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THE TARTAN TURBAN: In Search of Alexander Gardner

Kashi House, Feb 2017, hardback and ebook

'One of this generation’s greatest authorities on exploration in Asia has produced a fascinating biography of this strange and contentious figure … an elegant and convincing account … restores [Gardner] to the place in history that he should justly hold.'

- Bijan Omrani, Literary Review


'… the narrative never flags. It’s a masterly account of an extraordinary life in an extraordinary time and place; utterly entrancing.'

- Allan Massie, The Scotsman


'Keay has been writing about Himalayan history for almost as long as Gardner spent on his adventures, but The Tartan Turban is one of the most enjoyable of all his many marvellous books on south and central Asia... Minutely researched, wittily written and beautifully produced, it is one of John Keay’s

most memorable achievements.'

- William Dalrymple, Spectator


'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


'Keay’s fondness for his subject is infectious … Gardner’s story is as enjoyable as it is memorable.'

- Robert Eustace, Sunday Telegraph


'As entertaining as he is rigorous … Keay’s eye for human foible and sense of historical irony is both instructive and pleasurable.'

- Pankaj Mishra.

'[Gardner] deserves a decent biography that sorts out the lies from the truths, and John Keay is just the man to do it.'

- Charles Allen.

‘Master story-teller John Keay deftly sifts truth from myth-making … revealing an amazing tale worthy of Kipling or Flashman of a life lived further out on the edge than most could even imagine.’ 

- Michael Wood.

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