China, Mexico, and Oceania
Travels in Tartary, Tibet, and China
by M. Huc
[Monastery in Tibet; Huc]
True-to-life, often humorous, and always vivid descripitions are provided by the French missionary Huc of the largely unknown cities and byways of mid-19th century Asia, from the Yangtze River to Lhasa, capital of Tibet. This classic, unique account was written between 1844 to 1846, when Huc and a companion priest travelled from Peking (Beijing) along the Yellow River and the Great Wall of China, venturing as far west as the secluded Buddhist monasteries of Tibet.
There Huc stayed and attempted (albeit unsucessfully) to convert his Tibetan friends to Catholicism. Travels in Tartary, Tibet, and China uncovers the little-known but magnificent cultures of the Orient in Huc’s typically entertaining, informative style. Documented are towns, countryside, peoples and their religions, among these, the monasteries and practices of the distinctive Tibetan Buddhism known as lamaism.
Two volumes in one, based on the 2nd (1860) London edition. All original illustrations and text are included with dditional maps and figures.
Paperback, 578 pages. Illustrations (95 figs and maps) and index.
ISBN 1-887954-19-8 US $19.95
Ancient Cities of the New World
by Desiré Charnay
Based on his extensive and well documented travels in Central America and Mexico between 1857-1882, Charnay’s Ancient Cities is perhaps the most complete of all 19th century accounts of the ancient Maya, Aztec, and Mixtec cities that were rapidly coming to light throughout that era.
As an emissary for the French Minister of Public Instruction, Charnay explored the archaeological region now called Mesoamerica from Vera Cruz to the Valley of Mexico, where he recorded the huge Classic and Postclassic sites of Teotihuacan and Tula. He then went to the Yucatán and neighboring Tabasco, Chiapas and Guatemala, observing the magnificent Maya ruins of Palenque, Chichen Itzá, Yaxchilan, Tikal, and Copan. To help interpret the vanished Mayan civilization, numerous illustrations (accurately rendered from photographs) are matched with sage observations from the colonial records, giving readers an excellent exposure to the region.
After years of study, Charnay concluded that most, if not all, of these fabulous civilizations derived from a single source, the relatively recent Toltec (now dated ca. AD 800-1200). While now known to be an oversimplified and largely inaccurate view, the assembling of evidence by Charnay, of much help to later scholars, has been proven to be a resounding success. [Statue of Aztec deity; Charnay]
Charnay, in the meantime, also depicts the contemporary peoples of Mexico and Central America with interest and sympathy, including both graphic and verbal sketches of their markets, homes, and daily activities. The book remains a rich documentary source on New World civilizations both ancient and modern.
From the 1877 edition of Harpers, New York.
1 volume, Paperback, 334 pages. Illustrations (208 figs.), notes, and index.
ISBN 1-887954-21-X. US $18.95
The Eventful History of the Mutiny on the Bounty
by John Barrow
In 1787, 17 years after Captain Cook's first voyage, a venture was organized by Cook's naturalist Joseph Banks to carry breadfruit, a staple food of Polynesia, to British Caribbean isles. Made captain of the breadfruit ship was Lieutenant William Bligh, who recruited his friend Fletcher Christian as mate. The ship, of course, was the ill-fated Bounty. [Harbor at Otaheite; Barrow]
Departing England on Dec. 23, 1787, after months of tempestuous sailing the ship arrived in October, 1788 at Otaheite in the Society Islands (Tahiti), where Cook had established friendly relations. There the Bounty 's crew remained at relative ease for several months, leaving April 4, 1789 with over 1000 breadfruit plants destined for the Caribbean. As Bligh records in his journal, the voyage had seemed, up to now, a success. Suddenly, however, on April 28, mutiny occurred with Bligh's erstwhile friend Fletcher Christian serving as ringleader, forcing Bligh and 17 followers into the ship's boat with only a few provisions. Thus began an open boat journey of several weeks of slow starvation and exposure. Utimately Bligh, through impressive navigation by dead reckoning, got the whole crew alive to Timor in the Dutch East Indies. Bligh was to return to England, prevail in a court-martial for loss of his ship, and ultimately bring some mutineers to trial and execution. The 25 mutineers of the Bounty, meanwhile, ended up at Pitcairn's island in the South Pacific. There some survived to have offspring, beginning a settlement lasting until today which, from a scientific standpoint, has become a classic case of genetic "bottleneck."
From the mutineers' perspective, Bligh was a harsh, ill-tempered disciplinarian who alienated officers and sailors alike. Barrow, the book's author and a secretary of the British admiralty, who modestly describes himself as an editor of the logs and journals of Bligh and some mutineers, presents every side in this always fascinating story.
From the 1832 edition of Harpers, New York.
Paperback, 210 pages. Figures and map.
ISBN 1-887954-23-6. US $18.95
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