Magazine article Geographical

Travels into Bokhara

Magazine article Geographical

Travels into Bokhara

Article excerpt

TRAVELS INTO BOKHARA

by Alexander Burnes Eland, pb, 12.99 [pounds sterling]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The journey of Alexander Burnes, a young Scottish officer in the service of the East India Company, through the unknown Muslim emirates of Kabul and Bukhara was one of the greatest feats of early-19th-century travel. His subsequent account of his diplomatic mission--he was essentially a spy became the bestseller of the day and earned the explorer not only the acclaim of the Royal Geographical Society, but also international fame and wealth.

Travels into Bokhara is a classic, of course, but it's a forgotten classic, because in its original edition it comes to three volumes and is virtually impossible to read unless you're a specialist.

But this new edition from Eland is an abridgment, neatly pruned by Kathleen Hopkirk so that it fairly romps along. It's also topped and tailed with essays by William Dalrymple, which should be enough to persuade anyone of the importance of Burnes's writing. …

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