10 reisgidsen en landkaarten Afghanistan
Centraal Azie - Birds of Central Asia Helm field guides (Engels) € 49.50
Birds of Central Asia is the first field guide to include the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, along with neighbouring Afghanistan. This vast area includes a diverse variety of habitats, and the avifauna is similarly broad, from sandgrouse, ground jays and larks on the vast steppe and semi-desert to a broad range of raptors, and from woodland species such as warblers and nuthatches to a suite of montane species, such as snowcocks, accentors and snowfinches. Birds of Central Asia includes 141 high-quality plates covering every species (and all distinctive races) that occur in the region, along with concise text focusing on identification and accurate colour maps. Important introductory sections introduce the land and its birds. Birds of Central Asia is a must-read for any birder or traveller visting this remote region.
"For a long time, there's been something of a gap in field-guide coverage across the Palearctic. Europe is well covered, while the Helm Field Guides Birds of the Middle East, Birds of the Indian Subcontinent and Birds of East Asia between them cover most of the rest of the region – with the exception of a gaping hole in the middle. This hole centres around 'the Stans': Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Afghanistan, sadly, is unlikely to be on many people's lists of countries to visit in the near future, but the wide range of habitats and varied avifauna of this vast Central Asian region has already attracted intrepid Western birders to sample the avian delights of countries like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Indeed, tour companies now lead birding groups to the latter country. Clearly, this field-guide black hole needed filling; step forward Birds of Central Asia.
The book follows the standard Helm Field Guide format: text and maps on the left of the spread page, illustrations on the right. The maps are clear and the text is short but informative, with key identification features highlighted. I particularly like the fact that every species account begins with a brief note on the subspecies found in the region, even if this note is simply "monotypic". The illustrations are, by and large, of good quality. There is some variability in their quality and style but seemingly not purely the result of a 13-strong illustration team; there's something quite unnerving about the Carduelis finches in plate 132 yet the wagtails and chats – credited to the same artist – are beautiful.
Birds of Central Asia has done more than just plug the geographical gap that previously existed on many birder's bookshelves. It's provided a guide for the region that is comparable in standard to Birds of the Middle East and will prove invaluable to any visiting birder. Indeed, it should also be of interest for many Western Palearctic birders since it provides a useful reference for many vagrants from the Near East. Even if this field guide had not been entering into a clear field, I'm quite sure the information contained between its covers would have trumped whatever was available already – as it happens, there are no alternatives, and that only goes to enhance the value of this book yet further." [meer info/bestellen]
Reisgids Afghanistan - A Companion and Guide (Engels) € 34.95
Dit geweldige boek beschrijft de immense schat aan cultureel erfgoed, geschiedenis en natuur in Afghanistan. Een boek voor zowel de thuisblijver als de reiziger! Engelstalig.
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 Companion and 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 Robert Byron and Bruce Chatwin.
Experienced Afghan traveller 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. Elizabeth Chatwin, whose famous 1970s journey to Afghanistan with her husband Bruce Chatwin and poet Peter Levi was immortalised in The Light Garden of the Angel King, contributes an introduction. A number of specialist essays by leading experts further present topics such as archeology, architecture, carpets, miniature painting, music, flora and fauna. Wonderfully illustrated with superb images from world-renowned photographers, this book also features engravings, paintings and images of priceless museum artifacts. This lavish publication reveals the immense treasury of cultural, historical and natural wealth too frequently forgotten that is Afghanistan. [meer info/bestellen]
Reisverhaal - An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan Jason Elliot (Engels) € 16.95
An account of a trip through war-torn and poverty-stricken Afghanistan, this remarkable book could have been titled "An Unexpected Beauty." Elliot, who first traveled to the country as a 19-year-old enthusiast of the mujahedin, has no illusions about the inherent shortcomings of travel writing ("a semi-fictional collection of descriptions that affirm the prejudices of the day"). He also dismisses the journalistic method, which relies on a single bombed-out street in Kabul to monolithically represent an entire nation. So it is not without some self-deprecation that he offers his own strange and improbable adventures in the country's lawless stretches and perilous mountain passes. "I had in mind a quietly epic sort of journey," he explains. "I had given up on earlier and more ambitious schemes and was prepared to make an ally of uncertainty, with which luck so often finds a partnership." Humorous, honest and wry, a devotee of Afghanistan's culture, Elliot strives to debunk the myth of "the inscrutability of the East" and paint, in careful detail, a portrait of a deeply spiritual people. For a first-time author, his literary talents are exceptional. His sonorous prose moves forward with the purposeful grace of a river; it reads like a text unearthed from an ancient land. (Feb.) Forecast: Already lauded in England, this book announces the arrival of a major travel writer. It should capture the hearts of armchair travelers who long for the grace, wit and irreverence of an era long gone.
This extraordinary debut is an account of Elliot's two visits to Afghanistan. The first occurred when he joined the mujaheddin circa 1979 and was smuggled into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan; the second happened nearly ten years later, when he returned to the still war-torn land. The skirmishes that Elliot painstakingly describes here took place between the Taliban and the government of Gen. Ahmad Shah Massoud in Kabul. Today, the Taliban are in power, but Elliot's sympathies clearly lie with Massoud. Although he thought long and hard before abandoning his plan to travel to Hazara territory, where "not a chicken could cross that pass without being fired on," Elliot traveled widely in the hinterland, visiting Faizabad in the north and Herat in the west. The result is some of the finest travel writing in recent years. With its luminous descriptions of the people, the landscape (even when pockmarked by landmines), and Sufism, this book has all the hallmarks of a classic, and it puts Elliot in the same league as Robert Byron and Bruce Chatwin. [meer info/bestellen]