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Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great…

Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game (1996)

by Peter Hopkirk

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173668,650 (3.69)9
  1. 10
    Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling (John_Vaughan)
  2. 10
    Soldier Sahibs: The Men Who Made the North-west Frontier by Charles Allen (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    The Great Game : On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Kim by Rudyard Kipling (DuncanHill)
    DuncanHill: Hopkirk follows Kim's travels across India, exploring the places and the historical events and people which inspired Kipling.

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Peter Hopkirk (1930 – 2014) was a journalist who wrote six books about the role of the British Empire in Central Asia – eastern Turkey, Russia, the Caucasus, Pakistan, India, Iran, China, and Nepal. Hopkirk was the chief reporter, Middle East and Far East specialist at The Times for more than 20 years. The books he wrote are a direct off-shoot of that work, and demonstarte a profound interest in the region, joined with the adventurous spirit of the older generation, particularly found in authors such as Erskine Childers and John Buchan. Perhaps this mentality was a family tradition. In any case, by the time the books were written and published in the mid-1990s, Hopkirk's enthusiasm for the British Empire was already dubious.

Quest for Kim. In search of Kipling's Great Game is just such a book, written in the celebratory spirit of colonialism and the British Empire. The book is not at all scholarly, but a purely personal interest of the author to explore the background of Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.

The book creates the impression that very little material was at hand and what was there is drawn out to make the most of it. Thus, in the opening part of the book, several pages are devoted to the personal significance of the novel Kim to various people, including the author.

What follows is a travelogue to places of importance in Kipling's novel. Hopkirk convincingly demonstrates that Kipling found his inspiration very close at home, showing that many buildings and objects in the novel exist in the real world, in fact, many buildings are preserved into the modern time.

The region in which Kim is set, in now a dangerous border region, divided between India and Pakistan. For nearly two centuries, the world powers have tried to conquer this region unsuccessfully.

Quest for Kim. In search of Kipling's Great Game is moderately interesting, particularly for those with an interest in the history of the British Empire in the region, or nostalgia for colonial times. Likely, the book is more appealing to readers familiar with Kipling's work. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Apr 7, 2016 |
bargain = 1 of 29 books for $5.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
For those who have read and admired Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, this is a fascinating travel book trying to retrace Kim's footsteps as he travels through India and identify possible real people for the characters.
The prose is adequate to the task, but is not inspired, as for example William Dalrymple's travel books of India. ( )
  CarltonC | Apr 18, 2010 |
Found it tedious and dull. Flat travelogue approach to local of Kim. ( )
  karen-s | Aug 10, 2008 |
A interesting book to pick up and read after a trip though the Kipling classic "Kim". Peter Hopkirk goes on a trip of a lifetime to find the places mentioned in Kim. This book is a cross between a travelogue and a literary review of "Kim".

Enjoyable enough that I finished it in one night. ( )
  mgreenla | Apr 27, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0472086340, Paperback)

This book is for all those who love Kim, the masterpiece of Indian life in which Kipling immortalized the Great Game, the centuries-old power struggle between Russia and Great Britain in the depths of Central Asia. Fascinated since childhood by this strange tale of an orphan boy's recruitment into the Indian secret service, Peter Hopkirk here explores the many mysteries surrounding Kipling's great novel.
"This is a fascinating, brilliantly written book, as interesting in its description of the author's journeys as it is in its investigation of the reality that lies behind 'the finest novel in the English language with an Indian theme,'" as Kim has been described by Nirad Chaudhuri." --T. J. Binyon, Times Literary Supplement
"In an original combination of autobiography, travel writing, and literary detective work, Hopkirk manages accessibly to tell the story of Kim and his own obsession with it. Hopkirk illustrates how creatively and thoroughly the reading of a work of fiction can shape a whole life's experience." -- John R. Bradley, Independent on Sunday
". . . a reminder of just how absorbing was the world Kipling knew, and how fabulous was his transformation of it into literature." --Richard Bernstein, New York Times
Peter Hopkirk has traveled widely over many years in the regions where his books are set--Central Asia, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East. His nearly twenty years with The Times included work as an Asian affairs specialist. His previous books include The Great Game, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, Trespassers on the Roof of the World, Setting the East Ablaze, and Our Secret Service East of Constantinople. His works have been translated into twelve languages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:12 -0400)

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