The Places in Between
In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-survivingby his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs,and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountainscovered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by theTaliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medievalcivilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared theirmeals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancientpast. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal eldersand teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers.He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fightingmastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughalemperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding,surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces oftradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map'scountless places in between.