Unpacking ‘The Man Who Would Be King’

The first American to visit Afghanistan was Josiah Harlan (1799–1871), a strapping six-footer from Pennsylvania.

Affairs of the heart often determine the future.

In 1820, the woman to whom Harlan was engaged severed the engagement. Reason? She had changed her mind and married another.

Like some others (including some writers of memorable songs), he seems to have never gotten over the rejection.

Harlan vowed to remain in Central Asia and, having tasted misfortune, find his fortune. Having…