Rory Stewart was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Malaysia. After a brief period in the British Army, he joined the Foreign Office, serving in Indonesia and Montenegro. In 20002 he completed a two-thousand-mile walk from Turkey to Bangladesh. His account of crossing Afghanistan on foot a few months after the US invasion, The Places In Between, drew wide acclaim and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his work in Iraq, which is recounted in his book Occupational Hazards. He was elected Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border in 2010.
Ten years after walking across Central Asia and through Afghanistan, Rory Stewart returns to Britain. He walks a thousand miles, crossing and recrossing the English-Scottish Border. A referendum is coming on whether Scotland will become independent country; he is a Scot living in England, and the Member of Parliament for the only constituency with 'Border' in its name. He paces back and forth between his family house in Scotland and his own home in Cumbria. He discovers that, buried beneath England and Scotland, is another country, now lost, a Middleland with its own history, its own civilisation: a vanished kingdom. Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and in housing estates, in motels and in farmhouses. Following lines of neolithic standing stones and the wilderness created by farming subsidies; wading through floods and ruined fields, he traces Hadrian's Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan. He interviews Buddhist and Christian monks, investigates arson attacks and heritage websites, and tries to get to grips with his tartan-clad father. His book becomes a history of the Middleland, or The Marches , what is now the frontier zone between two contemporary nations. Britain, he argues, is an island whose natural boundaries are the sea, a nation split by a colonial empire that drew a line on a map, separating tribes and families. The book is defined by a profound love of landscape, and walking, an unusual erudition, and an instinct for the most eccentric local histories. It draws on contemporary politics, and long years working in rural Asia, and on troubled borders, to illuminate the pattern of forgetting and remembrance that makes a very modern border and a very modern nationalism.
LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2017 `This is travel writing at its best.' Katherine Norbury, Observer An Observer Book of the Year His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along `the Marches' - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. Brian, a ninety-year-old former colonial official and intelligence officer, arrives in Newcastle from Scotland dressed in tartan and carrying a draft of his new book You Know More Chinese Than You Think. Rory comes from his home in the Lake District, carrying a Punjabi fighting stick which he used when walking across Afghanistan. On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey - with Rory on foot, and his father `ambushing' him by car - the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They cross upland valleys which once held forgotten peoples and languages - still preserved in sixth-century lullabies and sixteenth-century ballads. The surreal tragedy of Hadrian's Wall forces them to re-evaluate their own experiences in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. The wild places of the uplands reveal abandoned monasteries, border castles, secret military test sites and newly created wetlands. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son. And as the journey deepens, and the end approaches, Brian and Rory fight to match, step by step, modern voices, nationalisms and contemporary settlements to the natural beauty of the Marches, and a fierce absorption in tradition in their own unconventional lives.
Rory Stewart's moving, sparsely poetic account of his walk across Afghanistan in January 2002 has been immediately hailed as a classic. Caught between hostile nations, warring factions and competing ideologies, at the time, Afghanistan was in turmoil following the US invasion. Travelling entirely on foot and following the inaccessible, mountainous route once taken by the Mohgul Emperor, Babur the Great, Stewart was nearly defeated by the extreme, hostile conditions. Only due to the help of an unexpected companion and the generosity of the people he met on the way, did he survive to report back with unique insight on a region closed to the world by twenty-four years of war. 'This is traveling at its hardest and travel-writing at its best' - David Gilmour 'an astonishing achievement: a unique journey of great courage' - Colin Thubron 'wise, funny and marvelously humane' - Michael Ignatieff '[this] evocative book feels like a long lost relic of the great age of exploration' - Guardian 'His encounters with Afghans are tragic, touching and terrifying.' - Daily Telegraph
A fresh and critically important perspective on foreign interventions (Washington Post), Can Intervention Work? distills Rory Stewart's (author of The Places In Between) and Gerald Knaus's remarkable firsthand experiences of political and military interventions into a potent examination of what we can and cannot achieve in a new era of nation building. As they delve into the massive, military-driven efforts in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the authors reveal each effort's enormous consequences for international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state building. Stewart and Knaus parse carefully the philosophies that have informed interventionism-from neoconservative to liberal imperialist-and draw on their diverse experiences in the military, nongovernmental organizations, and the Iraqi provincial government to reveal what we can ultimately expect from large-scale interventions and how they might best realize positive change in the world. Author and columnist Fred Kaplan calls Can Intervention Work? the most thorough examination of the subject [of intervention] that I've read in a while.
Rory Stewart (author of The Places In Between) and Gerald Knaus distill their remarkable firsthand experiences of political and military interventions into a potent examination of what we can and cannot achieve in a new era of nation building. As they delve into the massive, military-driven efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, the expansion of the EU, and the bloodless color revolutions in the former Soviet states, the authors reveal each effort's enormous consequences for international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state building. Stewart and Knaus parse carefully the philosophies that have informed interventionism-from neoconservative to liberal imperialist-and draw on their diverse experiences in the military, nongovernmental organizations, and the Iraqi provincial government to reveal what we can ultimately expect from large-scale interventions, and how they might best realize positive change in the world.
The Impact of 9-11 on the Media, Arts, and Entertainment is the fourth volume of the six-volume series The Day that Changed Everything? This volume's contributors include P.J. Crowley, Mel Dubnick, Nancy Snow, Michele Cloonan, and other leading scholars.
By September 2003, six months after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the anarchy had begun. Rory Stewart, a young Biritish diplomat, was appointed as the Coalition Provisional Authority's deputy governor of a province of 850,000 people in the southern marshland region. There, he and his colleagues confronted gangsters, Iranian-linked politicians, tribal vendettas and a full Islamist insurgency. Rory Stewart's inside account of the attempt to re-build a nation, the errors made, the misunderstandings and insumountable difficulties encountered, reveals an Iraq hidden from most foreign journalists and soldiers. Stewart is an award-winning writer, gifted with extraordinary insight into the comedy, occasional heroism and moral risks of foreign occupation. 'Beautifully written, highly evocative . . . a joy to read' John Simpson 'A marvellous book . . . a devastating narrative' Simon Jenkins 'Absolutely absorbing' Ken Loach 'Strikes gut and brain at once' James Meek 'Wonderfully observed, wise, evocative' Observer