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First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover Paperback – 27 Sep 2005
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An altogether delightful book... written with humour and beguiling gusto. --Times Literary Supplement
I think that this is the best travel book I have ever read. --The Motor
Fifty years on, their journey and its telling have become both an epic and a classic. --Sir David Attenborough
About the Author
Tim Slessor was formerly a BBC documentary maker and is the author of Lying in State (Aurum, 2003).
Top Customer Reviews
In 1994 I brought the whole group together at Magdelene College Cambridge for a celebratory dinner at which it was intended for my father-in-law to meet up with them after 40 years but sadly he died just before the dinner took place. We pressed ahead and it was very interesting to meet all of the travellers who had not been together for many,many years. The book for me is the most evocative "road" book ever and is a prototype for many of the books on motorised travel that have appeared since. The period they travelled in (1954-5) was the last knockings of the Empire and traces of the Second World War were in one case at least an important part of making the journey work. The only other book of similar importance, in my opinion, of the long distance traveller is Ted Simon's "Jupiter's Travels" a journey he undertook in 1975 by Triumph motorbike. But this is a truly great travelling book and should be read by anyone with the travelling bug.
These days its common to take a year out before Uni "Traveling" to get some independent experience.These guys did it differently (bar one Oxford man), and passed their degree courses before setting out.
In the year that it took them to complete this one-off adventure, they are exposed to some hardship and some opulence; influence and power, humility and grace, fun, friendship and responsibility, heat, cold and general discomfort. But mainly they learned to work as a team to achieve their ultimate goal.
Some very different personalities, temperaments and early life experiences with a cross section of skills, worked together as one team, sometimes two and always ably supported by the home team. They made it through to the end of land (Singapore) in two early Land Rover vehicles. In doing so, they directly influence what they would eventually do with their lives. Something that many still find hard to decide on completing their degree. End of Empire? Yes, that too.
Would highly recommend reading this re-print of Tim Slessor's excellent book.
The 5 surviving members (Henry, the mechanic of the group, passed away several years ago according to Attenborough's forward) are traveling (by plane!) to Singapore to mark the 50th anniversary of their arrival on March 6 1956: when you read 'First Overland', the tone that Slessor captures makes it feel so immediate, yet the reader is struck by his insights into the coming upheaval in the Middle East (and now Burma / Myanmar) that make this overland trip impossible in our modern times.
A classic travel book, highly recommended!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book before seeing the TV documentary. It's a fantastic read for anyone who harbours thoughts of overlanding.Published 4 months ago by Robin F.
An absolutely fantastic read! Specially if you are into your Land Rovers and world affairs!
The style of writing is upbeat and draws you in from the off. Read more
A great story from a time passed. I chose this because of my love for old landrovers and adventure and got a lot more besides.Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
GREAT BOOK BUT HAD TO RETURN AS MY HUSBAND HAD ALREADY READ IT, MY MISTAKEPublished 8 months ago by PFR
Hurrah! I've waited a long time for this - it is a gift and it looks brilliant!Published 17 months ago by PJ
One of the greatest factual stories that I have ever readPublished 18 months ago by Michael sunnucks