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An English Lady in Chinese Turkestan.
London, Ernest Benn Ltd., [1931]. 8vo. Publisher's green cloth; pp. [vii], 236; sketch map and four photographic plates; cloth a little marked, front free endpaper replaced; occasional spotting to text only, a good copy of a very rare book. First edition of an important title on the Great Game in Central Asia, and a wonderful description of life in Kashgar and surroundings, now in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China's far west on the Silk Road. 'Catherina Theodora, second daughter of James Borland of Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. She had never travelled before but revealed an exemplary ability to 'make do', hosting numerous Russian and Chinese diplomatic guests as well as any passing travellers from home' (ODNB). 'Col Francis Younghusband was the first British Resident in Kashgar, and from 1891 George Macartney (no relation to the first Ambassador to China in 1793) replaced Younghusband and stayed there until his retirement at the end of the First World War. One of the most important duties of the British Political Resident at Kashgar was to send periodic news reports or fortnightly diaries, channelled through the Government of India, to London. The contents of these reports and diaries range from the Resident's daily dealings with the locals to political uprisings in the region. In the countries surrounding India's frontiers, there was little secret intelligence of a direct military kind to be acquired. What the British Government needed to know was mainly political - Russian movement in the region, local events, which tribes might be plotting to overthrow some ruler and what might be the effect on the border tribes. The Political Resident at Kashgar, George Macartney, who was fully bilingual, managed to establish an amicable rapport with Chinese Taotai (a provincial administrator) as well as with the Russian Consul at Kashgar. Through his local contacts, he was well informed of political shifts and likely repercussions within or beyond the borders. In general, it could be said that, like every British Political Agent of that period, Macartney ran a local information or intelligence service, which Russians might have called a spy network, but it tended to be a very informal and parochial affair' (British Library, Chinese Turkestan: British presence, online).
      [Bookseller: Henry Sotheran Ltd.]
Last Found On: 2017-09-23           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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