Trespassers on the Roof of the World Hardcover – 31 May 1982
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'A marvellous book, well researched and beautifully written - a treat for armchair explorers everywhere' (New Statesman)
'As vivid and gripping as a John Buchan novel' (Evening Standard) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Peter Hopkirk travelled widely in the regions where his six books are set: Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, Russia, India and Pakistan, Iran, and Eastern Turkey. He worked as an ITN reporter, the New York correspondent of the old Daily Express, and - for twenty years - on The Times. No stranger to misadventure, he was twice held in secret police cells and has was also hijacked by Arab terrorists. His works have been translated into many languages. All six of his books are available from John Murray: THE GREAT GAME, ON SECRET SERVICE EAST OF CONSTANTINOPLE, SETTING THE EAST ABLAZE, TRESPASSERS ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, FOREIGN DEVILS ON THE SILK ROAD and QUEST FOR KIM. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Peter Hopkirk manages to keep the interest up throughout the book. He relates his facts like a story unfolding and the reader just wants to keep going. It isn't written in a highbrow way, but it covers everything it aims to and Peter Hopkirk makes no apologies for skipping things he sees as being beyond the scope of the book. I have read two other of Hopkirk's books as well and now intend to read the rest.
Stripped to basics, these are adventure stories: Somerset Maugham meets John Buchan. But in detail they are revealed often as accounts of immense courage in overwhelmingly forbidding circumstances, sometimes of almost unbelievable foolhardiness. Remarkably but perhaps not surprisingly, virtually everyone who made the attempt wrote about it afterwards. Hopkirk has read the books, feretted among the official archives, travelled the area himself. The narrative is vivid and anecdotal but there is enough political and historical background to establish context. If the voice is the voice of Empire it is at least authentic.
The reservation of other readers that this book does not look at the trespassers from the point of view of the Tibetans would only be valid if the author had set out to provide a rounded account. But that is matter for other writers with other perspectives. Peter Hopkirk unashamedly sets out to tell the many stories of those who attempted - and mostly failed - to penetrate the forbidden kingdom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Some of the other customer reviews have been luke-warm about the book, but in its defence it is not a book about Tibet, Tibetans or religion - it is exactly what it claims to be, i.e. a series of fascinating stories of western adventurers (plus one Japanese!) told to different levels of detail depending on the merits and information available of each adventurer's journey.
I have to say that I am a big Peter Hopkirk fan so I must disclose my obvious bias here. However, for those that are familiar with some of his other works, I would rate this book alongside his 'The Great Game' and I found that, as a read, it flowed even better than his (very good) works 'Setting the East Ablaze' and 'On Secret Service East of Constantinople'.
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