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Northern Afghanistan or Letters from the Afghan Boundary Commission.

Edinburgh & London, William Blackwood and Sons, 1888 Stock Code: 140230

One of the last flashpoints of the Great Game.

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First edition, scarce. Account of one of the last confrontations of the Great Game; "The flashpoint was the remote and little-known oasis of Pandjeh, lying halfway between Merv and Herat, and destined shortly to become a household word" (Hopkirk, The Great Game, p. 425).

Sir Charles Edward Yate (1849-1940) administrator in India and politician, served on General Roberts's staff during the Second Afghan War. "From 1884 to 1886 he was attached to the Afghan boundary commission, a posting which supplied him with the material for a volume of descriptive letters, Northern Afghanistan (1888). In March 1885 Yate was British representative at Panjdeh, an oasis on Afghanistan's western frontier, when Russian troops invaded and threatened to embroil Britain in a war on Afghanistan's behalf. On 29 March, in a dramatic gesture of hospitality which typified his tendency to respond to a situation in terms of its protagonists, Yate invited the Russian officers to dine with him between the two lines of opposing soldiers. Notwithstanding the exchange of champagne toasts in no-man's-land, the Russians seized the disputed territory at dawn the following day. For his boundary work, Yate was made CSI in 1887 and CMG in 1888" (ODNB).

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Octavo. Original dark red cloth over bevelled boards, gilt lettered spine and front cover, slate-greeen-coated endpapers.


3 maps (2 large and folding in pocket at end).


Labels previously removed from spine have caused roughening and rumpling of cloth and some loss of gilt (similarly but less offensively to front cover), partial damp-staining to endpapers, old black ink staining to back joint, stain to fore-edge not penetrating to margins. A good copy, sound and clean, the rather fragile maps a little toned but otherwise free from splits or tears.


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