Fermor’s Heir: Rory Stewart

Further to my recent post on Patrick Leigh Fermor and General Kreipe, I thought I would ‘break a lance’ for another Englishman who has embodied a little of Alexander’s adventurous spirit.
Rory Stewart is a Conservative MP now but in 2002 he decided for reasons best known to himself to walk across Afghanistan from Herat (visited by Alexander) to Kabul. What makes this walk especially impressive is that Stewart undertook it not long after the American led invasion of the country to drive out the Taliban. Stewart received the help of sundry Afghans along the way but his sojourn was not without its dangers from the deposed militants. His book The Places In Between is a wonderfully evocative account of his one month trek.
As if crossing Afghanistan was not enough excitement for him, Stewart then went to Iraq in 2003 to help the Coalition forces set up a new government following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t easy what with rival Iraqi groups vying for power, militia trying to storm his camp and the usual difficulties of being shot or blown up. Stewart’s book on this experience is titled Occupational Hazards and is also a great read.
As I mentioned above, Stewart is now an MP so I fear his adventuring days are over. Wikipedia also reports that he has gone and got married, which is surely the death knell for any future mad expedition. If David Cameron has any sense, though, he will surely promote Stewart to the front benches before the next General Election in 2015.
(Apologies to those of you who read this post earlier today. I have reposted it as the first version had the wrong ‘byline’)

Categories: Echoes of Alexander | Leave a comment

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