Afghanistan in 1966 was a stable, independent and developing country. The letters published here record an extraordinary journey through that country by an unlikely traveller, a middle-aged woman from Canberra who was engaged in research on nineteenth century British–Russian–Afghan history. On a six-month field trip, Verity Fitzhardinge spent some time working in Indian and Russian libraries, but as the major part of the trip she spent several months in Afghanistan, during which she travelled widely and adventurously through the country.
Written to her husband in a lively and conversational style, the letters are full of incident and of description. They give a fascinating picture of a part of the world which is now much changed. They also provide an unpretentious self-portrait of a remarkable woman, independent and fearless but at the same time a warm and open-minded human being.
Afghanistan and the scholars of its history owe an enormous gratitude to Verity. This volume should be read by all those who want to know about life and society in Afghanistan at the time …
Amin Saikal, Australian National University
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