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The Great ARC: The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Was Named Paperback – 1 Aug 2001
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About the Author
John Keay is an author and broadcaster specialising in Asian history and current affairs. His other books include (in addition to his HarperCollins backlist above): Into India, When Men and Mountains Meet, Eccentric Travellers and Explorers Extraordinary. He lives with his wife Julia in Argyll, Scotland.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Overall the book gives a very good account of how important the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India was, and how accurate; the estimation of India's highest mountain over 150 years ago was only 100m off todays measurement by computers and satellites!
The best thing about it is it brings back two people and their associates, who had attained oblivion, to a sort of immortality.
Lucidly written and easy to get through, the book comes from a specialist on India with some fine books to his credit including a major history of the sub-continent.
I think this book makes a fine gift, and I've already started giving away copies.
Rarely are the hidden chapters of history which would ordinarily be considered too dry to even bother with returned to consciousness. The adventure, effort and facts about Indian Geography including the Himalaya and the lives of expatriate Englishpeople, stiching up an Empire - it makes absorbing reading.
Everest, one of the leaders of this expedition, saw his name given to the highest mountain in the world, but never came close to this mountain. India was mapped very precisely around 1800 by courageous and persistent men, fighting rough terrain, tigers, jungle, and wheather. It took many years and many lives.
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.
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