East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Gabriel Bonvalot

Gabriel_BonvalotOne of the problems of reading (mainly) English-language books is that a certain section of the world remains under-represented.
Events and characters are somewhat edited out of history if they did not directly intersect the history of the English-speaking people.
This becomes painfully true when we focus on the Victorian era, or more generally on the time in which the red was widespread on the map, and Britain ruled an empire.
Case in point: Pierre Gabriel Édouard Bonvalot.

An explorer and geographer, Bonvalot explored cCentral Asia in 1880-1882, his expedition financed by the French Ministry of Education. A second expedition in 1886-1887 saw him move east from Russian Central Asia to Sinkiang.
Now, I did not know anything about Bonvalot – which is mighty embarassing, considering I wrote a non-fiction book about explorers in Central Asia. I can plead non-guilty pointing out that my book covers only the first half of the 20th century.. but let’s face it, it’s embarrassing anyway. Continue reading


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