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The Road to Oxianaby Robert Byron
Synopses & Reviews
In 1933 the delightfully eccentric Robert Byron set out on a journey through the Middle East via Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Teheran to Oxiana -the country of the Oxus, the ancient name for the river Amu Darya which forms part of the border between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. His arrival at his destination, the legendary tower of Qabus, although a wonder in itself, it not nearly so amazing as the thoroughly captivating, at times zany, record of his adventures.
In addition to its entertainment value, The Road to Oxiana also serves as a rare account of the architectural treasures of a region now inaccessible to most Western travellers. When Paul Fussell "rediscovered" The Road to Oxiana in his recent book Abroad, he whetted the appetite of a whole new generation of readers. In his new introduction, written especially for this volume, Fussell writes: "Reading the book is like stumbling into a modern museum of literary kinds presided over by a benign if eccentric curator. Here armchair travellers will find newspaper clippings, public signs and notices, official forms, letters, diary entries, essays on current politics, lyric passages, historical and archaeological dissertations, brief travel narratives (usually of comic-awful delays and disasters), and--the triumph of the book--at least twenty superb comic dialogues, some of them virtually playlets, complete with stage directions and musical scoring."
In 1933, the delightfully eccentric travel writer Robert Byron set out on a journey through the Middle East via Beirut to Oxiana, between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. This is his captivating record of his encounters, discoveries, and frequent misadventures along the way.
In 1933, the delightfully eccentric travel writer Robert Byron set out on a journey through the Middle East via Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Teheran to Oxiana, near the border between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. Throughout, he kept a thoroughly captivating record of his encounters, discoveries, and frequent misadventures. His story would become a best-selling travel book throughout the English-speaking world, until the acclaim died down and it was gradually forgotten. When Paul Fussell published his own book Abroad, in 1982, he wrote that The Road to Oxiana is to the travel book what "Ulysses is to the novel between the wars, and what The Waste Land is to poetry." His statements revived the public's interest in the book, and for the first time, it was widely available in American bookstores. Now this long-overdue reprint will introduce it to a whole new generation of readers. This edition features a new introduction by Rory Stewart, best known for his book The Places In Between, about his extensive travels in Afghanistan.
Today, in addition to its entertainment value, The Road to Oxiana also serves as a rare account of the architectural treasures of a region now inaccessible to most Western travelers, and a nostalgic look back at a more innocent time.
About the Author
Robert Byron was born in England in 1905 into a family distantly related to Lord Byron. He attended Eton and Merton College, Oxford, and wrote several travel books before his untimely death in 1941, while serving as a correspondent for a London newspaper during World War II.
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