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What a Great Game to Play

ussia and France jointly attacking India…? seems unlikely. But, in the 19th century, this was a real possibility. Now: between the last Russian out-post and the last British out-post there were 2000 miles of uncharted, lawless, and boundary-less tracts, over which a land invasion, it was envisioned, could take place. It was Central Asia that they were looking at: tempting and dangerous: an area ripe for adventure. Scores of young officers of both armies — British and Russian — made clandestine journey into these areas to gather intelligence: topography, vegetation, states which could align with their countries, commercial prospects, and any other facet that could contribute to an advancing army. They went as traders, dried-fruit vendors, horse traders, gun runners, pilgrims, adventurers, every guise was tried. Some succeeded and came back to the base; others lie buried under some mound, or lie in some ditch, somewhere in central Asia; as for the rest: well… RIP.

What a Great Game to play…

The ones who returned wrote detailed reports, followed by popular books; some of them were best-sellers in their day. Below is a list of the books that are available on the Great Game. Original reports and narratives by the officers themselves still live on…

  1. Central Asia: Travels in Cashmere, Little Thibet and Central Asia. By Bayard Taylor. First published New York 1892.

  2. Diary of a Journey Across Tibet. By Hamilton Bower. First published in London 1894.

  3. Heart of a Continent. By Francis E. Younghusband. First published in London 1904.

  4. India and Tibet. By Francis E. Younghusband. First published in London 1910.

  5. Journey to the North India through Russia, Persia and Afghanistan - 2 Vols. By Arthur Conolly. First published in London 1838.

  6. Kashmir and Kashghar. By Henry W. Bellew. First published in London 1875.

  7. Kim (Illustrations by J Lockwood Kipling) By Rudyard Kipling. First published in Toronto 1901.

  8. Life of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul - 2 Vols. By Mohan Lal. First published in London 1846.

  9. Mongolia, The Tangut Country and the Solitudes of Northern Tibet - 2 Vols. By N. Prejevalsky. First published in London 1876.

  10. Oriental and Western Siberia. By Thomas W. Atkinson. First published in London 1859.

  11. Reconnoitering Central Asia. By Charles Marvin. First Published in London 1885.

  12. Ride Through Islam. By H. C. Marsh. First published in London 1859.

  13. Ride to Khiva. By Frederick Burnaby. First Published in London 1874.

  14. Through Russian Central Asia. By Stephen Graham. First Published in London 1916.

  15. Tibet The Mysterious. By Thomas H. Holdich. First Published in New York 1906.

  16. Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan - 2 Vols. By William Moorcroft George Trebec. First Published in London 1837.

  17. Travels in the Region of the Upper and Lower Amoor and the Russian Acquisitions on the Confines of India & China. By Thomas W. Atkinson. First Published in London 1860.

  18. Travels into Bokhara - 3 Vols. By Alexander Burnes. First Published in London 1834.

  19. Unknown Mongolia - 2 Vols. By Carruthers Douglas. First Published in London 1913.

  20. Where Three Empires Meet. By E. F. Knight. First Published in London 1905.

  21. Wonders of the Himalayas. By Francis E. Younghusband. First Published London 1924.

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