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CABLE, Mildred, Frank Houghton, R. Kilgour, Alexander McLeish, R.W. Sturt & Olive Wyon.

The Challenge of Central Asia.

A Brief Survey of Tibet and its Borderlands, Mongolia, North-West Kansu, Chinese Turkistan, and Russian Central Asia.

Published: London: World Dominion Press, 1929

Stock code: 105391

Price: £175

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First and only edition. Uncommon, just 11 locations on Copac. Interesting survey published by the World Dominion Movement which was a Christian evangelical organisation with the aim of establishing an indigenous Chinese church. In his introduction the survey editor, Alexander McLeish draws attention to the threat of Soviet Russia; “It will also be seen from the map how completely the whole region is dominated by the railway system of Soviet Russia, southern extensions of which have already been carried out … From this it can readily be gathered how serious is the Soviet menace. The British policy of keeping these frontier lands as buffer states seems to have thrown them into the power of their northern neighbours” (preface). Sold together with a first edition in dust jacket of W.J. Platt’s Three Women, the authorised biography of the “Trio”, Mildred Cable and her two companions Eva and Francesca French; “The Trio left Shanxi in June 1923 and arrived in Jiuquan in Gansu province in late 1924. After establishing a base and native church at Jiuquan they devoted the next thirteen years to travelling, by mule cart, across the trade routes of the Gobi Desert, ‘gossiping the Gospel’, as Cable described their method of proselytising; leaving biblical tracts in hostelries, visiting country fairs, and disseminating their Christian message on a personal level by befriending local people. It is for the Trio’s work in this part of central Asia that they were to become widely known in missionary circles and also to the British public. While their numerous journeys across the Gobi Desert were motivated by their evangelical calling, the hardships and frequent dangers endured made them pioneer women travellers and explorers of this region, and they were the first British women to visit the city of Urumchi” (ODNB). Their book The Gobi Desert won the Royal Central Asian Society’s Lawrence Memorial Medal in 1942. The biography has a holograph presentation slip from the author on his headed stationery mounted on the front pastedown.

Octavo. Original blue cloth, title gilt to the spine, blind rules head and tail of the front board. Folding map frontispiece, and one other folding map, tables to the text. A little rubbed, contents lightly browned, otherwise very good.

Bibliography: Yakushi C02

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