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Anyway, a good travel book, in my opinion, should make you vaguely want to go to a place. Even if the trip is perhaps beyond your financial or physical means. Even if you know what's being described on the pag I'm not quite sure how to classify this book. Even if you know what's being described on the page no longer exists or has changed beyond recognition as with Norman Lewis's books about Southeast Asia.

You should want to experience a place for yourself. Before reading this book, I had absolutely no desire to go to Afghanistan.

In-Between Two Worlds

And after reading this book, I had absolutely no desire to go to Afghanistan. My husband declared that he wanted to go and report in Afghanistan after he finished reading The Places in Between, and I had to admit to him that I was really puzzled by his response. The food is basically hunks of greasy mutton or, more often than not, nan-like bread on its own.

And the landscape is snowy and bare. Or snowy and blighted. Or just plain snowy.

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The writing, too, wasn't spectacular. Plain to the point of dullness. A lot of "I did this" and "I felt that. So, again, I'm puzzled. A lot of people whose opinion I highly esteem rate this book quite highly. What is it that I'm missing? Or were they just taken by the single-mindedness of the journey? Aug 25, Lisa rated it liked it. I found out about this charater from a magazine article at the time of the book's release. A scotsman who, for a variety of personal reasons not really revealed a nice change of privacy in this world.

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 I found out about this charater from a magazine article at the time of the book's release. So much of it was unfamiliar that the read was astonishing for that alone. But for all the political sensitivies he ably writes about and exhibits I can't escape a certain irritating ballsiness of enitlement. And really, since he succeeds in his journey, he is evidence of an astonishing degree of hospitality and generosity.

He says this too, but I cannot imagine anyone walking across America, or Scotland for that matter, who would believe that he was entitled to expect food, shelter and assistance because he asked for it. I guess I am flummoxed by his concept of need. Kindness to strangers has it roots in fear that the strangers might be gods or their messengers alongside the pragmatic need that strangers in a strange land might need assistance. But to plan a trip just because people will, presumably, shelter you?

It just seems somehow to take advantage of something that you can never repay. All that being said, I am utterly in awe of man who walks with himself. That is worthy of a journey. Quite a read. And quite a humbling recognition of a world we are destroying that has been destroyed many times over time. The author walked across Afghanistan! Yes, all the way on foot. The book covers his travels from Herat to Kabul over the mountains in the winter of , after the US invasion. A Afghan mastiff became his companion, which added a heartfelt touch.

View all 4 comments. Jan 29, Morgan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: culture lovers. Shelves: middle-east. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart has to be one of my favorite books. Rory has this gift to tell stories in such a brutally honest way that you find humor in even the most mundane life experiences. Although, I wouldn't generally categorize walking across Afghanistan 2 months after the Taliban fell, mundane. Yet, nothing about this book was breathtaking. Nothing was romantized, nothing placed on a pedestal.

He spoke openly and honestly of all the people he met, those friendly, and those that The Places in Between by Rory Stewart has to be one of my favorite books. He spoke openly and honestly of all the people he met, those friendly, and those that would've preferred to rob him and leave him dead in a ditch. He's truthful and humorous, and I found myself walking alongside him, a sort of ghost following his rugged trail through mountains, valleys, and Buddhist monastaries. Rory Stewart is now living in Kabul, working on a project called Turquoise Mountain.

He and his sponsers are re-creating the "downtown" river district and restoring it to it's former glory. They're opening schools for people to re-learn the ancient arts of carving, weaving, architecture, etc. They're restoring city blocks that have been covered in 7 feet of trash, and restoring homes where families have lived for centuries.

And all for free. The Afghan aren't quite sure what's going on still, wondering why someone would be doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but that's what so great about it. So, Jon and I want to go to Afghanistan. Not sure when, not sure where, but once you get the ache to see it with your own two eyes, you can't deny it. Just ask Rory. Aug 05, Dorothy rated it liked it Shelves: travel-and-adventure.

I started out thinking I was going to really, really like this book. It is about a fascinating part of the world and one that is extremely important to us - and important that we understand - Afghanistan. It's a travelogue of Stewart's walk across that country, from Herat to Kabul after September 11, 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 I started out thinking I was going to really, really like this book. I had hoped for a broadening of that experience with this non-fiction book, and indeed there were moments of revelation and increased understanding, but in the end, I found that it left me cold. I felt the need to wear a sweater while reading it. In large part, that was because this is - necessarily, I guess - a very one-sided and one dimentional story. It's the story of the male population, or at least a segment of the male population, of Afghanistan, and it is a story of unrelieved hardship and squalor, not just physically, but intellectually and spiritually.

While that may be the truth, it was very hard for me to read. I couldn't help wondering throughout about the missing characters - the women. What must it be like to be a woman in these Afghanistan villages? Feb 10, Kristel rated it really liked it Shelves: travel , nonfiction , afghanistan. I enjoy travel writing.

This is also a feat of endurance as walking across Afghanistan in the winter was an additional danger besides the fact that he walked across a country of many different tribes and peoples with varying loyalties alone and his dog Barbu he picked up along the way. Barbu was the first Mughal emperor who also walked across Afghanistan in the same route.

I gained knowledge of the history of the area, the peoples, and the geography. I also learned about the author. Interesting man, born in , has accomplished a lot in his life. Nov 23, Charissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics , all-time-faves , travel , war , history , non-fic. I saw this author interviewed on PBS and quickly decided I had to read his book. So glad that I did. This man, a former British soldier who now works at Harvard, walked across Afghanistan entirely on foot in His story is a deep look into the culture of Afghanistan outside the cities.

Basically what we hear about on the news takes place inside the cities. But most of the country is comprised of villages. When we talk about "winning" in Afghanistan we need to realize what that means. This book gives a very important insight into that reality. Rory Stewart is advising President Obama about a better way to approach the idea of "success" in Afghanistan. I think he would be wise to listen and incorporate his insights into our plans there. Great book I recommend this book for every American who wants to really know what is going on in another part of the world completely different from ours.

View all 3 comments. Jul 31, Brandon rated it it was amazing. Afghanistan is a country that is primarily still medieval: tribes based on ethnicity, religion, and location are constantly battling each other. Enjoying every step of the journey. Rory Stewart's perceptive acceptance of a foreign world, leaves me shaking my head in admiration. I'm reading the book slowly, a chapter every few days. The author's desire to understand and experience things around him, overtakes his sense of self preservation.

The book gives us an insight into the journey of an incredibly kind, brave and intelligent human being. His book has given me a window into the way things are in Afghanistan, and showed me a little of Enjoying every step of the journey.


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  • From “The Places In Between” – In-Between Two Worlds.

His book has given me a window into the way things are in Afghanistan, and showed me a little of the structured hierarchy within village life. Jan 08, Don Becher rated it liked it. Interesting description of author's walk across Afghanistan. Brings home the isolated nature of much of the country, the varied interpretation of Islam, and the depressing odds of ever bringing the area all together in one country -- which has proved to be quite prescient.

Sep 19, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: war-of-the-worlds , around-the-world , voyagers , owned , afghanistan.

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

I'll be honest, The Places in Between was not at the top of my to-read list for this year. The book description was great, but when I read the about-the-author synopsis and saw that Rory Stewart was an Oxford graduate with a background in politics, I grew skeptical and hesitated to order it. I feared the author would be snobby and out-of-touch and the writing would be a dry fundraiser for various political causes and agendas.

Boy was I wrong! Stewart is a very good writer and the book was never d I'll be honest, The Places in Between was not at the top of my to-read list for this year. Stewart is a very good writer and the book was never dull. Even in difficult circumstances due to which he admits to being irritable, his writing rarely takes on a whiny tone.

He is respectful of the people he meets and the bevy of cultures he encounters. In fact, there is very little information given about the author himself, as throughout the book he focuses on Afghanistan: its people, history, and culture. This detached approach may have been inspired by the medieval Emperor Babur whose journey through the mountains in January Stewart is somewhat unintentionally retracing. Stewart deftly weaves Afghanistan's colorful history into his own adventures through short extracts from Babur's diary and compares and contrasts modern and ancient Afghanistan in a way that is educational yet still interesting and entertaining.

He also includes some of his sketches to give the reader a picture of the people he meets. This book was anything but a disappointment for me, I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It provides some nice glimpses of life in Afghanistan's heart. While I doubt it will be my favorite read of the year, I have a feeling it will still rank in the top ten and I look forward to reading The Prince of the Marshes.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good honest travel memoir without the emotional clutter and whine. View all 5 comments. Jan 16, Peter Tillman rated it liked it Shelves: memoirs , travel. You've read the blurb above, right? It was a remarkable trip, if pretty dumb, and Stewart is lucky he didn't die, or get killed.

He walked thru some of the high mountains of Afghanistan in midwinter, just after the Taliban were defeated. He carried just his clothes and a sleeping bag and money , trusting that the villagers along the way would put him up for the night and feed him. That said, he had interesting encounters with the locals, and he writes well. And he was lucky. Britain has a long tradition of "holy fools" who survive long odds in hellish surroundings, but none come to mind who made such a pointless trip.

I'd previously read and enjoyed his "Prince of the Marshes", an account of his time as a British diplomat during the Iraqi war, and that's a much better book. Start there before you read this one, is my advice. Mar 29, Mike rated it liked it Recommends it for: Students of Asia and war history. Shelves: culture , afghanistan , travel , xcharity , non-fiction. This Stewart guy has a pair of big brass ones-walking across Aghanistan in the shadow of the Taliban's defeat.

He doesn't write as well as Robert Kaplan, another trekker of the world, but his stories are interesting nonetheless. There aren't many people in this story you want to meet but you get the clear description of one of the remotest parts of the world. Intriguing country. If I had the chance, I would like to visit the Hazara people and Bamiyan area. He paints an intriguing picture here. D This Stewart guy has a pair of big brass ones-walking across Aghanistan in the shadow of the Taliban's defeat.

Definitely a worthwhile read. I enjoyed Steward's account of his walk across Afghanistan in using basically the same route that Babur used in the early 's over the central mountains in winter. The walk took over 30 days. At times he was walking through snow storms and deep snow. He lost much weight and experienced severe stoma I enjoyed Steward's account of his walk across Afghanistan in using basically the same route that Babur used in the early 's over the central mountains in winter.

The Places In Between : Rory Stewart :

He lost much weight and experienced severe stomach issues. He recounted how he was forced to begin the journey with two security men who carried automatic rifles. Popular Features. New Releases. The Places In Between. Caught between hostile nations, warring factions and competing ideologies, at the time Afghanistan was in turmoil following the US invasion.

Travelling entirely on foot and following the inaccessible mountainous route once taken by the Mogul Emperor, Babur the Great, Stewart was nearly defeated by the extreme, hostile conditions. Only with the help of an unexpected companion and the generosity of the people he met on the way did he survive to report back with unique insight on a region closed to the world by twenty-four years of war. In he completed a 6, mile walk from Turkey to Bangladesh. His account of crossing Afghanistan on foot shortly after the US invasion, The Places In Between, was published in , drew widespread acclaim, and was shortlisted for that year's Guardian First Book Award.

By turns harrowing and meditative, Stewart's trek through Afghanistan in the footsteps of the 15th-century emperor Babur is edifying at every step, grounded by his knowledge of local history, politics and dialects. His prose is lean and unsentimental: whether pushing through chest-high snow in the mountains of Hazarajat or through villages still under de facto Taliban control, his descriptions offer a cool assessment of a landscape and a people eviscerated by war, forgotten by time and isolated by geography.

The well-oiled apparatus of his writing mimics a dispassionate camera shutter in its precision. But if we are to accompany someone on such a highly personal quest, we want to know who that person is. Unfortunately, Stewart shares little emotional background; the writer's identity is discerned best by inference. Sometimes we get the sense he cares more for preserving history than for the people who live in it and for whom historical knowledge would be luxury.