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…
- Central Asia: Travels in Cashmere, Little Thibet and Central Asia. By Bayard Taylor. First published New York 1892.
- Diary of a Journey Across Tibet. By Hamilton Bower. First published in London 1894.
- Heart of a Continent. By Francis E. Younghusband. First published in London 1904.
- India and Tibet. By Francis E. Younghusband. First published in London 1910.
- Journey to the North India through Russia, Persia and Afghanistan - 2 Vols. By Arthur Conolly. First published in London 1838.
- Kashmir and Kashghar. By Henry W. Bellew. First published in London 1875.
- Kim (Illustrations by J Lockwood Kipling) By Rudyard Kipling. First published in Toronto 1901.
- Life of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul - 2 Vols. By Mohan Lal. First published in London 1846.
- Mongolia, The Tangut Country and the Solitudes of Northern Tibet - 2 Vols. By N. Prejevalsky. First published in London 1876.
- Oriental and Western Siberia. By Thomas W. Atkinson. First published in London 1859.
- Reconnoitering Central Asia. By Charles Marvin. First Published in London 1885.
- Ride Through Islam. By H. C. Marsh. First published in London 1859.
- Ride to Khiva. By Frederick Burnaby. First Published in London 1874.
- Through Russian Central Asia. By Stephen Graham. First Published in London 1916.
- Tibet The Mysterious. By Thomas H. Holdich. First Published in New York 1906.
- Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan - 2 Vols. By William Moorcroft George Trebec. First Published in London 1837.
- 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.
- Travels into Bokhara - 3 Vols. By Alexander Burnes. First Published in London 1834.
- Unknown Mongolia - 2 Vols. By Carruthers Douglas. First Published in London 1913.
- Where Three Empires Meet. By E. F. Knight. First Published in London 1905.
- Wonders of the Himalayas. By Francis E. Younghusband. First Published London 1924.