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Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide [Paperback]

By Bijan Omrani (Author) & Matthew Leeming (Author)
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Item description for Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide by Bijan Omrani & Matthew Leeming...

Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is now unjustly thought of in the West as a barbarous backwater. Afghanistan: A Traveler's Companion & Guide aims to dispel this image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Starting with a full history of the country from 1500BC, each chapter looks at the major cities and regions, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, their associations with 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 the Middle East, including such luminaries as Wilfred Thesiger and Bruce Chatwin.

Experienced Afghan traveler Matthew Leeming contributes detailed information for those who intend to visit the country as tourists, with guides to specific cities and areas, as well as more general advice. A number of short specialist appendices by leading experts further illustrate matters such as archaeology, architecture, carpets, miniature painting, calligraphy, music, flora and fauna.

Wonderfully illustrated with superb images from world-renowned photographers such as Michael Yamashita and Roland and Sabrina Michaud. Also includes engravings, etchings, paintings and priceless museum artifacts.

This lavish guide reveals the immense treasury of cultural, historical and natural wealth-too frequently forgotten-that is Afghanistan.

  • Written by authors with both academic and first-hand knowledge of the country
  • Essential reading for anyone with an interest in Afghanistan's history
  • Includes stunning contemporary photography from world-renowned photographers such as Michael Yamashita and Roland and Sabrina Michaud
  • Rare archive material includes black-and-white photography by Wilfred Thesiger
  • Literary excerpts from Herodotus to Robert Lowell, Robert Byron, Peter Levi and Bruce Chatwin
  • The most comprehensive coverage, from Alexander the Great to the new constitution
  • 110 stunning color photos
  • 512 pages of invaluable information on Afghanistan

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Odyssey
Pages   768
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.8"
Weight:   3.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2005
Publisher   Odyssey
ISBN  9622177468  
ISBN13  9789622177468  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bijan Omrani & Matthew Leeming

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bijan Omrani was educated at Wellington College in the United Kingdom, and then attended Lincoln College Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Geographical Society. He currently teaches Classics at Eton College, England.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Asia > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Asia
3Books > Subjects > Travel > Asia > Afghanistan
4Books > Subjects > Travel > Asia > General
5Books > Subjects > Travel > General
6Books > Subjects > Travel > Middle East > General
7Books > Subjects > Travel > Middle East

Reviews - What do customers think about Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide?

Excellent  Apr 15, 2008
I am currently deployed to Kabul and after reading and reviewing many guides and books this is the best guide and historic account I have found. Another great book is Taliban by Rashid.
See Afghanistan without leaving your livingroom  Mar 28, 2008
When I picked up this book, I was prepared for a dense, AAA/Lonely Planet-style guidebook (filled with useful information, but not meant to be read from cover to cover). Instead I was surprised to find a very readable and richly informative book on the history and sites in Afghanistan.

Rather than writing a summarized narrative of the history of a particular city, castle, or mosque, the authors use numerous first person accounts from travelers from throughout Afghanistan's history from Alexander's historians to British explorers in the 20th century. These first hand accounts are fascinating. He also includes poems and folk tales translated from historical documents and local interviews. The combined effect of all of these first-hand accounts is a feeling of intimate familiarity with each region described.

The book opens with the history of Afghanistan and is very detailed for being so concise. The rest of the book is broken down into regions. Some regions, notable Kandahar, are left out due to the fact that security was still to dangerous at the time of writing (2006) for the authors to visit. The northeast area of Badakshan opens the account and it is hard not to want to visit this mountainous area after having read the tales. It works its way around the country counterclockwise hitting the areas around Mazar-e-Sharif, Heart, Bamiyan, Ganzi and Kabul to name a few.

Even if you never go to Afghanistan this book could define the concept of the armchair traveler.
Afghanistan:A Companion and Guide  Oct 27, 2007
This is something betweeen a Planet Earth travel book and an historical compendium of facts and figures. It is quite useful and interesting but some of the material will be outdated rather quickly so a Planet Earth guide, it is not. I like it and am glad I purchased it.
afghan guide  Mar 27, 2007
A comprehensive guide to everything about Afghanistan from carpets to stupas. Its excellent photographs and abundant maps leave the reader with a desire to visit this fascinating country. The book is heavy to hold but difficult to put down. A must for all travelers (armchair or footworn) of distant horizons.
The unknown Afghanistan  Jan 12, 2007
This hefty tome oozes quality. From its 768! pages printed on very fine paper to the wonderful photographs to the heavy duty binding. The authors convey a deep love for this intriguing country so often only heard of in terms of war and violence. This is also a most comprehensive history of Afghanistan. Its blue lapis lazuli was used as ornament on The Mask of Tutankhamun. Coins of the Graeco-Bactrion kingdoms of Afghanistan reveal life in the lost "Atlantis of the East". As a travelling guide you get "down to earth" advice: "Driving in Kabul is a contact sport. (An airline)... fly, when they feel like it. "The Worst Hotel in the World." etc. Some places are presently out of reach for the ordinary traveller due to war - again. For the Afghans, I sincerely hope peace will prevail. They are proud and tough people despite, or maybe because of, their many hardships. This book tenfold improved my understanding of their beautiful and complex country. Possibly you would bring the several pounds of guide book along in your rucksack? Probably not. On the final page, as in many places in this "tour de force", there is a fine underlying humour: "Published to appeal to the armchair traveller". I'll be travelling often with this good companion.

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