Saturday, April 7, 2012

Two Views of Central Asian Journeys

For a while my obsession was collecting travel books about central Asia.  Rather than do one long list, I'm always looking for new categories.  Here's a new sub-sub category: One trip--two views. 

1.  News From Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir, Peter Flemming (1936; Library of Travel Classics).  One of the most difficult routes that can be taken, Flemming and his traveling companion Ella Maillart, a Swiss journalist traveled through western China over the Taklaman desert and the Himalayans.  Flemming was the brother of Ian Flemming, author of the 007 James Bond novels.   Bought used, State Department Book Store.

2.  Forbidden Journey, Ella Maillart (1937; The Century Travel Series).  Ella Maillart was told the journey she was about to undertake was impossible for a westerner and certainly impossible for a western woman. Maillart was instrumental in getting Flemming through with her amateur medical skills.  A remarkable explorer, she went on to be a great solo adventure in her own right.     Her contrasting views to Flemming, calling him erratic, make a great the two books great companions.  Bought used but cant' remember where.

3.  Turkestan Solo: One Woman's Expedition from the Tien Shan to the Kizil Kum, Ella Maillart(1934: Century Travelers).  Maillart travels alone through unknown areas of Central Asia. A great line, that adventure and romance have the same thing in common--the unknown.  Bought used but can't remember where.

  4.  Desert Road to Turkestan, Owen Lattimore (1929; Kodasnsha Globe Series).  A linguist, explorer and China scholar, Lattimore set off for the wilds of western China--known as Turkestan for his honeymoon.   Lattimore made extensive use of camel caravans.  Bought used State Department Book Store. 

5.  Turkestan Reunion, Eleanor Holgate Lattimore, (1934 Kodasnsha Globe Series). Wife of Owen, her book is a series of letters that serve as a softer counterpoint to the couple's travels across the deserts, steppes and mountains of Central Asia.  Bought used State Department Book Store.

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