Afghan Quest

Joyce Sunsheath and Eleanor Baillie, Bhavana Books, 2000, Reprint, 237 p, ISBN : 8186505342, $31.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Afghan Quest/Joyce Sunsheath and Eleanor Baillie

Contents: 1. The curtain rises. 2. Preamble and Baltic approach. 3. Georgia, an ancient kingdom. 4. Persian interlude, 5. Buses. 6. Kabul: postponement, protocol, and parties. 7. The Panjshir to Zeneh. 8. Dasht-i-Revat, and onward. 9. Approach to Mir Samir. 10. Reconnaissance—and disappointment. 11. New prospects open. 12. "At the peril of your lives" : to the outpost. 13. Hindu Kush at closest quarters. 14. Near-murder among friends—but the Anjuman pass at last. 15. Farewell to Afghanistan. 16. Trying to cut red tape in Rawalpindi. 17. The Gilgit agency and Kashmir. 18. Sundown. Afterthoughts.

"To travel across the mountains of Hindu Kush is an awe inspiring experience as these mountains were less known than the Himalayas even in the 1950s. Numerous difficulties coupled with troublesome path and steepy slopes, yet full of varied scenary often reminds one to experience the perpetual mystery of the Hindu Kush that stretches into the heart of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the bulk of descriptive literature written on Afghanistan in the 19 century during the British occupation mainly by Army officers and Government officials record generally events and facts rather than places and people. The distant mountains of the Hindu Kush did not interest such writers except as a barrier against war like tribes and northern people. With this in mind, a two-member women’s expedition called Abinger Afghanistan expedition, 1960 led by the authors themselves was planned and executed.

"This book presents a live record not only of the authors’ own adventures during the summits of the Hindu Kush but also of the life and habits of the people among whom they travelled right from the beginning of their journey. Travel by land through other countries enroute Afghanistan and back to England via Pakistan and India provided an opportunity to compare and contrast standards and conditions prevailing in different places, which have been recorded in full length by authors.

"The two explorers found Afghanistan hard and unchanged through centuries, yet containing the latent vitality that could so quickly be released by modern knowledge. As mountaineers, they acquired a unique and wonderful experience by trekking Mir Samir and beyond it upto the Anjuman Pass, the closest spot to view the peaks of the Pamirs. Situated at the extreme end of the Himalayan chain, mountains of the Hindu Kush were found to be very different from others as they lacked the majesty of the giants even of the Karakoram. Except Mir Samir which was to some extent isolated, the Hindu Kush range was broken and ragged in outline. One may witness the beauty of the Panjshir river rushing madly through deep, rocky gorges or spreading itself over wide stretches of flat valley. This first hand account details the true picture of each and every moment whether adventurous or difficult, experienced by the authors during the whole Afghan journey." (jacket)


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