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Thanks to 20 years ofcivil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is now unjustly thought of inthe West as a barbarous backwater. Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide aims to dispel thisimage in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Starting with afull history of the country from 1500 BC, each chapter looks at the major cities andregions, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, their associationswith poets, artists, musicians, travelers and holy men, as well as warriors and conquerors.Ancient and modern sources from Afghanistan are extensively quoted, as well as the thoughts,musings and experiences of writers from America, Europe, Russia, China, India and theMiddle East, including such luminaries as Robert Byron and Bruce Chatwin.
Experienced Afghan traveller Matthew Leeming contributes detailed information for thosewho intend to visit the country as tourists, with guides to specific cities and areas, aswell as more general advice. Elizabeth Chatwin, whose famous 1970s journey to Afghanistanwith her husband Bruce Chatwin and poet Peter Levi was immortalised in The Light Garden ofthe Angel King, contributes an introduction. A number of specialist essays by leadingexperts further present topics such as archeology, architecture, carpets, miniature painting,music, flora and fauna. Wonderfully illustrated with superb images from world-renownedphotographers, this book also features engravings, paintings and images of priceless museumartifacts. This lavish publication reveals the immense treasury of cultural, historical andnatural wealth too frequently forgotten that is Afghanistan.
“...I used the Afghan guide across the country and thought it was fabulous. Odyssey hasinvented a wonderful new format for guidebooks that deserves to change the genre for ever ...” - William Dalrymple
“...a gem of a book...” - The Literary Review
“...If travel books came with warnings, the one for AFGHANISTAN: A COMPANION AND GUIDEwould read, "Caution: may inspire actual voyage". But then, this lavishly produced guidecould not help do otherwise - especially if you're partial to adventure...” - TIME Magazine(UK and European Editions), August 22nd 2005
“...well illustrated... its photographs... give an idea of the unequalled beauty of thecountry in all its variety... It is strong on the history... full of sensible tips. Aboveall, it is authoritative and as well-informed as only extensive travels inside the countrycan make it... If the country deters all but the most dauntless, it will serve as a vademecum for them and for the rest of us a reminder of what we are missing...” - Spectator
“...This is a superb book as I'm sure you agree and will be the standard reference book onAfghanistan for years. The launch in London gathered the cream of British journalism andpolitics and I was very impressed...” - Radek Sikorski
“...Thorough and beautifully illustrated, this book is a comprehensive - and fun - windowinto Afghan history, culture and traditions. A must-have for travel readers and a grippingread for anyone with even a passing interest in Afghanistan....” - Khaled Hosseini, authorof 'The Kite Runner'.
“...what we have all been waiting for. Bijan Omrani and Matthew Leeming have compiled amasterful and elegant guide to this most alluring of countries. Packed with history, richin whimsical detail, it is a treat for anyone contemplating a trip to Central Asia's greatesttreasure, and a fine read for the armchair traveller. Highly recommended...” - Justin Marozzi,author of Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World
“...much more than just a guidebook - the contents page alone had me gripped! The chapter onplaces to stay in Kabul had me crying with laughter... required reading for anyone with anyinterest in Afghanistan...” - Christina Lamb, Sunday Times, author of 'The Sewing Circles of Herat'
“...It might seem madness of publish a guide of nearly 800 pages to a country that is still onthe Foreign Office 'blacklist', but this one, strong on history and sumptuously produced, canbe enjoyed even by adventurers who never leave the armchair...” - Daily Telegraph (UK)
“...wonderful books on Afghanistan...I know they will inform my reporting andtravels...” - Mark Thompson, Time Magazine
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