart refuses to kowtow to many of the local prejudices. In his travels, he portrays himself as a solitary traveler looking to find a confirmation of history in the present. The book is so jam-packed with of interesting historical, geographical, and political tidbits that the reader would be well advised to have access to a couple of good reference books on the country. To show you how effective Stewart is at capturing the experience of rambling through the Afghan wilderness, I had no problem seeing myself tagging along in a vicarious fashion, always eagerly waiting for the next big surprise. He signs off with some interesting and thought-provoking conclusions about the chances of democracy in Afghanistan. Based on what he has seen in the outlying parts of the country, perhaps Afghanistan, like Iraq, is not ready to succeed with any serious experiment in open and fair government. Stewart is well worth the read anytime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James W. Derry on Nov. 21 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had heard a lot about this book and I looked forward to reading it. There was a certain amount of hype building around it and the New York Times proclaims on the cover that it was "a flat-out masterpiece". Masterpiece is a much overused word these days by book and movie critics. One wishes that these people could restrain themselves sometimes.
I do not think Rory Stewart's book is a masterpiece but it certainly is a very good story. Stewart is a brilliant young writer who by the age of thirty had already been deputy governor of a province in Iraq for the Foreign Office, a fellow at Harvard, a summer tutor to Princes William and Harry, and served as an officer in the British Infantry. He speaks several languages.
One day he decided to walk across Iran, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan, a 6000 mile journey. When he reached the Afghan border he was unable to continue because of the Taliban occupation, so he leap frogged and continued his walk in India. After the American invasion and fall of the Taliban, he went back to Herat to finish the middle part of his walk, hence the title of the book.
Stewart decides to follow the same journey of the first Moghal emperor, Babur and he visits many of the same places. He has a keen interest in Afghan history and we sense his enthusiasm as searches for the Turquoise Mountain. Early on his journey, he is given a dog, a huge mastiff he names Babur, after the emperor and for most of his trek, Babur will be his only companion. It is winter, it is cold, people are not friendly, he is sick most of the time, and he must rely completely on the generosity of poor villagers for shelter and food. One wonders why he is doing this.
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