Scott's Reviews > A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
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's review
Jun 09, 08

bookshelves: walks, 1950s, hills
Read in June, 2008

In 1956 Eric Newby, a refugee from London haute couture, and Hugh Carless, a career diplomat, set out from Istanboul in a station wagon, intent on driving overland to Afghanistan, where they hoped to scale Mir Samir, a towering mountain in the Hindu Kush. Both Newby and Carless were complete amateurs, relying on decade-old army rations, donations from venerable geographic societies, and an endearing naïveté. Just about everything that could go wrong did -- breakdowns, accidents, imprisonment, murder, thefts, bad food, wrong equipment, dysentery, and finally, exhaustion. Yet Newby's classic account of the adventure, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, is no bitter indictment of fate or even his traveling companions; instead it's one of the frankest and funniest travel narratives I've ever read -- one that shows you don't always need to keep a stiff upper lip, but it helps a lot to keep a sense of humor. The ending is superb!
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