A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush By Eric Newby Evelyn Waugh, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush For than a decade following the end of World War II Eric Newby toiled away in the British fashion industry peddling some of the ugliest clothes on the planet Regarding one wafer thin model in her ru
  • Title: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
  • Author: Eric Newby Evelyn Waugh
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 205
  • Format: Paperback
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush By Eric Newby Evelyn Waugh, For than a decade following the end of World War II, Eric Newby toiled away in the British fashion industry, peddling some of the ugliest clothes on the planet Regarding one wafer thin model in her runway best, he was reminded of those flagpoles they put up in the Mall when the Queen comes home Fortunately, Newby reached the end his haute couture tether in 1956.For than a decade following the end of World War II, Eric Newby toiled away in the British fashion industry, peddling some of the ugliest clothes on the planet Regarding one wafer thin model in her runway best, he was reminded of those flagpoles they put up in the Mall when the Queen comes home Fortunately, Newby reached the end his haute couture tether in 1956 At that point, with the sort of sublime impulsiveness that s forbidden to fictional characters but endemic to real ones, he decided to visit a remote corner of Afghanistan, where no Englishman had planted his brogans for at least 50 years What s , he recorded his adventure in a classic narrative, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush The title, of course, is a fine example of Newby s habitual self effacement, since his journey which included a near ascent of the 19,800 foot Mir Samir was anything but short And his book seems to furnish a missing link between the great Britannic wanderers of the Victorian era and such contemporary jungle nuts as Redmond O Hanlon.At times it also brings to mind Evelyn Waugh, who contributed the preface Newby is a less acidulous writer, to be sure, and he has little interest in launching the sort of heat seeking satiric missiles that were Waugh s specialty Still, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush is a hilarious read The author excels at the dispiriting snapshot, capturing, say, the Afghan backwater of Fariman in two crisp sentences A whole gale of wind was blowing, tearing up the surface of the main street Except for two policemen holding hands and a dog whose hind legs were paralysed it was deserted His capsule history of Nuristan also gets in some sly digs at Britain s special relationship with the violence prone Abdur Rahman Officially his subsidy had just been increased from 12,000 to 16,000 lakhs of rupees To the British he had fully justified their selection of him as Amir of Afghanistan and, apart from the few foibles remarked by Lord Curzon, like flaying people alive who displeased him, blowing them from the mouths of cannon, or standing them up to the neck in pools of water on the summits of high mountains and letting them freeze solid, he had done nothing to which exception could be taken Newby also surpasses Waugh and indeed, most other travel writers in another important respect he s miraculously free of solipsism Even the keenest literary voyagers tend to be, in the purest sense of the term, self centered But A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush includes wonderfully oblique portraits of the author s travel companion, Hugh Carless, and his wife, Wanda who plays a starring role in such subsequent chronicles as Slowly down the Ganges There are also dozens of brilliant cameo parts, and an indelible record of a stunning landscape The roof of the world is, in Newby s rendering, both an absolute heaven and a low oxygen hell Yet the author never pretends to pit himself against a malicious Nature his mountains are, in Frost s memorable phrase, too lofty and original to rage Which is yet another reason to call this little masterpiece a peak performance James Marcus
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    About "Eric Newby Evelyn Waugh"

    1. Eric Newby Evelyn Waugh

      George Eric Newby CBE MC December 6, 1919 October 20, 2006 1 was an English author of travel literature.Newby was born and grew up near Hammersmith Bridge, London, and was educated at St Paul s School His father was a partner in a firm of wholesale dressmakers but he also harboured dreams of escape, running away to sea as a child before being captured at Millwall Owing to his father s frequent financial crises and his own failure to pass algebra, Newby was taken away from school at sixteen and put to work as an office boy in the Dorland advertising agency on Regent Street, where he spent most of his time cycling around the office admiring the typists legs Fortunately, the agency lost the Kellogg s account and he apprenticed aboard the Finnish windjammer Moshulu in 1938, sailing in what Newby entitled The Last Grain Race 1956 from Europe to Australia and back by way of Cape Horn his journey was also pictorially documented in Learning the Ropes In fact, two grain races followed the 1939 race in which Newby participated, with the last race being held in 1949 2

    780 thoughts on “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush”

    1. A great classic in adventure travel writing, sort of a precursor cross between Theroux and Bryson A Mayfair fashion executive, who moonlights as a magazine travel editor, reaches out to a Foreign Service buddy in 1956 to travel to the remote Afghanistan province of Nuristan and attempt to scale an unclimbed mountain in the Hindu Kush It has a nice balance of humor, dangerous thrills, and personal encounters with fascinating geography and peoples Entertaining with little lightning flashes of expe [...]


    2. Page 166 of the Picador edition of A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush ranks among the funniest things I ve ever read On it, Newby quotes from a phrasebook of the Afghan Bashgali language, which apparently contains opening gambits like How long have you had a goitre , I have nine fingers you have ten , A dwarf has come to ask for food and I have an intention to kill you , which made me laugh so hard I actually dropped my copy of the book One day I hope to lay my hands on the phrasebook from which New [...]


    3. This is a good light read.Working in the clothing industry in 1950s London the author and his friends hit on the idea of having a mountain climbing adventure in Afghanistan Why not after all This is the 1950s, they d never had it so good, and there were still years to go before the Profumo scandal.Knowing nothing about mountain climbing and about as much about the Hindu Kush, they still think it s a good idea to attempt some peaks in Afghanistan but they do have a couple of days practise on a la [...]


    4. I first read this over 40 years ago and it may have been the book that got me interested in this genre This is travel writing as it should be, witty, dry and self deprecating two young Englishmen set out to walk through Afghanistan not that long after WW2, utterly unprepared yet prepared for anything I m only adding this note because I recently re encountered that wonderful incident Newby tells against himself where they happen to meet Wilfred Thesiger, the legendary solo explorer of the Middle [...]


    5. It seems like it took me an awfully long time to get through such a short book I think it was just his writing style and the way he included detail about certain things I wasn t so interested in, such as mountain climbing technicalities.However, I did enjoy the book and stuck with it because I wanted to know what it was like in this part of the world in the 1950s as compared to the present In 1956, the author quit his job in the haute couture industry and trekked with a friend through a region c [...]


    6. I am an unabashed partisan of A SHORT WALK IN THE HINDU KUSH 1958 Eric Newby s story is a kind of cross between the tough it out, Wilfred Thesiger type journal that pits a Westerner against a nearly impossible environment here the world s most forbidding mountainscapes , and the modern, around the world in a bad mood account that has as much to do with the inter personal relationships of Newby and his crew than with alien terrain or civilizations Newby found himself stuck in postwar England in [...]


    7. I had searched the internet for the best travel book ever and this book showed up on almost every list How good can a book about two guy hiking up a mountain be Well, I found out fantastic, mind blowing great Newby writes in short straight clear prose with wry, witty self depreciating humor delivered with impeccable timing Time and time again he left me ROFL Hugh comes across as this mysterious, aloof, travel partner whom Newby is able to portray with gut wrenching humor Part of the success of t [...]


    8. This book made a delightful read for a week resting in the south of France while Eric and Hugh labored senselessly up a mountain I d never heard of and through villages full of unpredictable but ultimately missable minor tribes, I reclined on a chaise longue laughing my head off I think the charm of this book, which is less than riveting in terms of travel discovery or anthropological profundity, is in the hapless and very English Boys Own confidence and optimism of the two trekkers Hugh has Per [...]


    9. Newby writes in a now well established genre of travel writing the improbable, disastrous trip taken to an unlikely place by the totally unprepared He wasn t the first to do this sort of thing among others, Peter Fleming s Brazilian Adventure stands out as an earlier blackly comic bad trip, not to mention Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene Today, the torch of the comic bad trip is carried by writers such as Redmond O Hanlon, Bill Bryson, and Eric Hansen Like several of the writers mentioned above, a [...]


    10. The title of this iconic book summerizes it well One does not just take a short walk in the Hindu Kush, take a look at any map.As EN discovers early on, the beginning and the start are separate events, and the executionsomething else entirely What began as a lark takes on the nature of a grail quest, without thereligious overtones Eric and his posh, poseur friend Hugh share with bumbling Don Quixiotethan with the noble knights, and their destination might appear to be tangible, but theirnaivit [...]


    11. I read this book in a rather desultory way picking it up and putting it down for several weeks but it really began to resonate with me during a recent camping trip in the Lake District after putting 2 tents up in the pouring rain late at night and then discovering I had no way of boiling a kettle or making a hot meal Of course the English Lake Distruct hardly compares with the Hindu Kush but nevertheless it generated a real sense of empathy Eric Newby s impulsive adventure took place over 50 yea [...]


    12. A travel classic and very funny with it Two chaps set off to climb a mountain in Afghanistan with no prior experience of climbing mountainswhat could go wrong I laughed my socks off


    13. A very entertaining travel yarn, reeled off in that classic, disarming British manner and set in one of the few places left in the world which can still evoke mystery That strange, steeply mountainous region between Afghanistan, Anatolia, Northern India, and Nepal Nuristan and Kafiristan This travelogue has some of the best anecdotes you could ask for Misadventures galore What were they thinking Two out of shape pasty pale gits thinking they could just stroll up the sides of Mt Everest It s a wo [...]


    14. A fabulous book The ultimate amateur adventure story, everyone should read it Eric Newby is irrepressible in his aim to climb the mountains of Afghanistan, Embarking on his poorly planned expedition, with little relevant experience, he has no idea of what disasters await him in the hindu kush Faced with incompetence, illness and equipment failure they soldier on regardless The delightfully self deprecating style of story telling does dampen the spirit of high adventure and sheer grit that keep o [...]


    15. Krietni vair k humora un pa ironijas nek b tu gaid jis no klasiska ce ojumu st sta par m in jumu rsot Afganist nas nepieejamo Nurist nu Dizent rija un str di ar viet jiem gan bija aptuveni gaid taj apjom Ja ir kaut maz k interese par anru, silti iesaku.



    16. FROM MY BLOG By 1956, Eric Newby had devoted ten years of his life to working as a dress buyer for a London fashion house Then one day, he received a telegram from Hugh Carless, a casual friend, asking CAN YOU TRAVEL NURISTAN JUNE Nuristan which until 1896, when its people were forcibly converted to Islam, had been called Kafiristan land of the infidels is one of the most remote and backward provinces in Afghanistan, nestled in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, northeast of Kabul Afghanistan itse [...]


    17. An improbable though hilarious foray into Afghanistan by two Brits in 1956.After a bad day at the office, the then 36 year old London fashion salesman decides to quit his job, kiss goodbye his wife and children, and mount an ill conceived exploration of mountainous Afghani hinterlands with an eccentric foreign service friend luxuriating in Rio.After two days of mountain climbing school in Wales, they drive off toward Kabul Within weeks they find themselves scaling 19,000 foot mountains, inching [...]


    18. A travel classic This is the unbelievable tale of 2 Englishmen who try to make a first ascent of a 19,000 ft mountain in the 1950s The journey to the peak is through harsh and remote wilderness near Afghanistan This would be quite formidable for even the most seasoned explorers mountaineers but our pair were drawing on British grit and not much else Allow me their only climbing experience was a 3 day crash course, when stuck on high glaciers they would refer to their climbing pamphlets regarding [...]


    19. This classic account of the author s climbing expedition to Mir Samir in Afghanistan in the 1950s is both informative and entertaining The tone of the volume shifts from light and hilarious to exhausted as the authors moves from preparation of the trip in England and Wales to the actual hardships in the Hindu Kush Yet Newby never loses his wry humor The extensive and detailed nature descriptions are well crafted but may become a bit tedious at times But the descriptions of the culture and peopl [...]


    20. Surprisingly, even though I am a lover of mountains and trekking and, to be quite honest, would go just about anywhere, the Hindu Kush hasn t really topped my Bucket List I m glad it did for Eric Newby however A former SBS officer, Newby, middle aged, well off and sick to death of his job in the fashion industry leaves companion in tow to scale a never conquered mountain Mir Samir in one of the most remote regions of the planet And they know nothing of climbing In 1958 it had already been over t [...]


    21. A delightfully understated and hilariously funny account of what must have been a very serious undertaking Fraught with danger, the author, seems not to notice as he stays ahead of death by the narrowest of margins Where the rest of us, mere mortals that we are, may feel compelled to describe the tortuous hunger or the withering cold, Newby is moved to remark on an attractive butterfly which catches his eye, or an amusing incident regarding his boot Similar in narrative style to Jerome K Jerome [...]


    22. The book jacket describes this as laugh out loud funny and while I was amused in a few places, I think a lot of the British humor flew right over my head sadly The other factor that might have interfered with my enjoyment was my deep seated irritation with travel novels in which the authors are frustratingly ill prepared and take seemingly ridiculously dangerous risks, which seems to be a classic theme of the genre But perhaps this novel was the first of that type, so I have to give some credit [...]


    23. A bit tough to stay enthusiastic while reading Though my mind wandered a lot, I still wouldn t consider it boring Just a bit slow going is all Plus there was quite a bit of very old British jargon that kept some sentences from making sense With each chapter I found myself looking up at least one word, phrase, and or event in order to properly keep up It s been a long time since I had to do something like that, but I didn t mind I did, however, find myself laughing out loud several times througho [...]


    24. God, you must be a couple of pansies, Two men with no idea of mountain climbing set off for a breathtaking expedition to Nuristan The amazing journey is so well described by Newby that one can t help but walk with him through green and rugged valleys and fast flowing rivers to Nuristan and then back from it An undertone of change is felt as these men travel miles and miles away from the comfort that they left behind and a feeling of maturity arises which comes only from travelling The writing is [...]


    25. I enjoyed this book Its horrendously British but in a nice charming way Its a real celebration of naivity, inabilty and grit Its main strength is Newbys ability to laugh at himself and their situation The final line is perfect.


    26. A travel classic recommended by a friend, most of this travelogue takes place in the valleys of Aghanistan s most remote and under explored region, Nuristan land of the enlightened The region had formerly been known as Kafiristan land of the unbelievers until it s forced conversion to Islam in the late nineteenth century Despite having travelled in Afghanistan myself I knew nothing about this region, and learned a great deal from the book Did you know that Hindu Kush translates as Killer of Indi [...]


    27. Two upstanding British chaps decide to go on a harrowing adventure I am absolutely blown away that they survived it Little food, boots that flay their feet, danger around every corner this was a book I was happy to read in abject horror from the safety of my bed


    28. Came across this book in 100 One Night Reads Looking for possible book discussion titles I m not sorry I read it, but my book group can be happy I m not choosing this for discussion.For me it was not a One Night read Written in the late 50s, it recounts the journey of two Englishmen and their attempts to climb a remote mountain in Afghanistan Something of an earlier precursor to Bill Bryson s A Walk in the Woods, but far harsher conditions, dysentery, language barriers, and Newby and his traveli [...]


    29. I wish I d waited until I d found a better edition than this Picador, ppbk The font size is unnecessarily small especially and annoyingly so when compared to Newby s Something Wholesale from the same publisher That might not have been a problem except that the high absorbancy of the relatively coarse paper does absolutely nothing for the crispness of the text Picador clearly worked to a tight budget in 1974 oil crisis, monetary inflation not to have reset the text with larger type and thus page [...]


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