Kathmandu is the greatest city of the Himalaya. Closed to the world until 1951, this medieval time capsule now finds itself battered by modernization, consumerism and bungled Western intervention. Erudite, entertaining and accessible, this remarkable book is both a memoir of ten years spent living in the Nepalese capital and a chronicle of its remarkable history. The result is a riveting description of an ancient theocratic monarchy, a jewel of world art, a communist hotbed, a failed democracy and an environmental catastrophe.
Empires in the Sun
The Struggle for the Mastery of Africa: 1830-1990
Through the 19th and 20th centuries, European powers vied for control of Africa’s vast resources while persuading themselves that they were bringing the benefits of Christian civilization to a ‘backward’ continent. This majestic narrative history charts the colonial conquests of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal, and African resistance to them, and examines how, post-1945, Cold War rivalry between the United States and the USSR gave rise to dictatorships and proxy wars that cost the lives of millions.
An Indian Love Affair
Simon Gandolfi first visited India in the 1960s, driving a VW to Goa, where he met and fell in love with Vanessa. Forty years later, fury at the terrorist attacks on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai leads him to return, this time on a Honda 125. Gandolfi’s unique and charming travelogue interweaves the two trips, combining bittersweet memories of the past with a window on the India of today.
Oasis City on China's Old Silk Road
Located 2,500 miles from Beijing between the high Pamirs and the Taklimakan Desert in China’s Muslim far west, Kashgar is one of the remotest cities in the world. This book celebrates its rich history, its famous market and its ancient Islamic architecture in the superb images of John Gollings, one of Australia’s leading photographers. The richly informative text explains how, until the early 20th century, it was the pivot of Central Asia and a key post on the Silk Road.
Word, Symbol, Song
For more than a millennium, the peoples of West Africa have harnessed the power of words and images to build societies, communicate faith, and challenge injustice. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Library, this lavishly illustrated book explores the region’s written heritage and even older oral culture. Leading international scholars offer a unique insight into this rich tradition, and the current explosion of creativity in an array of media.
A Personal Celebration of the National Parks
America was the first country to designate areas of outstanding beauty or interest as national parks, beginning with Yellowstone in 1872. The US National Park Service now oversees almost 400 protected sites, and this book celebrates the centenary of its foundation in 1916 by exploring 21 of the most spectacular environments, from the South Dakota Badlands and Grand Teton in Wyoming to the Yosemite National Park in California.
Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem
Columbus is history’s most famous mariner, the man who discovered the New World and proved that the Atlantic could be crossed. But his religious motivations are less well-known; in this reappraisal a cultural anthropologist examines Columbus in the context of his times, revealing that he was driven by a fervent desire to finance a crusade which would recapture Jerusalem and usher in Christ’s Second Coming.
In Search of Remarkable Trees
On Safari in Southern Africa
The author and photographer Thomas Pakenham is no stranger to Africa or to trees. In this beautifully crafted volume, he combines his two interests as he travels through Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa in search of extraordinary trees, from giant baobabs and gnarled, ancient camphor trees to graceful jacarandas. The text that accompanies each image recounts his adventures and reflects on the role of trees in magic, folklore and ritual.
Buddhist Temples of Thailand
A Visual Journey Through Thailand's 40 Most Historic Wats
Thailand has 40,000 registered temples – known as wats – ranging from the spectacular structures of Bangkok to crumbling rural buildings containing ancient murals. This book features specially commissioned photographs of 40 such temples, selected to illustrate the regional diversity of this architectural form. The accompanying text traces the historical development of Buddhism and its temple-building tradition, as well as highlighting the wat’s role in daily life, as both a spiritual centre and a social institution.
Andalucia and Las Alpujarras
An Artist in Lemon Country
One of Britain's foremost pastel artists, Lionel Aggett has long been enchanted by the light, colour and raw splendour of Spain, and particularly Andalucia. Accompanied by the artist's own account of his work and travels and pages from his sketchbooks, this substantial collection of his work includes landscapes of the region, from the vineyards of Navarra and La Rioja to the Sierra Nevada and the high plains of Castilla La Mancha.
Lionel Aggett's Italy
Artist Lionel Aggett's love affair with Italy began in 1957 when, as a young architectural student, he first visited Umbria. This luminous collection of more than 200 pastel paintings and Conte sketches from his notebook record a more recent journey that took him through Puglia, Umbria, Tuscany and on to Venice. Accompanied by a narrative of his travels, they capture the peninsula's beguiling landscape and breathtaking architecture in all their beauty.
Tuscany is both the cradle of the Renaissance and a region of breathtakingly beautiful and richly varied landscapes, from the mountains of the north to the bare clay hills of the Crete Senese to the south. The 150 captivating colour photographs in this book show its many facets: the architectural wonders of Florence, Siena and Pisa, the vineyards of Chianti, the long, cypress-lined roads, the rocky coast, and the peaceful farms nestling amid rolling hills.
Emerging from decades of communist repression, Hungary's capital still manages to preserve its old-world courtesy, deep cultural traditions and air of mystery despite the creeping blandness of globalization. The author, a classical musician deeply engaged with Budapest's cultural life, provides an idiosyncratic and affectionate view of the people and traditions of this historic city at the crossroads of Central Europe.
Roads to Berlin
Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Germany
The celebrated Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom embarks on a voyage of discovery through the history, culture and people of his country's large and sometimes overbearing neighbour. Written and updated over several decades, it includes an eyewitness account of the fall of the Berlin Wall, charts Germany's difficult path to reunification and culminates in a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the shadow of the Eurozone crisis. Roads to Berlin sheds valuable light on the state of Europe today.
Culture on the Edge
The Tibetan way of life is changing fast, with new transport links and communications infrastructure bringing ever more tourists and technology. The environment itself is also in jeopardy as the region heats up and glaciers that feed important water sources flowing into China, India and Pakistan recede. This photographic portfolio presents studies of the striking people, landscapes and customs of Tibet with reference to how these modern threats are affecting the country's traditional devotional Buddhist culture.
A Journey Downriver Through Egypt's Past and Present
'From Egypt's earliest art (prehistoric images of fish-traps, carved into cliffs overlooking the river) to the Arab Spring (fought over on the bridges of Cairo), the Nile has been central to Egypt's story.' An expert in the ancient civilization dominated by the great river, Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson travels the length of the Nile, from Aswan, through Luxor, modern Qena and ancient Nagada, Abydos and the Fayum to Cairo, reflecting on both past and present and an uncertain future. American-cut pages.
Few countries can match the archaeological treasures or natural beauty of Turkey. Beautifully designed and illustrated with breathtaking colour photographs on every page, this handsome volume explores the legacy of the many civilizations – from the Hittites to the Ottomans – that have left their mark on the country, and charts its history, its politics, and the lives of its people today, from the crowded bazaars of Istanbul to the bleak highlands of Anatolia.
On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
Long resident in Italy, Tim Parks decided to travel the length of the country by rail to discover what his adopted home and its people were really like. The result is an epic journey on which he meets conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, lovers and scholars, gypsies and immigrants, in a series of vivid, insightful and often humorous encounters that capture the essence of the country in all its beauty, absurdity, frustration and joy. American-cut pages.
Tales from the Queen of the Desert
Taking its title from Werner Herzog's recent film about Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), this book presents two works by the intrepid archaeologist and traveller who was to play a significant role in the Middle East during the First World War. Persian Pictures (1894) describes Bell's journey to visit her uncle, then British Minister at Tehran, Persia, in 1892; in Syria: The Desert and the Sown (1907) she describes the deserts and cities of 'Greater Syria'.
Not so much a guidebook as a guide to the spirit of the place, this stylish little volume is as smart and sassy as the city it celebrates, and mixes a historical perspective with an appreciation of high and low culture. A rich account of New York's development from Dutch trading post to world metropolis is followed by an exploration of its landmarks, communities, shops, bars and restaurants, offering valuable insight into the Big Apple. Cityscopes series.
The Conquest of the Ocean
The Illustrated History of Seafaring
The oceans cover two thirds of the globe and have shaped human history, stimulating exploration and migration, transport and trade, science and technology. In this epic narrative, one of the world's leading naval historians weaves together eyewitness accounts and documentary evidence to bring alive the agonies, achievements and adventures of seafarers throughout history. Illustrated with paintings, photographs, maps and artefacts, this enthralling book charts the history of navigation from the earliest Polynesians to today's global shipping.
The Ocean of the Future
Covering a third of the planet, the Pacific Ocean is the world's largest body of water. It is also the source of our weather patterns and the ocean of the future: what happens across its vast expanse will determine the destiny of humanity. Following his bestseller Atlantic, Winchester celebrates its power and beauty, and charts ten key moments in its history including the atomic tests, the Japanese electronics revolution and the economic rise of China.
Summit of Achievement
On 29 May 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered the world's highest mountain. This new edition of a book first published in 2003 chronicles the history of Everest exploration from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Drawing on the Royal Geographical Society's rich archive, it includes more than 400 photographs, many never published before, that capture the grandeur and peril of the mighty mountain. With a foreword by Hillary and an introduction by the Dalai Lama.
In The Heart of The Sea
The Epic True Story that Inspired Moby Dick
The sinking of the Nantucket whale ship Essex by an enraged sperm whale far out in the Pacific in 1820 was the inspiration for Melville’s classic novel. In this compelling narrative, the maritime historian Nathaniel Philbrick uses first hand accounts, including the diary of one of the survivors, to describe the terrifying experiences of the 20 crewmen of the Essex when they took to the open sea in three small boats.
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret
In 1765, Jeanne Baret smuggled herself aboard a French naval expedition on which her lover Philibert Commerson was official botanist. Disguised as a boy, she carried heavy equipment, collected thousands of specimens, took detailed scientific notes - and became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Drawing on painstaking research and Baret's recently discovered notebook, this captivating book charts her thrilling story and restores this forgotten heroine to her rightful place in the history of science. American-cut pages and Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
A Traveller's Year
365 Days of Travel Writing in Diaries, Journals and Letters
'The soap that the French wash their things with smells of aniseed,' wrote Mary Browne in her diary in 1821, 'and gives their beds a disagreeable smell.' This anthology of journals, letters and memoirs draws on five centuries of travel writing to provide two or three quirky, thrilling or wryly funny anecdotes for each day of the year. The contributors include Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Bell, Graham Greene, Simone de Beauvoir, Jack Kerouac and Alan Bennett.
The Times Explorers
The exploration of uncharted terrain has always stirred the human imagination. Illustrated with rare photographs from the archives of The Times, this handsome volume charts the achievements of the men and women who have pushed forward the boundaries of our geographical knowledge. Focusing on each of the world's most challenging terrains - mountains, ice, jungles, deserts, seas and deep caves - it vividly retells the dramatic expeditions of Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Amundsen, Freya Stark, Edmund Hillary and many others.
Best-Kept Secrets of Europe
This photographic guide to the cities of Europe traces an itinerary from the cafes of Paris and the attractions of London, Edinburgh and Dublin, through the bustling streets of Barcelona and Berlin to the great Ottoman mosques of Istanbul, via Vienna, Prague, Rome, Venice and Athens. Colour images bring to life the majesty of cathedrals and palaces, the buzz of vibrant markets and the calm of secluded corners, while extended captions share historical curiosities.
Best-Kept Secrets of Paris
Visitors flock to Paris to marvel at its beauty and soak up its atmosphere; alongside world-famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, the city offers an inexhaustible supply of lesser-known delights. This glorious visual celebration of its historical and architectural riches is arranged by area, exploring both popular attractions and quiet backwaters, tranquil parks and Bohemian cafes
Stories in Stone: Paris
A Field Guide to Paris Cemeteries and Their Residents
Paris: city of lights, city of romance - and city of death. Approximately 12 million people call Paris home, and for the inhabitants of its cemeteries, mausoleums and catacombs it is their last resting place. Packed with colour photographs, this field guide provides directions and opening hours for all the major burial places, with GPS co-ordinates for many graves including those of Stendhal, Baudelaire, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Isadora Duncan and Edith Piaf. An attractive fold-out map provides more traditional guidance.
Walking in Ruins
Ruins have exerted a powerful hold over the human imagination since the Romantics, exciting thoughts of what once was and what might have been. With characteristic humour, insight and erudition, Geoff Nicholson takes us on a tour of ruins ancient and modern, picturesque and mundane, from Stonehenge and Alcatraz to a derelict zoo on the edge of Hollywood and an abandoned council estate in Sheffield.
In the Footsteps of Abraham
The Holy Land in Hand-Painted Photographs
The birthplace of three great Abrahamic faiths, the Holy Land occupies a unique status in history. In the 1920s Arie Speelman, a Dutch Christian, commissioned the hand-colouring of 1,200 black-and-white slides of the area. This book explains their background and reproduces a magnificent selection of these images, which were bequeathed to Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum. They offer a rare glimpse of towns, villages and landscapes before the onset of modernization, as Jesus might have seen them.
Symbols of China
A colourful and very accessible introduction to Chinese culture, this book comprises concise, well-illustrated and richly informative articles on aspects of the country ranging from natural wonders such as the magical Stone Forest to chop sticks. Beginning with cultural icons, including calligraphy, fengshui and the four auspicious creatures, the book has chapters covering architecture, festivals, daily life, arts and crafts, legends, famous historical figures and the performing arts.
Tuscany Photo Guide
As lavishly illustrated as a coffee-table book and as informative as a travel guide, the Photo Guide to Tuscany is the perfect companion for the visitor interested in exploring the region's history and culture. The 'Highlights' chapters cover the greatest of Tuscany's cities - Florence, Pisa, Arezzo, Siena and Grosseto - and their surrounding towns; an 'Explorer' section includes hotels and road trips; and the guide ends with a comprehensive atlas and place index.
First used in medieval Venice and prized for its manoeuvrability, the gondola evolved over the centuries into today's sleek, asymmetrical black boat. Illustrated with reproductions of views of Venice, Donna Leon's little book offers 'a new way to enter into the life of the city' through the stories of the gondola, its history, its makers and its songs. A CD of gondoliers' barcarole accompanies the book, recorded by Il Pomo d'Oro, with a special track by Cecilia Bartoli.
The Great Race
Described by The Times as 'an epic tale told concisely and confidently', this book recounts the European 'discovery' and initial exploration of Australia, then concentrates on the rivalry between Matthew Flinders of England and Nicolas Baudin of France in the quest to chart the coast of the Great South Land and compile the definitive map of the continent. Working from first-hand accounts including diaries, Hill celebrates the courage and determination that fuelled their danger-filled voyages.
My African Journey
Winston Churchill toured the British territories in East Africa in 1907, when he was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, and his account of the journey reflects his serious interest in Africa, beyond the natural beauties of the landscape and the thrill of big-game hunting. His thoughts on settlement, race and government and in particular the role of the railways provide an intriguing insight into early 20th-century imperialism and African history. First published in 1909.
Life On The Line
People of the Arctic Circle
The photographer Cristian Barnett travelled eastward from Alaska, through Canada, Greenland and the countries of Scandinavia, completing the Arctic Circle in Russia, and capturing images of life and work along 'the line where each year there is one day when the sun does not set, and one when the sun does not rise'. Accompanying the portfolio of 182 colour photographs are an interview in which Barnett talks about his northern journeys and an Alaskan resident's reflections on the Arctic year.
The Last Nights of Cleopatra
Having arrived in Alexandria in the winter of 2010-2011 with the intention of working on his eighth attempt at a biography of Cleopatra, Peter Stothard, a former editor of The Times, found his plans spoiled by the onset of the Arab Spring. The book he writes is a chronicle of his stay in the city, visiting ancient sites amid the gathering political storm, but it is also a fragmentary memoir of his youth, glimpsed through the history of Cleopatra.
90 Degrees of Shade
Over 100 Years of Photography in the Caribbean
With a poor population emerging from centuries of colonial exploitation, the Caribbean region experienced radical politics, revolutions and dictatorships during the 20th century with charismatic and controversial figures such as 'Papa Doc' Duvalier in Haiti, Castro in Cuba and Michael Manley in Jamaica. This large-format collection presents a curated mixture of images of Caribbean culture and history, from plantation workers of the 1900s, through the upheavals and diaspora of the mid-century to the tourist industry of today.
Across the Hellespont
A Literary Guide to Turkey
Turkey lies at the crossroads of history, and successive waves of conquerors - Hittites, Persians, Romans and Ottomans - have created a culture as rich and varied as any in the world. This collection of prose and verse ranges from the architectural glories of Istanbul to the mountains of Armenia, and includes writing by Homer, Herodotus, Goethe, Tennyson, Rose Macaulay and many others. Stoneman demonstrates that, while political circumstances may change, the lure of Turkey remains eternal.
The Chicago of Europe
and Other Tales of Foreign Travel
Before he achieved fame with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain honed his talent writing about new places, people and experiences. In the 68 letters, newspaper articles and lectures collected here, he takes us from the Mississippi to the Holy Land, India and Berlin, which he mischievously dubbed 'the Chicago of Europe'. These dispatches, some published here for the first time, confirm that Twain's wit, insight and human sympathy still hit the mark more than a century later. American cut pages.
Explorers of the Nile
The Triumph and the Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure
The source of the Nile had baffled Europeans since antiquity. In 1856, the quest began in earnest. Drawing on new research, Tim Jeal describes how Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, Florence and Samuel Baker, James Grant, Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingstone braved uncharted territory, spear wounds, malaria and flesh-eating ulcers to unlock the secret. Jeal also examines the tragic consequences for Uganda and Sudan, providing both a thrilling adventure story and a new understanding of Britain's imperial past.
The Worldly Kingdom
Tourist brochures portray Thailand as an 'exotic' country with a rich cultural heritage and strong religious tradition; the reality is more complex. This revealing study charts the development of the Thai nation-state, its changing boundaries, the modification of its ethnic and linguistic make-up, class and gender relations, the role of institutions and ideologies, the emergence of a modern culture, and Thai perceptions of others - principally Burmese, Chinese and Westerners.
Dream Routes of the World
From Iceland's ring road around its land of fire and ice, to the route through Argentina, from Cordoba to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, this richly illustrated guide explores five continents through 50 'dream routes'. With detailed maps, photographs of sights along the way and practical travel information for drivers, these road trips include some of the world's greatest journeys, whether following the ancient Silk Road to Xi'an, or crossing modern America on Route 66.
A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan
Afghanistan is one of the world's most ancient and fascinating countries, yet in recent decades it has been scarred by successive invasions and civil conflict. These stunning, richly atmospheric photographs by Seamus Murphy - taken on many expeditions over 14 years - inevitably confront the ravages of war, but they also capture the stark beauty of the landscape, the dignity and resilience of its people, and the richness of its culture.
Seaspray and Whisky
Tale of a Turbulent Voyage
Described by the Marconi company staff clerk as 'Not a Cunarder', the Allenwell turned out to be a dirty, down-at-heel cargo ship with crew to match, and Norman Freeman had signed up as radio officer for a three-month trip from Liverpool to the USA. Some of the cargo - Scotch whisky - didn't make it that far. Freeman's memoir of this 1961/62 trip is an entertaining and sometimes poignant account of 'a very odd ship and an unusual voyage'.