Imatge de l'autor

Eric Newby (1919–2006)

Autor/a de A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

28+ obres 5,672 Membres 82 Ressenyes 13 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Eric Newby is the author of many books. As a boy, his interest in travel was piqued by the book Children's Colour Book of Lands and People, with its photos and descriptions of exotic places to which he dreamed of traveling one day. When not traveling, he makes his home in Dorset, England, with his mostra'n més wife, Wanda mostra'n menys

Obres de Eric Newby

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958) — Autor — 1,323 exemplars
Love and War in the Apennines (1971) 614 exemplars
The Last Grain Race (1956) 474 exemplars
Slowly Down the Ganges (1966) 446 exemplars
A Book of Travellers' Tales (1985) 421 exemplars
The Big Red Train Ride (1978) 387 exemplars
Round Ireland in Low Gear (1987) 339 exemplars
A Small Place in Italy (1994) 307 exemplars
A Traveller's Life (1982) 258 exemplars
Departures and Arrivals (1999) 122 exemplars
What the Traveller Saw (1989) 115 exemplars
The World Atlas of Exploration (1975) 77 exemplars

Obres associades

Bad Trips (1991) — Col·laborador — 231 exemplars
The Norton Book of Travel (1987) — Col·laborador — 109 exemplars
Tschiffely's Ride (1933) — Introducció, algunes edicions104 exemplars
High Seas: Stories of Battle and Adventure From the Age of Sail (2002) — Col·laborador — 20 exemplars
Rucksack Man (1976) — Pròleg, algunes edicions15 exemplars
Reiskoorts : bekende schrijvers over de kunst van het reizen (1986) — Col·laborador — 9 exemplars


Coneixement comú



When he left school, Eric Newby worked his way to Australia and back as an apprentice on one of the last generation of sail-powered cargo ships. Immediately after this he found himself plunged into equally adventurous military service in World War II. All of which didn't do much to prepare him for a civilian career after 1945. Offers to join expeditions to exotic parts of the world were slow to come in, so he gritted his teeth and joined the family firm, supplying ready-made clothes to the better class of provincial department stores.

In this memoir he tells us about that period of about fifteen years when he was working in the garment business whilst trying to get a toehold as a writer. We get amusing sketches of the archaic business world of Lane & Newby, Mantle Manufacturers and Wholesale Costumiers, and an affectionate portrait of the author's father, an Edwardian oarsman who often sounds like something out of J K Jerome, but seems to have had an acute eye for business (albeit with a blind spot for the bureaucratic obligations of postwar Britain). And of course there's a lot about the nightmarish world of fashion, where you have to decide months ahead of time what your fickle customers are going to want (or rather, what the store buyers are going to want on their behalf). In the Britain of the 1940s, with everything in short supply, and the French liable to change hemlines at a moment's notice, this was clearly no joke, even before they came up with the New Look...

Very much a period piece, but Newby knew what he was doing, and this is still an entertaining read long after almost everything in the commercial world it tells us about has become obsolete.
… (més)
thorold | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Jul 13, 2023 |
I have had a Folio Society edition sitting in my TBR pile for some years, but have not got around to reading it until recently. I was prompted to pick it up and read by a very favourable review by David Ross of a new reprint that appeared in the Weekend Australian newspaper for the weekend of 21-22 May 2022.

The review is very fair and I agree with its conclusion: this is not a dry piece of travel writing but rather one written by (according to Ross) 'surely one of the best travel writers, with a flair for the foul, able to recount trips at length long after, and willing to poke fun at himself and everyone else.'

What I had not realised when I had originally purchased it, is that this is not Newby writing of this piece of history as a third party, but as a participant. And what I also did not realise was that these journeys by sail only vessels, conveying nearly 5000 t of grain from Australia to Europe continued up to the outbreak of WWII, the vessels having first sailed under ballast from Europe in the first place to South Australia.

That Newby participated in 1938- 39 starting as an 18 year old (he was not the only one, some younger) with no practical experience, as the only Englishman on a vessel occupied by many other nationalities, and with the 'official' language on the vessel being Swedish, makes it all the remarkable, as is that they did not lose anyone overboard or to other dangers.

I am not a sailor but the technical language is not a problem; nor is the almost pidgin used as between the 28 or so members of the crew. There are 2 (small) sections as to more technical information which Newby helpfully highlights may be skipped if of not of interest to particular readers, but they are short and easy to read - even if not easy to remember by a non sailor, and certainly not easily recalled by a novice when, on Newby's first day on board, is sent some 198 feet above the keel of the vessel, with only ropes, lines and slippery masts to cling to. That was when the vessel was moored alongside the pier whilst being prepared for its voyage to South Australia. It was much worse during the voyage, when such work was undertaken in high winds, with the vessel bucking around as large if not rogue waves did their best to throw bodies off into the abyss.

That Newby learns to realise (pg 70-71) ' Crossing the midships deck to the leeward of the Captain on our way aft to brace the yards, touching our forelocks to him as we went, we were no longer in the twentieth century at all. Being told to go aloft and make up that gasket on the mizzen royal and look alive, we were a hundred years out of our time.'

Much of the book is very amusing. The description of the food available (pg 79-82) cannot be true in all details! As are the depiction of the many misunderstandings between the members of the crew as to all and sundry.

Newby visited Adelaide and had some not very fond memories!.

Newby had already decided to not remain with the vessel (or similar) at the end of the voyage, but one wonders whether that was at least in part due to the outbreak of WWII and his almost immediate enlisting. Apparently there are other books by Newby which address these amongst other adventures. Based on this read alone I will be having a look at those further works.

In the interim, I recommend this volume to anyone with even a half interest in sailing or voyages in this period, or as to what the transition from one tradition to another looks like, or simply a humorous tale as to the interactions between a random group of people thrown together in difficult circumstances.

Big Ship

28 May 2022
… (més)
bigship | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | May 28, 2022 |
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Review of the Harper Press paperback edition (2010) of the Secker & Warburg hardcover original (1958)

This was a quirky and often quite funny memoir of how former fashion buyer Eric Newby and his diplomat friend Hugh Carless travelled through the Nuristan province in north-eastern Afghanistan in 1956 with a goal of climbing the supposedly unclimbable Mir Samir in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The quirky part is that neither of the Englishmen had any previous great experience in climbing, aside from a few days training in Wales prior to the expedition. This makes for all sorts of misadventures with both the climbing and with their encounters with the locals who are the descendants of the pagan culture of the region before it came under Islamic rule in 1895.

Eric Newby (1919-2006) went on to a career of travel writing and is memorialized in this 2010 edition with its Afterword by fellow adventurer Hugh Carless (1925-2011). The Preface by writer Evelyn Waugh was already included in the first hardcover edition in 1958.

See cover image at
The cover of the original Secker & Warburg hardcover edition (1958). Image sourced from Wikipedia.

I read A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush through its inclusion in the 2022 Year of Reading blind subscription from the English language bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France.

Trivia and Link
Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King (1888) and its film adaptation The Man Who Would Be King (1975) dir. John Huston with actors Sean Connery and Michael Caine, centre their plots around the Kingdom of Kafiristan which was the pre-Islamic name of Afghanistan's Nuristan province where Eric Newby and Hugh Carless travelled in A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.
… (més)
alanteder | Hi ha 27 ressenyes més | May 4, 2022 |
criera | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Mar 12, 2022 |



Potser també t'agrada

Autors associats


També de
½ 3.7
Pedres de toc

Gràfics i taules