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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Historical / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:204
  • eBook ISBN:9781617924880


Frontier Duty on the Grand Trunk Road

by Gordon King

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Positioned astride the western terminus of the fabled Grand Trunk Road in the fiercely independent tribal area of northwest Pakistan, Peshawar is the setting for Ameri-Khan's tale of American diplomat David Booth's trials and tribulations as he opens the first U.S. Consulate there in 1960.
"Ameri-Khan" lays out in vivid fashion US diplomat David Booth’s assignment during the Eisenhower Presidency to open an American Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, pioneering an American diplomatic presence in the wild lawless area between the great Indus River and the border with Afghanistan. It included the fabled Khyber Pass, Baluchistan Province in the far south, and the majestic Himalayas in the far north, an area which for centuries had known only the law of the rifle and the rigors of tribal ways. The Grand Trunk Road, alive with legions of walkers and caravans, ended in Booth’s district, thousands of miles from its origin in Calcutta. He made a home for his wife and children in Peshawar, opened an official American office, and hired a staff including an advisor who happened to be a member of the ruling family of a northern principality. The new office dealt with a myriad of cultural, bureaucratic and practical crises in the process of getting established. For example, an elderly American woman died in a local hotel and her corpse was accidentally switched with that of a tribal Khan, creating a sensation among the Pushtun tribes. In another example, an American military officer, in charge of a training detachment assigned to the Pakistan Army, turned pacifist with decidedly unexpected and messy results. Added to his many other challenges, Booth also spent five nightmarish days in a hospital afflicted with bulbar malaria—with a 5% recovery rate—before convalescing at his prince advisor’s mountain home. After two years of further adventures and crises for David and his family and as Booth's tour of duty in Peshawar was winding down, he was confronted by one final challenge. Two young Americans from Missouri arrived on foot after endless months of trekking, determined to walk around the world. Despite David’s help and advice, the World Walkers managed to insult a local tribal Khan with the result that they were forced to make a quick guarded trek through tribal territory toward the Afghan border—a detour that provoked its own tragedy. David Booth's saga of trials and tribulations finds its end when at last his transfer orders from Washington arrive.
About the author
Gordon King grew up on a farm in Illinois, received his BA from Illinois Wesleyan University and then served in the US Army Air Force in northeastern India during the Second World War. After the War, King earned a Master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and then began his twenty-seven-year career as a US Foreign Service Officer. He was assigned to US Embassies and Consulates in such places as Kabul, Afghanistan, Peshawar and Lahore in Pakistan, Tehran and Isfahan, Iran, as well as Bonn, West Germany and London, England. In the mid-1960's,during his Washington, DC assignment to the State Department, King also worked at Peace Corps HQ and attended the National War College. After his retirement, he and his wife, the artist Josephine deBeauchamp, lived in such diverse locales as the mountains of western North Carolina, Hermosa Beach, California and the coast of Maine before settling in the south of England to be near Josephine's daughter and her English family. Early in 2004, following Josephine's death, King moved to southwestern Virginia to be near his son Tom and Tom's family.