Skip to main content

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

The Places In Between
By Rory Stewart

BookMattic's Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads' Rating: 3.87/5

The Places In Between brings you to a world that you never knew existed. The author, Rory Stewart sets out on a journey across Asia on foot and at all costs he avoids any other type of transportation. 


The story centers around Rory's walk across Afghanistan following in the exact footsteps of Afghanistan's first Mughal Emperor named Babur. All in all taking place at the beginning of the American invasion in 2002 which made his travels more intense than it would have normally been at any other time. His purpose of walking months across Afghanistan was to document the culture after the Taliban leaders got brought down and the new government gradually getting set in place. 


This is not just a story or an anthropological telling of culture, although it does have some excerpts from Babur's diary spread throughout the book in not such a logical order or sometimes seeming a little out of place, but a person's true experience and strongly opinionated perspective of the Afgan culture, religion, atmosphere, governmental structure and way of life. I find it amazing that Mr. Stewart would walk across a war torn nation without any weapons aside from his steel tipped walking stick which ends up getting broken at one point yet to find many humble but poor people that gratefully took him in for the night in their dirt floored, mud walled home. 


Not all Rory's nights were spent in 'comfort' though. He ran across some people that were not so hospitable, where eventually he had to sleep in a stable or out in the open. Rory also had a set of guards that were required to go with him by the order of the new government under Ismail Khan's rule. They walked with him about half of the distance across Afghanistan. Each of these guards were unique and one of them even had a clean shaved face which is very rare for an Afgan. The clean shaven guard's favorite possession was his rifle. There was also the oldest guard which liked to make things up about Stewart when in conversation with their hosts. Rory would always end up correcting him but in the end ignored. 


One of the most interesting things I found about The Places In Between was that each region Stewart walked through, the further he got away from the capital city, the more the citizens were separated from the government. It's as if they were their own country separated from the rest of the world, carrying on traditions from centuries before without knowing exactly what's happening in other parts of the country let alone the rest of the world. This aspect gets punctuated specially when he arrives in the Hazara region up in the mountains of Afghanistan. The Hazara are the most interesting people of Afganistan because their appearance is that of Mongolian decent. When reading this section of the book you get the impression that the Hazara are outcasts, cut off from the rest of Afganistan, due to their Asian looks and inability to grow beards.


Overall this is an interesting read with some facts that sometimes feel out of place and a little too much of repeatative meetings in hosts' homes throughout Rory Stewart's long journey on foot. While reading this you may or may not be able to connect with how the author feels and for his reasoning about walking so far but for me it just made me want to start walking. 

Comments

Popular Posts in the Last Month

Marketing Points From The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point is not what I was expecting it to be especially since it was referred to in Contagious by Jonah Berger(reviewed here). While reading ‘Contagious’ Berger mentions ‘The Tipping Point’ as one of his inspirations to write his book which is much more oriented towards having an effective marketing strategy. I have seen Gladwell’s books several times in the business book section at my local bookstore here in Surabaya but what I didn't realize about the book before I bought it was that it isn't specifically about business.
Yes, some concepts in ‘The Tipping Point’ can be applied to your marketing business plan but Gladwell didn't write it for entrepreneurs. He wrote this for the average person. It's harsh but true. I’d say it's more about the result of a study into why certain things spread and others don't. There's very little mention about how to apply the research to your own life.

The majority of the content goes into epidemic viruses, smoking, a…

Is It Really That Simple? Leapfrogging Success - 5 Simple Steps To Powerful Presentations and Public Speaking For Nerds, Techies, and Introverts

I'm back! It was a very long holiday, even more than I usually have but it was a much-needed one away from the usual stresses of life.

My first post back from holiday is actually a free ebook, thanks to the author NJ Lechnir, the founder of leapfroggingsuccess.com, that I received after commenting on one of NJ's blog posts, then having a nice conversation through email we ended up deciding that it would be beneficial for both of us for me to read his book in exchange for an honest review.

With no further delay here's what I think of Leapfrogging Success - 5 Simple Steps To Powerful Presentations and Public Speaking For Nerds, Techies, and Introverts.

Author: NJ Lechnir
Published: May 27th, 2017
BookMattic's Rating: 

At first, when I saw the title to Leapfrogging Success I was thinking along the lines of TED Talks since I previously read The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (click the link for my review) and NJ told me in one of his messages that he loves TED Talks! But …

6 Habits to Help You Reach Your Reading Goal For 2017

It’s already August everyone so that means we only have 4 months left in 2017! How’s your reading goal coming along for this year? How many books did you plan to read at the beginning of the year and how many have you read so far? If you’re like me then you’ve made awesome progress. My goal set in January was to read 18 books. So far I’ve finished 17 books, two of which I’m still in the process of writing reviews for so be sure to keep coming back to BookMattic and check those out when I post them.
I’m ahead of the game and I hope that you are too. I’m guessing that by the end of the year I’ll probably have read at least another 3 or 4 more books which would put me a few over my goal. Fantastic! You can do it too but know that it takes a lot of work to read that much so be sure that what you're reading is worth it.
In this post, I’ll give you 6 of the habits that I started using about a year ago to help increase my reading speed and immersing myself in the books that I read. 1. Set a…

Could 'The Kingkiller Chronicles' be the Next 'Game of Thrones'?

Hey, friends, family, and book lovers. I thought that today it would be great to change things up a little since my last few posts have been book reviews and lists or tips. Well, today I would like to bring back the wishlist which I had done regularly for a while. The book I want to talk about with you is the 3rd and the last book in ‘The Kingkiller Chronicles’ series called ‘The Doors of Stone (working title)’ by Patrick Rothfuss that’s coming out in 2018. The exact date isn’t set yet, but for sure it’ll be out next year. I’m hyped up to read this fantasy. You should be too!  

The reason why I'm looking forward to reading the rest of ‘The Kingkiller Chronicles’ is that this series is considered to be one of the best fantasy epics since ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That's a highly rated book to live up to but since I started reading ‘The Name of the Wind’ in July, I can personally vouch that ‘The Kingkiller Chronicles’ series will no doubt make a name for itself in fantasy literatur…

Why You Should Read Star Wars: Bloodline

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… “C-3PO thought they were overdoing protocol? That was a very bad sign.”
Claudia Gray, Bloodline I have to admit that after reading Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray which was one of the best science fiction books that I have ever read, I was thinking that I was in for another epic ride and more secrets into the world of Star Wars with Star Wars: Bloodline, but there was nothing new that I learned from Claudia Gray’s writing of one of the most well-known characters in science fiction history. Leia Organa.


The Characters Gray, your strength in writing comes from characters that you conjured up yourself. You created:

The young and honorable Senator Ransolm Casterfo from the Centrist side of the New Republic.

Leia’s assistants, tough girl and ace pilot,Greer Sonnel and 16-year-old Korr Sella.

Joph Seastriker (awesome name by the way), an ambitious yet extremely young X-wing pilot who wants to get in on the action and has a thing for women that …

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Super Saturday Book Review - The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Before going into the review I want to tell you how I came across this book. Well, as some of you know I live in Surabaya, Indonesia and you would think that you wouldn't be able to get a hold of many books in English, but that isn't true. Surprisingly, Indonesians love reading books in English. 

So I spotted this book about a year ago in the book store and just loved the cover at first sight, picked it up and found out that it takes place in about 6th century Britain sometime after King Arthur's death. I absolutely love this time period. So I eventually picked it up after passing by it too many times in the bookstore buying other books on my wishlist. 

I may have read and reviewed this much later than most people but I have to say it was definitely worth the time put into this book. With no further wait, here's BookMattic's review of The Buried Giant.

BookMattic's Rating: 
Goodreads' Rating: 
Set in…

The Million Dollar Blog - Blogging Essentials For a Successful Blog

I had no idea blogging could be a successful career, did you? At first my blog, maybe like many of you bloggers out there just started out as a hobby, kind of a spur of the moment thing that you enjoy doing. But now, for me is way more than just a hobby. 
Blogging has turned into my ambition to build a successful business. I still have a long way to go, and I'm going to do my best and never give up on providing quality content for my readers. For some it's hard to get people to engage with your blog, for others it's a sinch, but for EVERYONE it's a matter of process and nothing in the blogosphere happens all at once. 

I would like you to come along with me on this journey of discovery and hope you have just as much fun as me along the way of finding out how to engage audiences in a meaningful conversation about a specific niche, which for me is about books. But I'll cover more on this gushy stuff later because now we have to get into the review.


'The Million Dollar…

The Top 3 Quotes From Business Books On My Bookshelf

I thought it would be nice this post around to dig back on my bookshelf for three business or self-help books and find three quotes for you to hopefully inspire you to read these three great books that have really changed my perspective on money, wealth, dreams, connection with other people and most of all happiness.


Take the time to read these quotes, think about them for a little while then read what my take is on them. I really do think that these three books can change your life. Trust me, there is much more useful knowledge in these books that all of you can benefit from.

Quotes

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Has anyone here ever accomplished their dream? What did you do after you fulfilled your dream? Celebrated? Kicked back and relaxed? You didn't just stop there did you? 

The way I interpret this quote is that even after accomplishing one dream you shouldn't just stop there. Not that you shouldn't enjoy what you have gone through to get to where you wanted to be, but …

Lessons Learned From 'Brave New World' - Is 'Brave New World' Happening Now?

Hey friends, I'm still on holiday but thought I would get a post in for you guys to read before I get too busy soaking in the sun. I bring to you today:  Brave New WorldBy: Aldous Huxley Published: 1932 BookMattic's Rating: I'm probably the 5th billionth person who has read 'Brave New World',  Aldous Huxley, not to be confused with the story about how settlers coming to North America. Many other people have reviewed, rated and analyzed this book but I'm not afraid of giving my own opinion of it since everyone is entitled to their own unique opinion. I'll, of course, be adding my own flavor to try and make it interesting for those of you that have read this classic dystopian science fiction novel. 'Brave New World' is a worthy topic to talk about.
First, before getting into the review, I wanted to mention the interesting way I came across my tattattered up 1969 copy of this book because I thought you might enjoy the background. As many of you know, I teac…

The 5 Love Languages – The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, Special Guest Post by The Author of 'Habis Nikah, Ngapain?'

The 5 Love Languages – The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman BookMattic here, today I've got a special Guest Post by my good friend and author of 'Habis Nikah, Ngapain?', Daniel Arseneault. He was kind enough to write a book review that he would like to share with you on my blog. Also if you'd be kind enough to visit his website, blog and Facebook page linked at the bottom of the page that would be great! Enjoy the review! But first, let Daniel introduce himself.
Daniel Arseneault Daniel has been an International English teacher for nearly 20 years during which time he has also dabbled in a wide range of activities including MCing, singing, songwriting, managing a blues band, live music performances, managing a café, traveling extensively (often by motorbike) and being a devoted father.  His passion is living life to its fullest and he hopes to impart this love of life to his teenage daughter, and anyone else who cares to listen. Daniel presently lives in Indonesi…