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Among the Tibetans, Unknown Binding – January 1, 1894


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding: 159 pages
  • Publisher: F. H. Revell company (1894)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006AE0SM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Among the Tibetans is a record of Isabella Bishop's 1889 journey into Ladakh. It is a fascinating account of her encounters with the region's natives and her observations of their lifestyles, as well as an insight into the difficulties of travelling in such areas in the late nineteenth century. --This text refers to the Printed Access Code edition.

About the Author

Isabella Lucy Bird (Mrs. Bishop) was born in 1831. She won fame in her own time as surely the most remarkable woman traveller of the nineteenth century. She published nine books about her travels, and her writing is guaranteed to produce a thirst for adventure and travel. She died in Edinburgh in 1904. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By T. C. Horan on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was somewhat disappointed in this book. Certainly, the noble Ms. Bird had made this remarkable journey (and many others) in a time (the late 1800s) when 'women didn't do such things'. For that I applaud her spirit and determination.

While interesting, in my opinion, most of the book comes across as fairly uninspired. She seems unable to share the sense of wonder one must feel when in the presence of such dramatic physical geography. Her description of the local citizenry is, to my mind, also fairly unimaginative. While her narrative is certainly straight forward and no doubt accurate, it seems she never really 'gets into it'.

There are several moments in the story when we are given an insight into Ms. Bird's character and we see her as an enormously resilient and self-reliant person. There are also interesting glimpses of her Victorian roots as portrayed in her comments regarding local Tibetan customs and habits.

All in all, I would recommend this book but I would caution the reader not to expect 'Lost Horizons'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on January 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's a Kindle edition that currently sells at $4.89 and the paperback at $7.45. I purchased the public domain edition (because it was free) and I was enthralled by Ms. Bird's descriptions of her experiences of her four month travel by horseback from India through the Himalayas in the late Eighteen Hundreds. Bird does exceptionally well in describing the rugged, impossibly difficult,and often breathtaking mountain passes that she traversed. My free edition did not have the sketches she made and which, I assume, are in the paid edition. On the otherhand, Bird has a gift for using words to paint vivid images of the Tibetans, their looks, costumes and decorations, ceremonies, music, as well as of their dwellings, temples, and monasteries. Although much has changed, I dare say that a lot of what she described is still true of Tibet. One thing that touched me was the realization of how extremely difficult it is to go from one village to another, to ford rivers that are icy cold, deep, and are more than a mile across, and to move fully loaded pack animals along a narrow ridge that is wide enough only for a single file but there's another caravan coming from the opposite direction. Life and nature can be very cruel on such a harsh journey so it was a treat to make the same journey while enjoying the comfort my chair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Magmom on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Isabella Bird was an amazing woman who travelled all over the world for her "health," establishing hospitals where she could and always writing letters to her sister back in England. The letter were published and, like other women travelers of the late 19th century, she gained an international reputation. Her trip into western Tibet, published in 1894, is not as well known as A lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, but it is at least the equal of that adventure. Bird traveled with quite a large support group but often she was the only"traveler." A look at a modern map makes the reader realize that the regions of Kashmir and Tibet she traveled through are still remote. On steep mountain paths they lost some pack animals but Isabella carried on, visiting wandering herdsmen and their families, marveling at the stark landscape, the monasteries and rendering it all in vivid detail. For the contemporary couch potato, her account is so amazing that the reader would be insane to try a similar feat--riding side saddle in a dress. There is a fairly good biography of Bird available, but for the real thing, I recommend her own accounts of her travels in Persia, Japan, Tibet and the Rocky Mountains and points in between.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry on January 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, a minor quibble - the journey does not actually take place in Tibet, but rather in Ladakh (or Little Tibet, as the author refers to it). That matter aside - what an incredible journey - it is just a terrible pity that the author carried so much unwarranted baggage with her - elitism, racism, distaste for anything Moslem-related and a contempt for Buddhism and the Lamas, who treated her with such kindness and high regard during her journey. She could have learned and enjoyed so much more if she had truly opened her eyes. It really does reflect all our worst perceptions of the British-Raj - Ms Bird 'luxuriating' in her massive tent while her servants and 'coolies' were at times required to sleep without cover in the snow.

There are wonderful descriptions of this, for us, remote territory - incredible scenery, villages, towns, people and customs. Unfortunately the book is written in a peculiar 'distant' style, as if the author was an observer from afar - Ms Bird never draws us into the adventure or journey, giving a feeling of actually being there. Perhaps the original edition, which presumably carried the many illustrations of which the author speaks, was better able to convey the grandeur and the trials of the very difficult terrain.

Still, it is a great period piece and a true eye-opener on the character of Ms Bird, the adventurer, as well as conveying a picture (albeit not fully engaging) of a time and place past.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David R. Courtney on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is good, but only if you approach it with the proper frame of mind. To begin with, there are two things that the reader must remember. The first is that she is writing about a land which no longer exists, and the second is that it is the mindset of the writer which is as interesting as the land she is describing.

The fact that there have been many changes since the 19th century need not be elaborated upon. This book is an interesting historical description.

But it is the mindset of the writer which I found most interesting. Throughout the entire book she talks about her horse better than she talks about most of the people she encounters. The level of ethnocentricity and cultural insensitivity in the way that she describes all the people she meets is appalling. Curiously she is completely oblivious to this. It is easy to pass this off as being typical of Victorian world views. But I lived for many years in India, and I am afraid to say that even today, this is an all to common mindset among Christian Missionaries.
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