You shall not Pass!

Modern Books and Manuscripts 2013-10-29

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Lowell Thomas was an American writer, traveler, and broadcaster that is often known as the person who made Lawrence of Arabia famous.  This graphic depiction of an Afghan man is from the dust jacket of Beyond Khyber Pass into forbidden Afghanistan a book by Thomas about his travels and observations in the 1920s of Afghanistan.  Beyond Khyber Pass was no easy feat to write since it took Thomas two years just to gain access to the country itself for as he states in the book “…our chances of getting to Kabul seemed to be considerably less than those of a camel’s passing through the eye of a needle.”  Just as they were about to give up hope the intervention of his Majesty Amanullah Khan, Amir of Afghanistan meant success for their endeavor.

Historically Khyber Pass was an important trade route and once an integral part of the Silk Road, which connected East to West and was highly significant in the developing civilization of China, Europe, and India.  Khyber Pass goes through the Spin Ghar mountains that connect Afghanistan and current day Pakistan, which at the time was British controlled India.

As the title indicates Thomas travels beyond the pass and explores the country and notoriously isolated people of Afghanistan.  The journey throughout the book is filled with both engaging writing, as well as reproductions of photographs taken by both Thomas and his companion Harry Chase.  To learn more about this fascinating cultural exploration look at Beyond Khyber Pass into forbidden Afghanistan. Illustrated with many original photographs taken by Harry A. Chase and the author. New York, Grosset & Dunlap [1925].

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.