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Across the Roof of the World, Wilfred Skrede
Skrede was nineteen in 1941 when the Nazis occupied his homeland of
Norway. Determined to reach a training camp of the free Norwegian Air
Force located in Toronto, Canada, the daring young man set off across
Russia, Siberia, China, Turkestan and India before finally reaching his
destination in far away North America, more than one year later.
After the war Skrede wrote about this amazing journey describing in
“Across the Roof of the World “ how he made his way along the tracks
of Genghis Khan’s hordes, followed the silk caravans from China, crossed
the high mountains of Central Asia, and miraculously made his way to
freedom. Yet the liberty he sought demanded a high price.
Being a Norwegian refugee, he was frequently arrested by various police
forces who threatened him with deportation back to his Nazi-occupied
homeland, and in communist controlled Sinkiang the young adventurer had
his back cracked by a wild truck driver. His most perilous challenge
however came when he was forced to ride horseback over the infamous 16,000
foot high Mintaka Pass, a hideous bit of trail known for killing horses
and riders alike.
The resultant story, told with fortitude, humor and resilience, is thus
populated by a host of colourful characters, including famed English
mountaineer Eric Shipton, and Tenzing, the Sherpa who went on to conquer
Mount Everest. Amply illustrated, “Across the Roof of the World” is an
epic equestrian travel tale laced with unforgettable excitement.
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Count Pompeii - Stallion of the
Steppes, Basha O'Reilly - This is a story book for children who love
horses! It was written by one of the foremost female equestrian
explorers alive today. Basha O'Reilly rode Count Pompeii, the Cossack
stallion, more than 2,500 miles from Russia to England. She then made
a second trip through the cowboy country of the USA and helped form The Long
Riders' Guild, the world's first international association of equestrian
travellers. A dedicated horse woman, a mother, and a talented writer,
Basha brings all these skills to bear in the exciting new "Little Long
Rider Series." Designed for children aged seven to ten, each of
the books is based on the historical journey of a real life Long Rider and
his or her horse hero. The books are delightfully illustrated with
large black and white drawings which can be coloured in by the Little Long
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Crimean Journal, Fanny Duberly - In this modern age we would call
her an embedded
journalist, a news reporter who is attached to a military unit involved in
an armed conflict. Yet English society in the 1850s encouraged women to act
demurely and stay at home, not follow their husbands into combat. Even if
Fanny Duberly, the unorthodox author of this best-selling book, noticed that
her actions were raising disapproving Victorian eyebrows, that didn’t stop
her from riding straight into one of the most brutal wars of the 19th
Fanny Duberly was
just twenty-five when her husband, Captain Henry Duberly, and his unit, the
8th Royal Irish Hussars, were ordered into battle. Rather than
remain at home, the avid horsewoman announced that she was packing her
side-saddle and going with Henry to Russia’s Crimean Peninsula. The intrepid
amateur war correspondent spent the next two years camped alongside her
husband and his troops during the course of their brutal campaign.
What she saw and
recorded in letters home to her sister shocked the English world, for there
was little glory but plenty of death. Cholera slew elite officers and lowly
enlisted men alike. Horses starved. The wounded lay untended. The dead went
unburied. Allies argued. Incompetence was rampant. The Crimea was hell for
men and indescribable for a woman on her own. Yet against the odds, Fanny
Duberly rode through it all. She witnessed the battle of Balaklava, explored
the ruins of captured Sebastopol, dined with lords, drank with soldiers and
watched the ill-fated charge of the noble Light Brigade.
No account of the
Crimean War neglects to mention this courageous lady and her own
recollections were turned into a historically accurate book which was
published while the author was still risking her life in Russia.
Rescued now from an undeserved
oblivion, “Crimean Journal,” tells how cities fell and nations argued, while
half a million soldiers died in a bitter and largely forgotten conflict.
Though no great military male figures emerged, two remarkable women are
remembered. Florence Nightingale made her reputation improving the medical
needs of soldiers and Fanny Duberly penned this vivid eye witness account of
an unnecessary war. Fascinating, remarkable, courageous, mysterious,
sympathetic, Fanny Duberly was the Victorian heroine deluxe and this is the
true story of her astonishing adventure.
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From Paris to
New York by Land, Harry de Windt - When it
came to dash and flair, few nineteenth-century adventure travellers could
compete with handsome Harry de Windt. A Fellow of the prestigious Royal
Geographic Society of England, De Windt already had a reputation for bravery
and foolhardiness. Then he decided to top his own reputation by undertaking
a journey too crazy to be considered by anyone else.
announced to a stunned Europe that he was going to leave his adopted home in
Paris and journey to New York city. However instead of traveling west,
crossing the Atlantic on a ship like everyone else in his day, De Windt
proposed to travel east, across the frozen steppes of Siberia by horse-drawn
sleigh, over the ice-packs of the Arctic Ocean by dog-sled, through the dark
waterways of Canada by boat, and finally past the western deserts of the
United States by train, before finally reaching his destination in faraway
What followed can only be compared to a Jules Verne fiction,
yet is absolutely true. De Windt dined with political exiles in Siberia,
almost starved in the Arctic ice fields, and lived through more dangers than
a dozen men. Yet through it all this dashing explorer kept his nerve and his
panache. Amply illustrated with photographs taken by the author, “From Paris
to New York by Land” remains a page-turning thriller of early adventure
travel. Please visit
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Riding through Siberia: A Mounted Medical Mission in 1891, Kate Marsden
- The author was a nurse in Bulgaria during 1878, caring
for the wounded of the war between Russia and Turkey. While there, she saw
for herself the plight of lepers, and decided to make a 2000-mile journey to
the leper colonies of Yakutsk in the depths of Siberia. She hoped to find a
herb which was said to grow there and which was allegedly a cure for
leprosy. Although originally she set out to improve the lot of the lepers of
India, she ended up trying to help the Yakutsk lepers, and attempted to
raise funds to build a hospital for them.
Even though she had the support of Queen Victoria, the Empress of Russia and
her Lady in Waiting, the Countess Tolstoy, not to mention a pastoral letter
from Bishop Meletie of Yakutsk, nobody believed that anyone could make such
a journey, least of all a woman!
This immensely readable book is a mixture of adventure, extreme hardship and
compassion as the author travels the Great Siberian Post Road. “More
struggling and floundering through marshes and bogs, more pitch-dark
forests, bear-alarms, and frightened horses, and then a terrific
thunderstorm,” she writes casually.
Kate Marsden became one of the first women to be elected a Fellow of the
Royal Geographical Society in 1892.
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to Khiva, Frederick Burnaby - He
was a giant in his day, in terms of physical strength and literary fame.
Captain Frederick Burnaby not only stood over most men in the flesh, he
towered over them when it came to cold courage. A case in point was his
decision to explore Russia on horseback in 1875, a country which had just
been declared off-limits to all foreigners by the Czar.
That didn’t intimidate Burnaby. A famous swordsmen and notable linguist,
the author set off determined to cross Russia during the height of winter.
His goal? The forbidden Central Asian city of Khiva!
The resultant tale is a classic of equestrian adventure travel. Burnaby
fills every page with a memorable cast of characters, including
hard-riding Cossacks, nomadic Tartars, vodka-guzzling sleigh-drivers and a
legion of peasant ruffians.
“A Ride to Khiva” remains one of the most thrilling tales of the
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to the Grey Pamir, Anna Louise Strong - Few
equestrian travelers had a more politically radical life than did the
American, Anna Louise Strong. Having been raised in Seattle in the early
1900s where she was strongly influenced by the labor riots and social
unrest of that time, Strong turned her back on her otherwise normal
suburban roots and fled overseas. Denouncing capitalism, she began a
series of state-sponsored journeys deep into the secretive heart of the
recently formed Soviet Union.
Her resulting books described a worker’s paradise and invariably praised
the communist experiment. Dictator Joseph Stalin was so pleased with this
American convert, he encouraged her to visit the far-flung corners of the
new Red Empire.
“The Road to the Grey Pamir” is the story of how Strong accompanied a
group of Soviet geologists as they rode into the seldom-seen Pamir
mountains of faraway Tadjikistan. Mounted on her horse, American Girl, the
political renegade turned equestrian explorer soon discovered more
adventure than she anticipated.
à Moscou, Madame de Bourboulon -
though she lived and rode in the adventure-soaked nineteenth century,
there were few women who could match the amazing life and exploits of
Catherine de Bourboulon. Born in Scotland in the 1820s, Catherine Fanny
MacLeod was taken by her mother to live in the United States at an early
age. Later the young traveler journeyed on to Mexico. There MacLeod
discovered Phillipe de Bourboulon, a Frenchman who not only became the
love of her life but harbored a spirit as wild as her own.
Soon after they married the newlyweds left Mexico, arriving in China in
1849. They lived among the splendors and intrigues of the Chinese imperial
court for ten years before deciding it was time to return to Europe. Then
Catherine made an amazing suggestion. Rather than embarking on the first
ship bound for France, she and Phillipe would instead ride 12,000 miles
through some of the most desolate and dangerous portions of Asia!
“Shang-Haï à Moscou” is thus the account of this amazing
journey undertaken by the young lovers on horseback from 1859 to 1862.
Written in French from diaries Fanny kept during the journey
through Mongolia, Siberia and Russia, the book is compiled from a series
of magazine articles published in Paris during the mid-nineteenth century.
Alas, Catherine MacLeod de Bourboulon died soon after her return to
Europe. She was only 38 years old. Much of her exciting story was later
plagiarized by Jules Verne for his famed Cossack novel, “Michael
Illustrated with dozens of pen and ink sketches from Catherine’s
historic trip, this is the first time the fantastic travel account has
been offered for sale in the English speaking world. The rediscovered
classic remains fascinating reading for students of the horse or history.
Note - because these stories appeared in magazine form, the pages are not
Russia on a Mustang, Thomas Stevens - Even
in the Age of Adventure, there were few men to equal Thomas Stevens!
He scouted for the famous African explorer, Henry Morton Stanley. Then in
1866 the American reporter proceeded to pedal a penny-farthing bicycle
around the world, seeing the sights in Europe, out-racing a mob in Persia,
and baffling the Japanese in Yokohama.
No sooner had Stevens returned from his four-year bicycle marathon than he
was hired by a New York newspaper to go to Russia on a special assignment.
Only this time Stevens was ordered to travel through the heart of the
Czar’s vast domain on horseback!
Though the intrepid traveler had already lived through dozens of dangers,
Russia presented new challenges. Mounted on his faithful horse, Texas,
Stevens crossed the Steppes in search of adventure. Cantering across the
pages of “Through Russia on a Mustang” is a cast of nineteenth century
Russian misfits, peasants, aristocrats—and even famed Cossack Long Rider
This exciting equestrian tale is illustrated with photographs taken by
Stevens during his historic trip.
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|Till Häst genom Ryssland,
Valdemar Langlet - För tredje gången på tre år går resan
österut. Drömmen är att tjäna som dräng hos en Kosackfamilj.
Åter kommer den säregna blandning av känslor som å ena sidan
är vemod att lämna de kära, å andra sidan en hemlighetsfull eggande undran
och en sprittande, glittrandre fröjd, att åter få söka äventyret i den sköna
Att se Kosacklivet
vid Don. Att lära sig Ryska. Att söka den Ryska folksjälen genom att resa
från by till by. Att klä sig, äta och deltaga i den vanliga människans
arbete – för att kunna dela begreppssfär, tankar och seder.
Allt detta utan
att fördjupa sig i funderingar över sammhällsproblem, utan snarare för att
som en tjänare skildra intrycken från resan till landet vid Don, samt ritten
därifrån tillbaka till St. Petersburg.
reseskildring rymmer många ögonblicksbilder av möten med människor, från
morgonbad med Lev Tolstoi till samtal med Tartarer och fotografering av
med foto och teckningar.
For details, please go to
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