I haven't read James Michener in years. I'd forgotten just how much history one can learn from his novels. Caravans: a novel of Afghanistan is set in 1946. It was published in 1963. It paints a picture of Afghanistan just after WWII when great caravans of camels carried trade goods from India, Russia, and Iran just as they had been doing for 3,000 years. What I found interesting was how a few enlightened Afghans were attempting to bring the country into the modern world. Here it is more than 60 years later and there's been no appreciable progress. It will make you question America's continued involvement there.