November 07, 2004
The Man Who Would Be King

One of my most favorite movies is The Man Who Would Be King, a movie based on Rudyard Kipling's novel, that starred Sean Connery and Michael Caine as British soldiers that march into Afganistan and carve out a kingdom.

Several months ago, we were 'testing' a conference room at work that had HDTV for an upcoming presentation and The Man Who Would Be King was on in HD. I extolled the virtues of the film. It looked damn good in HD.

A few weeks later, Brad presented me with a book about the real life inspiration for the story.

The Man Who Would Be King (The First American in Afghanistan) - Ben MacIntyre

The book is a history of Josiah Harlan, an American adventurer that went to the heart of Asia and literally become king. In the early 1800s, there were still many places on the globe that were hard to get to and where western civilization had little influence.

Harln left from Pennsylvania to travel the world ended up in India. At the time, India was under the control of Britain. To the north was Afganistan, a place of warfare and tribal control. To Harlan, this was a place to make his own name.

The book goes through the details of exactly how he did this. At one point Harlan was the Prince of Ghor, a huge area. The claim exists today and hs great, great, great, grandson was recently made aware of his royal lineage.

The story is interesting, but the book is a history textbook. I can be a bit slow, but for an avid reader of history like myself, it is a good choice. I needed a break from the spate of sci-fi I had been reading.

Posted by michael at November 07, 2004 05:25 PM