ABOUT THIS BOOK
An American Engineer in Afghanistan was first published in 1948.The legend of Afghanistan as “The Forbidden Country” grew chiefly from a warning of the British Indian Government which once guarded the Afghan frontier north of the Khyber Pass -- “It is absolutely forbidden to cross this border into Afghanistan.” A glance at the endsheet map in this book will recall its strategic position in the Middle East.When A. C. Jewett entered in 1911 with an escort supplied for his safe transportation to Kabul, he was the first American permitted to live in the country since 1880. He was employed by Habibullah Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, to take charge of installing a hydroelectric plan, and it was during this stay that the first attempts toward modernization were made in Afghanistan. Although he came for only a year, it was eight years before his work was completed. Electrical apparatus had to be hauled over rough mountain passes. The work elephants’ harnesses had to be made by hand. Labor was not skilled and whenever crops were harvested, his deliveries of supplies stopped!Written in a lively, readable style, Jewett’s letters and journal notes tell the story of the land of the Afghans. An isolated country of ancient caravan trails, mull-walled caravansaries, and villages -- it was little touched by Western ideas in the last days of the old monarchy. But forces have been unleashed in Asia which even remote Afghanistan is unlikely to escape. Jewett’s entertaining story will help westerners to understand coming events.