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The Places In Between Paperback

4.1 out of 5 stars 291 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002IT5OS4
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,379,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mr. Stewart has written an entertaining account of his walk across Afghanistan in 2002. The country was in shambles, the Taliban had just fallen and the Twin Towers had fallen a few months ago. As a nation, Afghanistan doesn't exist -- just a collection of warlords ruling their fiefdoms and encroaching each other's territories. So Mr. Stewart enters the county from Iran without a visa as if he was climbing Mount Everest -- because it was there.

The author is a superb storyteller and once the book has started, the reader will not be able to put it down. His writing style is conversational, as if he just arrived home and is telling you of his recent adventures. Why Harvest Books did not put this book out in hardback is beyond me. The reader should be aware that his next travel book "The Prince of the Marshes," will be out in August, 2006 where Mr. Stewart decided to move on to a less dangerous country than Afghanistan -- he went to Iraq.
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Writing with the understated humor in the best of Magnus Mills' novels (Restraint of Beasts, All Quiet on the Orient Express), Stewart accounts his long, arduous trek on foot through the brutal landscape of Afghanistan. Thought to be a spy, he is often accompanied by mysterious "guards" hired by the new government to supervise Stewart's meanderings. The conflict between Stewart and these guards provides much of the book's humor. But then about a third into the book, Stewart is offered a dog, a huge bear-like creature who is described as wise and weary. The dog, whom Stewart names "Babur," has been abused and neglected all his life and Stewart adopts him and determines to take Babur with him back to Scotland. For me, Stewart's tender relationship with the endearing dog Babur is the heart of the book. It will make you weep. This storyline alone makes the book worth reading. Of course, this book is much more than a man meets dog story. It is a firsthand account of the grotequeries that seethe within a country in a state of violent upheaval.
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"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.
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Format: Paperback
Walking across central Asia without ruminating at length about the political and military crossfire would seem like an odd diversionary tactic by a writer any less assured than Rory Stewart. However, the Scottish author manages to evoke a powerful sense of what Afghanistan was like during his arduous, often moving trek through the wartorn country in 2002. Unlike Chris Ayres' humorous adventure of being embedded with the troops in Iraq in his blistering account, "War Reporting for Cowards", the then-29-year old Stewart is more straightforward with a true adventurer's spirit and an anthropologist's eye, as he set out on his own with his wooden staff through the central mountain range to Kabul. His immersion into the country was obviously aided incalculably by his fluency in Dari, which is the Afghan dialect of Persian, and his in-depth knowledge of the cultural custom and history of the country.

There is not a whit of romanticism in the author's vision, as he shares his experiences with people who have been grouped categorically by the news media with the hard-line Taliban. The most impressive aspect of the book is his ability to provide unique, almost idiosyncratic personalities to everyone he meets from the warlord Ismail Khan to his three Afghan traveling partners to a gregarious village headman to a war-beaten dog who becomes Stewart's constant companion. He names him Babur after the 16th-century Muslim emperor who traveled across Afghanistan to found the Mughal dynasty of India. Carrying the emperor's autobiography, the author draws compelling parallels with his own experiences and describes the Afghan people with becalming respect and admiration even if the ongoing threat of violence has hardened some of their sensibilities.
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