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A Journey through Afghanistan

Shortly before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, David Chaffetz slipped from the protection of Western culture and immersed himself in the customs, fears, and hopes of the Afghan people, setting out by car and on horseback for a long journey through the northwestern quarter of the country. A Journey through Afghanistan is the story, told in vivid, descriptive prose, of his experience—an account that reveals more about the Afghan people themselves than most books written either before or since.

272 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1981, 1984, 2002

History: Middle Eastern History

Middle Eastern Studies


“The best thing I have read for giving the feel of Afghanistan and its varied people, social classes, religious sects. . . . Chaffetz wins confidence with the easy simplicity of his narrative. . . . What emerges from a charmingly simple story . . . is the warning—at least to this reviewer—that one must be cautious about using the term ‘Afghan nation’ as it is used in the west.”

Owen Lattimore | Washington Post Book World

Table of Contents

Foreword by Willard Wood

Chapter One: Portals to a Land
Islam Qala
Dasht, Bagh, Bazaar
Days and Nights in a Fasting Season
Celebrating the Feast

Chapter Two: Waiting for Transfer
Afghan Truck
Samovar Talk
The Div’s Castle
At the Bell
On the Steppe

Chapter Three: On Pilgrimage
Graves of Giants
The Cave of Sleepers

Chapter Four: Heart of an Oasis
The Old City
A Grand Gesture
A Keepsake
Holiday Bath
Abraham’s Sacrifice

Chapter Five: On Horseback
Ganj Bazaar
Kabud, Ablaq
Riding Out

Chapter Six: The Journey
On the Road
The Storm
Prophetic Talk
Under the Earth

Chapter Seven: In the Valley
A Very Small World
By the Riverside
Life of the Tribes
A Strange Ritual
The Shah of Mashhad

Chapter Eight: Leaving Afghanistan
A Handful of Dust
Echoes & Apologies


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