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A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (Picador Books) Paperback – 4 Dec 1981

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Dec 1981
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (4 Dec. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330266233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330266239
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 737,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'The master storyteller. He transformed travel writing' Independent

'One of the most enjoyable reads of the last century' Herald Tribune

'The most successful travel writer of his generation. It's impossible to read this book without laughing aloud' Observer

'Endlessly entertaining and self-deprecating' Daily Mail

'Full of serendipity and surprise' The Economist

'A total success' New Yorker

'Notable addition to the literature of unorthodox travel … tough, extrovert, humorous and immensely literate' Times Literary Supplement

'”A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” established him as a traveler who not only journeyed fruitfully but had the ability to bring his readers with him' William Trevor, Guardian

'I still think the last few sentences of “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” the funniest ending to any book I have read' Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Times

'The book that made [Newby's] reputation … typically ironic in its understatement' Observer

'Newby is easily the best of the bunch' Sunday Times

'All the lyricism, and spirit of adventure and discovery [in] Newby's work' The Times

'As good as its hype' Wanderlust

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

This 50th anniversary edition of one of our greatest travel classics includes never-before-seen photographs and a newly commissioned epilogue from Eric Newby’s travelling companion, Hugh Carless --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
From the pathetically inadequate preparations to the cooking of Eric Newby`s watch to the meeting with Thesiger...One absurd incident follows another as the two brave and foolish climbers fail to achieve their declared aim. It is such a funny book, every page is a joy. It is the kind of book you hope will never end. Sadly it does. Nothing to do but read it again...but, alas, I lent my copy to someone, and then it went out of print.
Luckily I managed to find a replacement in a second hand book shop.
So glad its in print again,now I can lend my copy without risk of being unable to replace it if it strays..
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Format: Paperback
This book describes an incredible story about a climbing trip to the remote Hindu Kush. Their preparation for the climb consisted of a weekend under the instruction of a pub waitress in North Wales. Along the way (driving by clapped out car from London to Afghanistan) they have numerous adventures including being arrested for running over and killing a nomadic herdsman. They had actually stopped to help him!
Most people will go through life never experiencing an adventure of this magnitude but for Eric Newby this is just one of several. Newby's other books include "Love and War in the Appennines" and "The Last Grain Race" both of which I thought were excellent.
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Format: Audio Cassette
It has to be said that "Short Walk..." is the best of Newby's travel books. I certainly think it should go down as a classic. Newby's books always have a very readable and charming style. You can't help but enjoy his books, especially this one.

"Short Walk..." is enjoyable because it's very down-to-earth. They go and climb this mountain in the middle of nowhere just because it's there. They don't do it for fame or fortune, the two of them just simply have a yearning for adventure. This whole amateurishness of the escapade makes it a delight to read... I loved it and would highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Eric Newby's account of his trip to the Hindu Kush is a book both daunting and delightful. He makes light of the incompetence and ignorance of both himself and his companion in the realm of climbing and exploring. Yet what they achieve is nothing short of remarkable, given their level of amateurishness. Perhaps a more experienced team would have sensibly given up in the face of hunger, illness and cold. Messrs. Newby and Carless soldier on and the account, understandably slightly incoherent, is both funny, self-deprecating and very, very readable. Their account of a chance meeting with the famous explorer Wilfred Thesiger is recounted, far less humorously, by the great man in one of his recent books.
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Format: Paperback
As per the other user reviews, this tells the story of a trip to the Hindu Kush taken in 1956 - apparently on no more than a whim.

Eric Newby was working in the fashion industry for some years before the journey and the opening chapter covers some of his time here.

As with other parts of the book, this can be a little confusing. Mr Newby also neglects to mention his time in the SBS and his earlier endeavours before and during the 2nd world war.

This book worked well on 2 levels for me -

Firstly, a charming travelogue chronicling the adventures and mishaps of 2 supposedly entirely inexperienced climbers going from a 2 day crash course in the Welsh mountains to the Hindu Kush in the space of weeks.

Bear in mind this lies in Afghanistan - "Kafiristan" - or Nuristan - is a region of that country rather than a country in its own right.

Secondly, many of the places mentioned on the way to the mountains are also mentioned in Rory Stewart's excellent book - "The Places In Between". In this book, Mr Stewart describes his walk across the mountains of Afghanistan in 2002.

The differences (or lack thereof) in the near half century gap are fascinating.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either travel or the current situation in this region. On one level it is a simple and often funny story, on another an insight into a culture and way of life which must surely be living on borrowed time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fabulous book. The ultimate amateur adventure story, everyone should read it. Eric Newby is irrepressible in his aim to climb the mountains of Afghanistan, Embarking on his poorly planned expedition, with little relevant experiance, he has no idea of what disasters await him in the hindu kush. Faced with incompetence, illness and equipment failure they soldier on regardless. The delightfully self-deprecating style of story telling does dampen the spirit of high adventure and sheer grit that keep our heroes going on their quest. It is beautifully told and laugh out loud hilarious. It is one of those books where I found myself trying to read slowly as i approached the end because I did not want to finish it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A totally brilliant Newby classic. Two determinedly incompetent and very English amateurs successfully failing to realise their climbing ambition in the Hindu Kush. A rare insight into the lives and tribalism of the people, the topography of this magnificent and basic country, and a humorous and self-deprecating account of Newby and friend's really challenging 'expedition' (or 'short walk'). Put it on your must-read list and read it next. And if you haven't yet read Newby's The Last Grain Race read that too!
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