A travel book one cannot put down Apr 3, 2007
Rory Stewart writes without hyperbole managing to downplay his daily life-threatening walk across Afganistan in the winter following the overthrow of the Taliban. Full of history, a rich vestment of daily life and the people he meets in his pilgrimage in between being shot at and interrogated by his hosts. I came to appreciate the people he encountered, their hospitality in sharing their meals of rice and bread, their customs and Rory Stewart's own humanity as well. I was changed too, when I came to know how Mr. Stewart encountered his companion a dog, a large unloved, never named or even petted village dog which he bought, traveled with and pledged would return with him to Scotland. I don't want to lose for you the mystery of his encounters with his new companion nor how their friendship grows. Mr. Stewart goes on to found a cultural center which is attempting to bring back artifacts sold from the region of his pilgrimage. Mr. Stewart continues to write of the people and places, he has learned to appreciate during his travels and as He has worked for the British government in Indonesia, the Balkans and Iraq, and is now a fellow of the Carr Centre at Harvard. I am now reading his second non-fiction account of "... negotiating hostage releases, holding elections and splicing together some semblance of an infrastructure for a population of millions teetering on the brink of civil war.""(from book jacket) in The Prince of the Marshes. He now lives in Kabul where he has established the Turquoise Mountain Foundation.