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The great Russian explorer Nikolay Przhevalsky (1839-1888) made an indelible contribution to the world’s atlases, and its store of zoological and botanical knowledge, as a consequence of his four arduous and dangerous expeditions through the Central Asia of Western Mongolia, Eastern Turkestan and Northern Tibet.
Donald Rayfield’s biography of Przhevalsky – first published in 1976 and drawing on the exporer’s diaries, letters, and published works – tells the thrilling story of the explorer’s groundbreaking journeys, undertaken in an age of extreme political sensitivity between Russia, China and Britain. A rich portrait emerges of an extraordinary Byronic character who was ill-suited to civilisation but much at home with the loneliness and hardship of the nomadic life. A rigorous army officer and a phenomenal shot, gifted also with a photographic memory, Przhevalsky became one of the most widely-admired men in Russia, and Rayfield adroitly explores the grounds of his reputation.
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