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 the Embassy in Indonesia and as British Representative in Montenegro, Yugoslavia. In 2002 he completed a 6,000 mile walk from Turkey to Bangladesh. His account of crossing Afghanistan on foot shortly after the US invasion, The Places In Between, was published in 2004, drew widespread acclaim, and was shortlisted for that year's Guardian First Book Award. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his work in Iraq. From 2006 to 2008 he lived in Kabul, where he was the Chief Executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation; in 2009 he was appointed to a professorial chair at Harvard University as the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights; and in 2010 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Penrith and the Border.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the weekend that he's starting a book club. We've compiled a list of Picador books that fit the book club's criteria of learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.
If a psychoanalyst said to you in a word association test, 'Afghanistan', the word you'd fire back would probably be, 'War'. But Afghanistan is first and foremost a country of poetry and family, debate and faith. Its history is a tapestry far richer than we often care to remem...