Coat-Tails of Empire: The ADFA Letters Freya Stark’s Correspondence with Sir Harry Luke


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Few women of any age can have lived a more varied life than did travel writer, Dame Freya Stark (1893-1993). This slender volume of letters written to her old friend Sir Harry Luke contains the only unbroken series of her published letters aaddressed to a single correspondent and is the only one to have been presented unabridged, extensively researched and carefully edited. An extended biographical essay precedes the letters, offering a new interpretation of her intriguing life. Freya Stark’s early travels in North West Persia earned her the Back Grant from the Royal Geographical Society, and numerous medals and honours followed. She rode camels, mules, donkeys, dhows and battered taxis, and wrote enchanting letters to her mother and to her influential circle of friends. She was an amateur of mapping remote areas, an incomparable photographer, and she worked for the British government in Aden, Cairo and Baghdad during the Second World War. Her rare zest for life and sharp eye and tongue  made her many enemies, but she was very quotable and could be very funny. The letters in this book record her ceaseless round of activities between 1951 and 1964, when she was writing and travelling strenuously, sometimes in wild and remote places, but also around the stately homes of England, hanging always onto the coat-tails of Empire as it was disintegrating around her.

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Weight 0.192 kg
Dimensions 13.5 × 21 cm


Christine Cambell



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