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In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers’ floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan’s first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.
Angela Hatton says:
“Stewart’s story begins in western Afghanistan in the winter of 2002, only a few months after September 11. At the time, he was the country’s only tourist. In this account of his hike across the country, Stewart reveals the lives of the many Afghan people who never make it in the spotlight: the rural, the poor, the isolated. Stewart describes his journey with precise authority, but without embellishment. This is an honest book about a place that remains a question mark to many Americans.”