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'John Keay is the guru of modern writers on Himalaya. Here, after a lifetime’s travel and reflection, is the story of the most important region on earth... This gripping tale unfolds in historical time, in mythical time and in geological time; but most of all in the here and now, as competing nationalisms fight over the largely unprotected ecosystems of Himalaya...
I read John Keay’s account with a growing sense of loss – and a sense of the beauty and majesty that once was.'
- Michael Wood
'Let John Keay be your guide to the Himalayas: he has decades of first-hand experience in the region, he wears his extensive learning lightly and he is a magnificent storyteller’
- Chris Bonington
'John Keay is the master storyteller and historian. He has long been an inspiration. This grand narrative of Himalaya is as epic as the mountains and peoples he describes’
- Dan Snow
'Alexander Gardner was the most extraorinary of 19th-century great travellers, yet he is unknown today. This rollicking life rescues him from obscurity… Beautifully produced by
a not-for-profit publisher dedicated to the Sikhs and the Punjab, Keay’s book is immaculately researched and engagingly written.'
- Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
'A superb one-volume history of a land that defies reduction into a simple narrative... Intelligent, incisive, and eminently readable.'
- Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)
'There is no understanding China, present or future, without a sense of its past... Anybody fascinated by the puzzle of what comes next for our frail, perplexed planet will find unexpected answers in this crisp, often witty chronicle of amazements.'
- Peter Preston, Observer
'Excellent... plunges the reader head first into some wildly swirling currents... His work is descriptive, panoramic, a large-scale survey of titanic struggles.'
'Keay tells the story with skill and anecdotal lightness…Spices are aromatic, mosquitoes bite, the seas roar in Keay's fact-crammed book, and the narrative races as in a novel.'
- Anthony Burgess, The Independent
‘There is no one-volume book in print that carries so much valuable information on London and its history’
- Illustrated London News
‘Impeccable…Keay tells the story of the expedition's slow unravelling with the quiet and masterly authority that characterises all his books…the book is a splendid piece of travel writing, too…Keay has painted quite brilliantly a portrait of the river and those intrepid Europeans who first ventured onto it.’
- Sunday Times
'This wonderful book - is a fitting monument not just to Everest but also to the Great Arc itself.'
- William Dalrymple, Sunday Times
'Using a wealth of finely selected memoirs and anecdotes, to a remarkable degree John Keay pulls off the impossible. While always alert to the seriousness of his subject matter, he nonetheless manages to evoke countless individuals, some well known (T E Lawrence, General Allenby), some only half-remembered (Gertrude Bell, Glubb Pasha), and some the preserve of specialists (A T Wilson, Loy Henderson), repeatedly joining up yesterday's dots with missing sand lines.'
- Sunday Times
‘A gripping, erudite and witty study of the European discovery of India’s ancient past. The first book I ever read on India, and still
one of my favourites.’
The great explorers were the celebrities of their day - the romance and danger of their daring expeditions captured the public imagination and the world's headlines to an extraordinary degree. Not all of them lived to tell the tale, of course, but those who emerged triumphant from jungle, desert or polar wasteland were hailed as if returning from beyond the grave.
Acclaimed travel historian John Keay introduces this selection of the best of these first-hand narratives.