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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of the "Great Game" era, 15 Nov. 1999
Simon C McCrum (Jakarta, Indonesia) - See all my reviews
This is a reprint of a classic account of a dangerous journey undertaken in 1875, at a time when Russian expansionism in Central Asia was ringing alarm bells in India.
It was feared that the Russians were forging a route to the north-west frontier of Britain's jewel in the Imperial Crown, India, and that their ultimate goal was to wrest control of that great country from Britain. This was the 'Great Game' that Kipling made 'famous' and involved in this game are many tales of derring-do, adventure, tragedy and immense bravery.
One of these tales is this book which recounts a journey taken by a lone Britsih Army Captain, during his annual leave from St Petersburg, through the Central Russian States and down to the most recent Russian acquisitions of Central Asia.
Burnaby travelled the middle of winter and managed to get much further than it was originally thought he would. For anyone interested in this period this book is a must.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A travel and adventure classic., 15 May 2003
John Austin "" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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 rumour 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 neighbour 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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A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia
A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia by Frederick Burnaby (Paperback - 15 April 2007)
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