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Raggle-taggle: Adventures with a fiddle in Hungary and Roumania
Raggle-taggle: Adventures with a fiddle in Hungary and Roumania
by Walter Starkie
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vagabond in Hungary and Roumania in 1929, 28 July 2011
In 1929 at the age of 35, Walter Starkie walked through Roumania and Hungary in the company of gypsies, he made his way into their society by
playing his violin and whereever possible lived amongst them.
It is a fascinating account of a way of life and countries that have since undergone huge changes.
This is one of those half forgotten travel books that deserves greater recognition, it paves the way for Laurie Lee and Patrick Fermor. Perhaps a better title would have helped!
Starkie must have been a fascinating man, check out his biography on Wikipaedia


David-Neel Alexandra : with Mystics and Magicians in Tibet
David-Neel Alexandra : with Mystics and Magicians in Tibet
by Alexandra David-Neel
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A voice from the past, 6 July 2011
This book really needs to be read along with "Journey to Lhasa" It borrows a few stories from "Journey" and despite its title doesn't lead us very far into Alexandra's personal encounters with Tibetan Lamas, Magicians and Mystics. Maybe it was the style at the time of writing but nowadays one almost expects more about the author in a travel book than the travels themselves. Here the journey is mostly a mental one through some of Tibetan Buddhisms practices and beliefs as understood in the 1920's. I think its well written and injoyable, I just wish she had written a more personal account of her many years in and around Tibet.
Largely forgotten by english readers, and perhaps never forgiven, for being french and a trespasser in British controlled Tibet, her books, travels and life deserve to be remembered in the same way that Livingstone or Marco Polo stir the imagination, and remind us of those times when the world was a big place and there was a new country to explore just over the horizon.


My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City
My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City
by Alexandra David-Neel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars travel and adventure, 24 Jun. 2011
Its difficult to take everything here at face value, why does she take a watch and themometer and tent (remember this would have been canvas and really heavy when wet)but no hat or blanket. Why did she go in winter, and how did she find the track under the snow? and how come she never got sick? Leaving these questions to one side this is a very entertaining story, is it the whole truth, I doubt it, indeed someone wrote a book claiming she never made the journey!. There is a supposed photo of her in front of the Potala in Lhasa which seems unlikely, But on balance I would imagine she did make this incredible journey.
Some women see her as a feminist icon, but against that she seems to have treated her husband badly and poor Yongden who came back with her to France later died an alcoholic I believe, never breaking free from her. She may have been the first western woman ( not the only woman) to have reached Lhasa but of course many western men had been there before.She certainly helped to popularise Buddhism in the west, and lived to 100 still keen to go back to the "Land of Snows"
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2011 7:04 PM GMT


Forbidden Journey: The Life of Alexandra David-Neel
Forbidden Journey: The Life of Alexandra David-Neel
by Barbara M. Foster
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forbidden Journey, 21 Jun. 2011
Ultimately this is an unsatisfactory book about a very unusual woman. I am no expert, but the life of Alexandra David Neel surely needs a more critical approach than this. Here everything seems to have been accepted on face value, Barbara and Michael Foster are so obviously fans of the woman that they fail to adequately examine her flaws, the possibility that some of her exploits may not be true, and the way she treated those closest to her, which would now be regarded as very odd. One also wonders how she managed to aquire all those Tibetan texts and religious artifacts, while travelling with no money.
The end of the book gets even odder with Barbara, who calls herself "the American" describing her own visit to Tibet. However A D-N''s life was so extraordinary that this is still a good read.


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