Read The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels by Freya Stark Free Online
Book Title: The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels|
The author of the book: Freya Stark
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 37.88 MB
Edition: Modern Library
Date of issue: July 24th 2001
ISBN 13: 9780375757532
Read full description of the books:Hailed as a classic upon its first publication in 1934, The Valleys of the Assassins firmly established Freya Stark as one of her generation's most intrepid explorers. The book chronicles her travels into Luristan, the mountainous terrain nestled between Iraq and present-day Iran, often with only a single guide and on a shoestring budget.
Stark writes engagingly of the nomadic peoples who inhabit the region's valleys and brings to life the stories of the ancient kingdoms of the Middle East, including that of the Lords of Alamut, a band of hashish-eating terrorists whose stronghold in the Elburz Mountains Stark was the first to document for the Royal Geographical Society. Her account is at once a highly readable travel narrative and a richly drawn, sympathetic portrait of a people told from their own compelling point of view.
This edition includes a new Introduction by Jane Fletcher Geniesse, Stark's biographer.
Read information about the authorFreya Stark was born in Paris, where her parents were studying art. Her mother, Flora, was an Italian of Polish/German descent; her father, Robert, an English painter from Devon.
In her lifetime she was famous for her experiences in the Middle East, her writing and her cartography. Freya Stark was not only one of the first Western women to travel through the Arabian deserts (Hadhramaut), she often travelled solo into areas where few Europeans, let alone women, had ever been.
She spent much of her childhood in North Italy, helped by the fact that Pen Browning, a friend of her father, had bought three houses in Asolo. She also had a grandmother in Genoa. For her 9th birthday she received a copy of the One Thousand and One Nights, and became fascinated with the Orient. She was often ill while young, and confined to the house, so found an outlet in reading. She delighted in reading French, in particular Dumas, and taught herself Latin. When she was 13 she had an accident in a factory in Italy, when her hair got caught in a machine, and she had to spend four months getting skin grafts in hospital, which left her face slightly disfigured.
She later learned Arabic and Persian, studied history in London and during World War I worked as a nurse in Italy, where her mother had remained and taken a share in a business. Her sister, Vera, married the co-owner.
In November 1927 she visited Asolo for the first time in years, and later that month boarded a ship for Beirut, where her travels in the East began. She based herself first at the home of James Elroy Flecker in Lebanon and then in Baghdad, where she met the British high commissioner.
By 1931 she had completed three dangerous treks into the wilderness of western Iran, in parts of which no Westerner had ever been before, and had located the long-fabled Valleys of the Assassins (hashish-eaters). During the 1930s she penetrated the hinterland of southern Arabia, where only a handful of Western explorers had previously ventured and then never as far or as widely as she went.
During World War II, she joined the British Ministry of Information and contributed to the creation of a propaganda network aimed at persuading Arabs to support the Allies or at least remain neutral. She wrote more than two dozen books based on her travels, almost all of which were published by John Murray in London, with whom she had a successful and long-standing working relationship.
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