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At Home with the Patagonians: A Year's Wanderings Over Untrodden Ground from the Straits of Magellan to the Rio Negro (Travellers, Explorers & Pioneers) Paperback – 31 May 2005

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Paperback, 31 May 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Nonsuch Publishing (31 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845880080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845880088
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,612,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

George Chaworth Musters was born in Naples on 13 February 1841, to John George Musters and Emily Hammond. He was orphaned at a young age, and was raised by his extended family. He joined the Royal Navy, and upon his retirement set sail to explore Patagonia, a region with which he had long been fascinated. He married a Bolivian woman and lived in Bolivia until 1876. In 1878, he was named as the next British Consul of Mozambique. On 25 January 1879, shortly before taking up the post, he died aged 38.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Nash on 6 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book describes the arduous travels in 1870 by the author in the company of Tehuelche natives on an annual migration from Punta Arenas to the port of Carmen de Patagones- a journey of 1,200 miles across some very desolate and inhospitable land.

This book is a recognised classic account of the life and culture of the nomadic Tehuelche- a people who were destined to become extinct within a few years.

Inevitably some of the descriptions of the travel across the dreary landscapes become monotonous but Musters is a sympathetic and understanding traveller. He shares in the hardships and develops a strong bond of friendship with the Tehuelche.

Definitely a book to be read by anyone interested in the early exploration of Patagonia, together with 'Wanderings in Patagonia' by Julius Beerbohm (also published by Nonsuch)which contains excellent descriptions of some very tough travelling!
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By Paul Simonite on 30 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At home With The Patagonians is a fascinating travelogue of a journey through the wild lands of Patagonia in the days when travel was an adventurous and dangerous activity to pursue. Although occasionally repetitive, it describes in lifelike detail a journey across the southern end of the South American continental mainland and the peoples who inhabited that region. A good bedtime read for those interested in wilderness travel and adventure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Traveling with the Tehuelche Indians 26 Sept. 2006
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is quite the best of the books written in the late 19th century by British travelers who were enchanted with Patagonia. Two others, RIDING ACROSS PATAGONIA by Lady Florence Dixie and WANDERINGS IN PATAGONIA by Julius Beerbohm, have recently been reprinted and both bear reading. Musters was the first to publish (in 1871), and was referred to very amusingly by Lady Florence in her book when she described the reaction of her friends to her expedition:

"Patagonia! Who would ever think about going to such a place? Why you will be eaten up by cannibals! What on earth makes you choose such an outlandish part of the world to go to? What can be the attraction? Why it is thousands of miles away, and no one has ever been there before, except Captain Musters, and one or two other adventurous madmen!"

Thank heaven for adventurous madmen like Captain Musters! Although he was by training a military man, he was able to blend in with the Tehuelche Indians of Patagonia and travel with them for months between Santa Cruz at the mouth of the Rio Chico and the relatively young settlement at Patagones, now known as the twin cities of Carmen de Patagones and Viedma.

To be flexible enough to be accepted by a native tribe and act, in effect, as a sub-chief in their dealings with the Araucanian and Pampas tribes and still retaining their respect at the end is a tribute to a remarkable personality. Like Charles Darwin in his VOYAGE OF THE HMS BEAGLE, Musters was a meticulous and mostly reliable observer. His book contains two appendices, one a glossary of terms and expressions in the Tehuelche tongue, and the other an amusing comparison of the myths discussing whether the Patagonian Indians were giants (they were taller than most Indians, but not giants).

Musters traveled some distance with his Tehuelche hosts, much of it along the eastern edge of the Andes, the land now traversed by the famous Ruta 40. During his travels, the characters of the individual men, women, and children in the tribes were skillfully delineated, as well as their customs and frequent quarrels.

By 1871, the Tehuelche were well on their way to extinction. Musters estimated that there were only 1,500 members of the several nomadic bands. Disease, drink, and feuds all played a part in decimating their population. During one alarming stretch between Geylum and the Coast, the tribe had to pass through an area with such bad water and poor hunting that the children began to die off at an alarming rate.

This is an outstanding work that is readable and scholarly at the same time. I give it my highest recommendation.
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