Author: John KeayPublisher: HarperCollinsYear: 2000/2003Language: EnglishPages: 277ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172233868
Here is a story that rivals the search for the sources of the Nile and the race for the South Pole.As a challenge for explorers the mountain wilderness between India and Inner Asia was unique. The Western Himalayas were seen as a barrier guarding fabled cities unvisited since Marco Polo, barring the way for the commercial opening of Central Asia and Inland China. It took half a century to penetrate this barrier, evidence enough of the appalling difficulties involved. Then there was the terrain - the most formidable on earth, powerful enough to undermine man's sense of self-importance. Yet these explorers are characters of extraordinary stature; Alexander Gardiner, the American adventurer who brought the spirit of OK Corral to the Afghan Hindu Kush; Joseph Wolff, the mad missionary who crossed the same range stark naked; Victor Jacquemont, the Byronic Parisian who suffered for his love of the ladies; or Thomas Thomson the Scottish naturalist who first reached the crest of the Karakorams. Along with the legendary Moorcroft and doffed surveyors like Godwin-Asten they fully live up to their magnificent setting.