Long before the arrival of Al Qaeda, the remote tribal region of Waziristan has remained indomitable to the world’s military powers – for the Soviets, the British and even the Greeks in antiquity, under Alexander the Great. In recent years, it has been characterized by “the most dangerous place on earth” by American intelligence officials.

This region provides the backdrop for Walks in Waziristan, a collection of anecdotes during the years leading up to the partition of India in 1947. Written by Graham Reed, Walks recounts Reed’s real-life experiences serving the final leg of a tour of duty that began in war-torn Europe.

Reed is stationed in Razmak, North Waziristan, a junior officer in the Royal Signal Corps in his early twenties. His “walks” comprise of a series of vignettes that amble along pleasurably – from encounters with the local Pashtun warriors and culturally confusing interactions with his Indian army counterparts to his experiences with the intricacies of military bureaucracy. Reed’s storytelling is never dull. His lucid observations are combined with a self-effacing humour and sense of humanity that is sure to charm his readers.

This collection will be of interest to military enthusiasts, historians and general readers alike.