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An Imperial obsession,
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This review is from: The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named (Text Only) (Kindle Edition)
John Keay's exhaustive research allows a vivid picture of the spirit of scientific enquiry and imperial drive leading to the massive and painstaking exercise of mapping the spine of India in the early 19th Century. In a very readable account he gives an idea of the physical and technical challenges of the undertaking, and the remarkable characters who undertook the task.
In particular he gives a very vivid and believable portrayal of the man most associated with the task, George Everest. He appears an irascible, arrogant and driven man who overrides ill health, native sensibilities and the difficulties of terrain and climate to finish the task, and ultimately, faut de mieux, to have his name attached to the world's highest mountain.
A pleasure to read, and again a reminder of how recently the physical world was unmapped, and health and safety concerns unheard of.