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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than fiction, 19 Aug 2003
This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
There are two excellent reasons for reading this book. The first is that it is it an extraordinary story, well told. The second is that it dovetails beautifully with other memoirs and accounts of the time, notably Narzaroff's Hunted Through Central Asia and many of the superb books written by or (as Mission) introduced by Peter Hopkirk . If you want to know what it was like to be an Englishman alone amid the shifting malignant currents of the Russian Revolution, hunted by the secret police, living on your wits yet trying to carry out a mission, this is the book for you. Better than fiction.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic spy story & historical snap-shot of Central Asia, 30 Mar 2006
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Ian Barwick (Alton, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
I have read a number of excellent books concerning Central Asia History and the 'Great Game' exploits between the Soviet & British Empires, but this rates amongst the best because it is a first-hand account written by an excellent author.
Not only is Bailey's an amazing story of cunning & courage of a man trapped & isolated in hostile territory but it is also a marvelous snap-shot of a far-flung corner of the Soviet Empire during it's fledgling days. Baileys has great powers of observation and this enables him to describe in detail both the people and the country around him.
Although this book makes a great read by itself, I believe to fully appreciate the importance of Bailey's Mission and how stranded he was really was, some knowledge of the political setting helps add to the enjoyment of the book. I can recommend Peter Hopkirk's 'Setting the East Ablaze' which is another great book and puts Bailey's Mission in context with the bigger picture.
The only problem with this book is that it leaves a great desire to visit the places mentioned and to keep looking for other books that cover the same subject and the people that Bailey encountered on his journey.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first class man rediscovered, 25 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
Mission to Tashkent is a fascinating read - it's the original ripping yarn or thrilling tale before all others, but it's not a work of fiction. This is the actual story of an explorer turned agent, a British 'master-spy' as Moscow referred to him.

Bailey had sixteen months of intelligence gathering and evasion amongst the terror of the Bolshevik Revolution sweeping across Central Asia, and this acount of his travels and experiences is a 'must' read, to not just have a better understanding of the times and the mood of this era, but to show due respect to a great adventurer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Richard Hannay, 2 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
Yeah, what they said. On top of which, Bailey writes with a charming modesty and open-mindedness that set him well apart from your average white sahib Great Game player. Interspersed with the author's hair-raising escapades we get numerous glimpses of what life was like for ordinary people in early Revolutionary Tashkent, for instance: "About this time the Bolsheviks passed an order that people who got married could buy four bottles of wine and a little extra food to celebrate the event. Many people already married in church took advantage of this, and, to get a little more food and enjoyment, got married again in the civil registry office."

True, Bailey's mission achieved little. When he finally made it to safety after more than a year undercover, a trek through the desert and a gunfight on the Persian border, General Malleson sniffily observed: "A good deal Bailey reports is old news which we have already had either from my agent or from Bolshevik wireless. In some particulars he is quite wrong." Bailey declines to mention this in his book, or indeed what his own reaction must have been, but we can imagine.

Forget Richard Hannay and Indiana Jones - this is the real thing. Give yourself a treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 12 Dec 2013
By 
S. C. Liston "scott" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
As ever you get a high degree of scholarship from Hopkirk but still easy to read. Hopkirk displays excellent command of his extensive research and sources. He presents his information in an easily accessible form which would still satisfy most serious scholars. He has managed to retain a grip of the excitement of the times and the glory of the settings. He leaves no stone unturned and no detail unchecked. Well worth the effort.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My point of view on Bailey, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
With humour you understand a world and a piece of history you never heard about in advance. The great game gets new facetten
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just the Source, please, 16 Sep 2010
By 
Michael Hancock "rpcv" (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
This is an excellent source of material for those studying Central Asia in the early 20th century, particularly during the latter days of the Russian Civil War and the consolidation of Russian Turkestan in the vicinity of Tashkent and the Khanate of Bukhara. Keep in mind that Mr. Bailey is by no means writing everything he saw, and that we need to understand his eyes can only see so much. He is refreshingly open about the biases that must be kept in mind, as Mr. Bailey knows very little about the native cultures and languages. Still, this is an excellent opportunity to glance at pre-Soviet Tashkent, today the capital of independent Uzbekistan.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic book on the subject, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
A famous and difficult to find history about Englands attempt to increase its influence in all countries north of India, in order to secure its domination of India
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars book about uzbekistan, 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
i visited uzbekistan and the book was recommened by a fellow traveller so i purchased it on my return home.
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Mission to Tashkent
Mission to Tashkent by F.M. Bailey (Paperback - 8 Aug 2002)
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