Read The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939 by Ella Maillart Free Online
Book Title: The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939|
The author of the book: Ella Maillart
ISBN 13: 9781299605152
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.12 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.1
Edition: University of Chicago Press
Date of issue: June 4th 2013
Read full description of the books:
In 1939 Swiss travel writer and journalist Ella K. Maillart set off on an epic journey from Geneva to Kabul with fellow writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach in a brand new Ford. As the first European women to travel alone on Afghanistan's Northern Road, Maillart and Schwarzenbach had a rare glimpse of life in Iran and Afghanistan at a time when their borders were rarely crossed by Westerners. As the two flash across Europe and the Near East in a streak of elan and daring, Maillart writes of comical mishaps, breathtaking landscapes, vitriolic religious clashes, and the ingenuity with which the women navigated what was often a dangerous journey. In beautiful, clear-eyed prose, "The Cruel Way" shows Maillart's great ability to explore and experience other cultures in writing both lyrical and deeply empathetic.
While the core of the book is the journey itself and their interactions with people oppressed by political conflict and poverty, towards the end of the trip the women's increasingly troubled relationship takes center stage. By then the glamorous, androgynous Schwarzenbach, whose own account of the trip can be found in "All the Roads Are Open," is fighting a losing battle with her own drug addiction, and Maillart's frustrated attempts to cure her show the profound depth of their relationship.
Complete with thirteen of Maillart's own photographs from the journey, "The Cruel Way "is a classic of travel writing, and its protagonists are as gripping and fearless as any in literature.
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Read information about the authorElla Maillart (or Ella K. Maillart, or Kini Maillart) (February 20, 1903, Geneva - March 27, 1997, Chandolin) was a French-speaking Swiss adventurer and travel writer, as well as a sportswoman. She had been captain of the Swiss Women's ice hockey team and was an international skier. She also competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics as sailor in the Olympic monotype competition
From the 1930s onwards she spent years exploring oriental republics of the USSR, as well as other parts of Asia, and published a rich series of books which, just as her photographs, are today considered valuable historical testimonies. Her early books were written in French but later she began to write in English. Turkestan Solo describes a journey in 1932 in Soviet Turkestan. In 1934, the French daily Le Petit Parisien sent her to Manchuria to report on the situation under the Japanese occupation. It was there that she met Peter Fleming, a well-known writer and correspondent of The Times, with whom she would team up to cross China from Peking to Srinagar (3,500 miles), much of the route being through hostile desert regions and steep Himalayan passes. The journey started in February 1935 and took seven months to complete, involving travel by train, on lorries, on foot, horse and camelback. Their objective was to ascertain what was happening in Sinkiang (then also known as Chinese Turkestan) where a civil war had been going on. Ella Maillart later recorded this trek in her book Forbidden Journey, while Peter Fleming's parallel account is found in his News from Tartary. In 1937 Ella Maillart returned to Asia for Le Petit Parisien to report on Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, while in 1939 she undertook a trip from Geneva to Kabul by car, in the company of the Swiss writer, Annemarie Schwarzenbach. The Cruel Way is the title of Ella Maillart's book about this experience, cut short by the outbreak of the second World War.
She spent the war years in the South of India, learning from different teachers about Advaita Vedanta, one of the schools of Hindu philosophy. On her return to Switzerland in 1945, she lived in Geneva and at Chandolin, a mountain village in the Swiss Alps. She continued to ski until late in life and last returned to Tibet in 1986.
Ella Maillart's manuscripts and documents are kept at the Bibliothèque de Genève (Library of the City of Geneva), her photographic work is deposited at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, and her documentary films (on Afghanistan, Nepal and South India) are part of the collection of La Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne, Switzerland.