Freya Stark: The Minaret of Djam

January 5, 2014

517TEGVnowL._AA160_Freya Stark travelled through Afghanistan in 1968, at the age of 75; she describes a harshly beautiful country, backward in many ways, but with friendly people, and at peace… for these were the days before the Russians decided to interfere and began to wreck the country, before the Taliban took a brief grip and tried to move the clock back, before the US and the UK decided to invade and make the country democratic… it made me very sad, really. The most precious thing one can have is to live in peace, and to be able to raise one’s children in peace.

Stark writes well, and reflects deeply on what she sees and hears; there are many photographs, though overexposed in the reproduction, and the map is not terribly helpful, but this was a marvellous glimpse into the time machine of days and places lost and forgotten.

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