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Land of the High Flags: Afghanistan When the Going Was Good

Rosanna Klass arrived in Afghanistan in the late 1950s to discover a peaceful country filled with hospitable people, beautiful customs, and thousands of entrancing stories. In 1964 she documented her experiences living in Afghanistan and teaching at a boy’s school in a book, “Land of the High Flags.” As a young woman, Klass was drawn to Afghanistan, a country that was then known more as an alluring, mysterious land. Considering the many tragic events that have occurred in the intervening decades, Klass’ book, which was republished this summer, bears a new subtitle, “Afghanistan When the Going Was Good.” Klass traveled around the country extensively, becoming one of the first females to teach at a rural boys’ school.  Upon her return she would write what some Afghans later called “the best book ever written about us and our country.”

In the aftermath of her travels, Klass returned to the United States, but remained devoted to helping Afghans. She founded the Afghanistan Relief Committee during the Soviet-era, which provided humanitarian aid to civilians, and established the Afghanistan Information Centre at Freedom House.

However, this poetic travel memoir tells the story of earlier, more peaceful times, giving readers a unique window into a bygone era. The reprinted, revised edition includes a new introduction and after word, describing how both Afghanistan and the author have changed since her initial trip nearly fifty years ago.

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