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Item #: BK2398
THE HIGH ROAD TO CHINA: GEORGE BOGLE, THE PANCHEN LAMA, AND THE FIRST BRITISH EXPEDITION TO TIBET Teltscher 2007
By Teltscher, Kate
Price: $26.00


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2007. 336 pp, photos. In 1774 Warren Hastings, the head of the British East India Company in India, received a letter from the Panchen Lama, the revered head of the Tibetan government, and immediately saw a new and rich market and, more importantly, a possible 'entrance for British goods into the immense Chinese market.' And British writer Teltscher wonderfully tells the journey of Hastings's Scottish envoy, George Bogle, to Tibet to meet with the Lama, and the Lama's subsequent journey to China to meet with Emperor Qianlong. New hardcover with DJ.
 
Mixing quotations from Bogle's journals with lively prose, she creates an academic yet dynamic account of two cultures meeting for the first time. While working to persuade the Lama to trade with the British, Bogle became captivated by Tibet, finding the simple mountain culture similar to his Highland life. In the Lama he finds a genuine friend with a hungry mind willing to discuss 'world politics and geography, European science, technology and culture about stars and watches and crocodiles.' While presenting a bittersweet tale of friendship between two strong yet completely different souls, Teltscher also manages to pull the veil back on the historical connection between Tibet and China that remains noteworthy to the present day. New hardcover with DJ.
 
'A wonderful book, absolutely compelling - partly because the two journeys, Bogle's to Tibet and the Panchen Lama's to China, give it a structure full of suspense and expectation, but mainly because the material is so beautifully organised to bring this out. The exoticism - clothes, food, buildings - is ravishing. I am quite certain that readers will find it irresistible.' John Carey
 
'Thrilling and fascinating - Kate Teltscher makes us feel the awe of her hero, young Bogle, on his journey through India and Tibet to meet the Panchen Lama, but she also takes us further, on the Lama's own thousand-mile journey to the sumptuous summer court of the greatest Chinese emperor, Qianlong. Letters, journals and documents are woven into the flowing narrative, which is wonderfully vivid and evocative - reeds, tents, people, food, silks, clothes, weather. And the intimate drama is underpinned by a clear understanding of the power struggles of the day, of the mutual wariness - and explotiation - of Oriental and European rulers, and the fascination for Enlightenment writers of societies very different to their own.' Jenny Uglow
 
'Fascinating an extraordinary narrative about 18th-century precursors of the Great Game, set in India, Tibet and China, dominated by marvellous characters and told with a rare mixture of scholarly learning and enthusiast's fizz.' Jan Morris

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