BURNABY, Frederick Gustavus. A Ride To Khiva: Travels and Adventures In Central Asia ... With Maps and an Appendix, Containing, amongst other Information, a Series of March-Routes….

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BURNABY, Frederick Gustavus. A Ride To Khiva: Travels and Adventures In Central Asia ... With Maps and an Appendix, Containing, amongst other Information, a Series of March-Routes, Translated from Several Russian Works. London, Paris & New York: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, [1876].

8vo. Original pictorial red cloth, upper board and spine blocked and lettered in black and gilt, lower board blocked in blind, lemon-yellow endpapers; pp. xviii, 487, [1 (blank)], [4 (publisher's advertisements)]; folding colour-printed lithographic frontispiece map with route added by hand in red, and 2 folding colour-printed lithographic maps by Edward Weller with routes added by hand in red, loose as issued in pockets on the upper and lower pastedowns, contemporary ownership inscription to front fly-leaf, extremities lightly rubbed, some minor marking, slight cracking on lower hinge, nonetheless a very good, clean copy in the original cloth.
Very rare first edition. Whilst on leave from the army, Burnaby departed from London for Khiva in November 1875, travelling through Russia and Central Asia during the winter months, enduring extreme cold and frostbite, and evading detection by the Russians, to arrive at his destination in January 1876. Burnaby, a Captain in the Royal Horse Guards, was, like many players of the Great Game, a larger-than-life character; standing at six foot four and weighing fifteen stone, he was reputed to be the strongest man in the British Army. Unusually, the Russian authorities gave Burnaby permission to travel through the Tsar's Central Asian territories during his trip. The present work is a colourful narrative of the journey; its strong Russophobe stance irritated the Foreign Office but delighted the hawkish press and reading public at large. On his return to England, 'Burnaby was lionized, and summoned by the queen to dinner at Windsor. He published A Ride to Khiva (1876), which he sold outright for £750. It was a vivid, lively travelogue, proudly British, in which he warned against Russian aggressive expansion through central Asia towards India, and denounced Russian rule as despotic, corrupt, and cruel. The book, vigorously advertised, sold well and was reprinted and translated. His journey and book made Burnaby a celebrity' (ODNB). The first edition is not dated, neither the preface. The book became an instantaneous success. By 1878 it had achieved a fourteenth edition. - The last copy of a first edition at auction was sold in 2017 for £625. It was not in the publisher's original binding.
Yakushi B631a.

#2119550