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In 1939 Swiss travel writer and journalist Ella K. Maillart set off on an epic journey from Geneva to Kabul with fellow writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach in a brand new Ford. As the first European women to travel alone on Afghanistan’s Northern Road, Maillart and Schwarzenbach had a rare glimpse of life in Iran and Afghanistan at a time when their borders were rarely crossed by Westerners. As the two flash across Europe and the Near East in a streak of élan and daring, Maillart writes of comical mishaps, breathtaking landscapes, vitriolic religious clashes, and the ingenuity with which the women navigated what was often a dangerous journey. In beautiful, clear-eyed prose, The Cruel Way shows Maillart’s great ability to explore and experience other cultures in writing both lyrical and deeply empathetic. While the core of the book is the journey itself and their interactions with people oppressed by political conflict and poverty, towards the end of the trip the women’s increasingly troubled relationship takes center stage. By then the glamorous, androgynous Schwarzenbach, whose own account of the trip can be found in All the Roads Are Open, is fighting a losing battle with her own drug addiction, and Maillart’s frustrated attempts to cure her show the profound depth of their relationship. Complete with thirteen of Maillart’s own photographs from the journey, The Cruel Way is a classic of travel writing, and its protagonists are as gripping and fearless as any in literature.
In June 1939 Annemarie Schwarzenbach and fellow writer Ella Maillart set out from Geneva in a Ford, heading for Afghanistan. The first women to travel Afghanistan's Northern Road, they fled the storm brewing in Europe to seek a place untouched by what they considered to be Western neuroses. The Afghan journey documented in All the Roads Are Open is one of the most important episodes of Schwarzenbach's turbulent life. Her incisive, lyrical essays offer a unique glimpse of an Afghanistan already touched by the “fateful laws known as progress,” a remote yet “sensitive nerve centre of world politics” caught amid great powers in upheaval. In her writings, Schwarzenbach conjures up the desolate beauty of landscapes both internal and external, reflecting on the longings and loneliness of travel as well as its grace. Maillart's account of their trip, The Cruel Way, stands as a classic of travel literature, and, now available for the first time in English, Schwarzenbach's memoir rounds out the story of the adventure. Praise for the German Edition “Above all, [Schwarzenbach's] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung
Over the last three decades Afghanistan has been plagued by crisis from Soviet invasion in 1979 and Taliban rule to US invasion following the events of 9/11. Here the top specialists on Afghanistan, including Olivier Roy, Ahmad Rashid and Jonathan Goodhand, provide a unique overview of the evolution, causes and future of the Afghan crisis. While much has been written about the problems in Afghanistan, this book also explores the unprecedented transformation of Afghan society, paying close attention to the country’s cultural heritage. With varied perspectives from the fields of politics, history, science, economics, anthropology, musicology, art history and architecture, Centlivres-Demont sheds new light on the development and perception of Afghanistan over the past 30 years. Covering political and military events and examining the role of ethnic groups, religious and ideological factors and the role of the leaders and war chiefs of the period from the anti-Soviet resistance to the presidency of Hamid Karzai this book will prove essential reading to all interested in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East region. Examining recent events in the light of the country’s economy, Afghan civil society and state reconstruction attempts, this is a comprehensive and diverse look at a country whose recent history has been marked by internal conflicts and foreign intervention.
In 1932, long before traveling in Central Asia became fashionable, Ella Maillart travelled to Russian Turkestan, bordered by China, Tibet, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Setting out from Moscow, she crossed Kyrgyzstan as far as the Tien Shan range (the Celestial Mountains). She climbed the 5,000 metre-high Sari Tor on makeshift skis, explored the legendary cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara, and crossed, solo, the freezing and hostile wastes of the Kizil Kum, the Desert of Red Sands.
Travel narratives abound in French cinema since the 1980s. This study delineates recurrent travel tropes in films such as departures and returns, the chase, the escape, nomadic wandering, interior voyages, the unlikely travel, rituals, pilgrimages, migrants' narratives and emergencies, women's travel, and healing narratives.
Part detective work, part treasure chest, full of history and scandal, The Gilded Chalet takes you on a grand tour of two centuries of great writing by both Swiss and foreign authors and shows how Switzerland has always been at the center of literary Europe. Two centuries after the Romantics went there to invent Gothic horror, the lure of Switzerland hasn't left us. Writers from the Fitzgeralds to Fleming, Highsmith to Hemingway, Conan Doyle to le Carré, came to escape world wars, political persecution, tuberculosis. They came for sanctuary (from oppression or the tax man), for fresh air and nude sunbathing, for scenery resembling, as Rooney puts it, 'Mother Nature on steroids.' Patricia Highsmith spent her last years in a granite home in Ticino with a fridge containing little but peanut butter and vodka. Hermann Hesse had himself buried to the neck as a cure for alcoholism. Nabokov chased butterflies and played tennis on the hotel courts. When it comes to literature, it seems all roads lead to Switzerland. Padraig Rooney peers through the chalet windows and discovers how Switzerland has influenced some of the greatest authors and characters of literature.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Hesperides Press are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

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