The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Oct 28, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
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The Riveting Account of the American Who Inspired Kipling's Classic Tale and the John Huston Movie

In the year 1838, a young adventurer, surrounded by his native troops and mounted on an elephant, raised the American flag on the summit of the Hindu Kush in the mountainous wilds of Afghanistan. He declared himself Prince of Ghor, Lord of the Hazarahs, spiritual and military heir to Alexander the Great.

The true story of Josiah Harlan, a Pennsylvania Quaker and the first American ever to enter Afghanistan, has never been told before, yet the life and writings of this extraordinary man echo down the centuries, as America finds itself embroiled once more in the land he first explored and described 180 years ago.

Soldier, spy, doctor, naturalist, traveler, and writer, Josiah Harlan wanted to be a king, with all the imperialist hubris of his times. In an extraordinary twenty-year journey around Central Asia, he was variously employed as surgeon to the Maharaja of Punjab, revolutionary agent for the exiled Afghan king, and then commander in chief of the Afghan armies. In 1838, he set off in the footsteps of Alexander the Great across the Hindu Kush and forged his own kingdom, only to be ejected from Afghanistan a few months later by the invading British.

Using a trove of newly discovered documents and Harlan's own unpublished journals, Ben Macintyre's The Man Who Would Be King tells the astonishing true story of the man who would be the first and last American king.

 

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THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING: The First American in Afghanistan

User Review  - Kirkus

An intriguing historical footnote teased into epic.As he did with The Napoleon of Crime (1997), London Times columnist Macintyre (The Englishman's Daughter, 2002) finds an unlikely hero in a 19th ... Read full review

The man who would be king: the first American in Afghanistan

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Macintyre (The Foreign Field; The Englishman's Daughter) is a well-respected journalist-historian drawn to themes of empire and tales of 19th-century "characters." This book combines both interests ... Read full review

Contents

Title Page
THE QUAKER KINGMAKER
MY SWORD IS MY PASSPORT
THE YOUNG ALEXANDER
THE DERVISH FROM CHESTER COUNTY
FROM PESHAWAR TO KABUL
KABUL CONSPIRACY AND CHOLERA
THE ALCHEMIST
THE KINGS NEAREST FRIEND
THE PRINCE OF GHOR
PROMETHEUS FROM PENNSYLVANIA
A GRAND PROMENADE
CAMEL CONNOISSEUR AND GRAPE
HARLANS LAST STAND
EPILOGUE KABUL SEPTEMBER 2002
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

COURTIER OF LAHORE
THE MAHARAJAS AMBASSADOR

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About the author (2008)

Ben Macintyre is the author of several books, including The Englishman's Daughter (FSG, 2002). A senior writer and columnist for The Times of London, he was the newspaper's correspondent in New York, Paris, and Washington D.C. He now lives in London.

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