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A Ride To Khiva Paperback – 22 Aug 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (22 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192803670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192803672
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby was a soldier, traveller, writer, and pioneer balloonist. He was reputed to be the strongest man in the British Army, and spoke no fewer than seven languages. In 1875, on a one-man Great Game mission, he rode to Khiva in Central Asia, and the following year set out from Constantinople for eastern Turkey. In 1885 he was speared to death while campaigning in the Sudan, where he is buried somewhere in the desert.

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HAVING once resolved to go to Central Asia, the next question was how to execute my intention. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 July 2004
Format: Paperback
I found a copy of this book in an old box of books belonging to my grandfather.
All the books in the box looked at least 100 years old.
I picked one at random to "leaf through" just out of casual interest.
After one paragraph I was hooked and my amazement and amusement increased with every chapter.
The book was "A Ride To Khiva" - what a find!
Until I researched more I had no idea this book was such a recognised classic.
Not only classic adventure but also a Mr Burnaby is an extremely amiable companion - frequently amusing and occasionaly side-splittingly funny.
I came across this remarkable tale of adventure entirely by accident and am so glad I did - please take my advice and get stuck in as soon as possible!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Selene on 4 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
Fred Burnaby's account of his epic trip by train, sleigh, camel and horseback to the ancient Silk Road city of Khiva in the winter of 1875 has become a classic, and deservedly so. Burnaby's trip was partly undertaken to check out the situation in Central Asia regarding Russia, Britain's great rival for power in the sub-continent in what is known as the Great Game. Russia had been gobbling up small states in the area, bringing its sphere of influence ever closer to British India. However the British authorities knew nothing of Burnaby's expedition and would have undoubtedly vetoed it if they'd got wind of it. A Victorian master of dashing derring-do, Burnaby was a loyal and distinguished soldier, but a maverick in the tradition of the great English eccentric. The Russians had recently occupied and forbidden foreigners entrance to Khiva, therefore Burnaby had an irresistible desire to go there. Although his trip was ostensibly a fact-finding mission, I suspect it was much more in the nature of a lark and patriotic nose-thumbing gesture.

His vigorous colourful writing style had already attracted attention and he had written several newspaper articles. "A Ride to Khiva" is articulate, straightforward, and lacking in self-aggrandizement. Burnaby has a great eye for detail, ear for cadence of language and a nice sense of humour. You get a clear impression of someone who would have been a great companion, a man with a contagious zest for life.

Burnaby sometimes reflects the now politically incorrect prejudices and views of the British Empire at its height. The Russians might be devious, untrustworthy blighters, but at least they are white Europeans, by Jove. White European superiority is not in doubt.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Austin HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 28 April 2003
Format: Paperback
A travel and adventure classic. South central Asia, the focus of the world’s attention in 2003, received an earlier share of it in the 1870s. For centuries travelers’ tales and the mention of such exotic names as Samarcand, Tashkent and Bokhara had aroused interest and fired imaginations. To all this was added rumor in 1875 that British interests in India were threatened by Russian expansionism. In particular, it was believed that Russian forces were massing in the recently occupied city of Khiva, nowadays in Uzbekistan, in preparation for an invasion of India.
A situation like this fitted perfectly the kind of “investigative reporting” adventures that Frederick Burnaby craved. In 1876, this 33-year-old captain in the British army took leave of absence, and set out for Khiva. The journey involved a ride of over one thousand miles in well below freezing conditions across steppes and wastelands.
On his return, Burnaby wrote “A Ride to Khiva” and it instantly became a best seller. A well-educated man, proficient in many languages, and a keen observer of all he encountered, his account still ranks as one of the great adventure classics of literature.
I am grateful to the neighbor who lent me this book, and can report that reading it has provided many hours of fascination. Burnaby died ten years after writing this book, supposedly during a massacre in the Sudan. Keen Internet browsers might find reference to a recent revelation that throws doubt upon the truth of the official account of his death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book which makes me understand its popularity 130 years or so ago. Great detail of the hardships of travel in a Russian winter; but also insight into the political stresses of the time, including Russian hopes of penetrating India, via Afghanistan, and stirring up, if not a new Indian Mutiny, at least a revolt against British rule. There were foolish expectations of a welcome by the Indian population, despite unconcealed the unconcealed intention of the Russians to primarily exploit India's wealth. The treatment of the Turkomans and the Khivans by the Russians, as related in this book, showed that, had such a logistically and militarily difficult operation actually been achieved by the Russians, the Indian population, both Hundoo and Muslim, would have been much, much worse off than they were under the British Raj. This is a wonderful book, and quite easy reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A travel and adventure classic. 28 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
South central Asia, the focus of the world�s attention in 2003, received an earlier share of it in the 1870s. For centuries travelers� tales and the mention of such exotic names as Samarcand, Tashkent and Bokhara had aroused interest and fired imaginations. To all this was added rumor in 1875 that British interests in India were threatened by Russian expansionism. In particular, it was believed that Russian forces were massing in the recently occupied city of Khiva, nowadays in Uzbekistan, in preparation for an invasion of India.
A situation like this fitted perfectly the kind of �investigative reporting� adventures that Frederick Burnaby craved. In 1876, this 33-year-old captain in the British army took leave of absence, and set out for Khiva. The journey involved a ride of over one thousand miles in well below freezing conditions across steppes and wastelands.
On his return, Burnaby wrote �A Ride to Khiva� and it instantly became a best seller. A well-educated man, proficient in many languages, and a keen observer of all he encountered, his account still ranks as one of the great adventure classics of literature.
I am grateful to the neighbor who lent me this book, and can report that reading it has provided many hours of fascination. Burnaby died ten years after writing this book, supposedly during a massacre in the Sudan. Keen Internet browsers might find reference to a recent revelation that throws doubt upon the truth of the official account of his death.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
the Most Famous of Burnaby's real life adventure books- an adventure book for the ages! 31 May 2014
By Joe Guide - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Imagine a character/warrior that would put "Indiana Jones" to shame. Burnaby was such a fellow. Educated, well liked, having great connections and moved throughout the ranks and privileges of society at that period of time.

He was, at the time of his death- one of the greatest Adventurers of Great Britain. A man's man, and one who oddly enough once went into Battle in Egyptian Conflict- with a heavy Twelve Gauge Magnum Side by Side shot gun, and was "mentioned in dispatches" twice for clearing out a sniper's den, singlehandly.

I first read "A RIDE TO KHIVA" from a old 1920's copy that I carried into Afghanistan.

Most arm chair historians today might be amazed to know that as a young officer- (Winston Churchill) thought that COL Burnaby - {who was eventually killed outside the Abu Kleh wells in Sudan while fighting the Mahdi's forces} was to young Winston, perhaps the greatest Gentleman Warrior who lived in his lifetime.

Burnaby's eyewitness accounts, and his adventures are thrilling. His travels, wild women, close calls with all elements of danger, frozen wilderness, kind people he and his valet/batman meets along the way is simply smashing! Not to mention...killer Wolves, and spies, intrigue and such excitement along his grand journey that would scare any SAS or SEAL Team member today.

All readers of non-fiction should enjoy it.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A "Great Game" classic 22 April 2003
By Frank J. Konopka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an exciting adventure book, writen in 1876 about the travels of a British Army Captain through Western Siberia into Khiva, a city in Central Asia recently taken by the Russian Empire. It purports to be just travel by an army man at liesure, and wanting to see parts of the world. Since we are in the "Great Game" era, when Britain and Russia were contending for the countries around India, I have the feeling that it was more than that, and that the author's mission was somewhat akin to "checking out the land" in the case of an impending conflict. Anyway, it's extremely well-written, and the descriptions of both the places and the people are first rate! The author obviously had a keen eye, and I would really love to read the report he actually submitted to his superiors in London when he returned. I'm sure it's still buried deeply in their secret files.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Loved it 8 Dec. 2008
By Aron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's a first hand account of an adventure, in the days before aeroplanes.
I enjoyed it thoroughly. Specially since it gave us an insight into a part of Asia of which we do not have much information. Highly recommend it for a relaxing read with your feet up in front of the fireplace.
Insight in to the "Great Game" era - good read for historians, bad kindle formatting 11 April 2013
By Lisbeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting and fascinating insight into south central Asia during the 1800s while the UK and Russia were busy building empires. Barnaby, a soldier and adventurer made this particular journey while on leave from his duties. There was a feeling that the Russians were wanting to expand their borders and eventually invade India and wrest the continent from the British. If one is interested in history and the period, this book is worth reading.

My only issue was with the disgraceful formatting for kindle which has resulted in split words and paragraphs in the air!
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