A quick note on galloping Great Game narratives

The firmly-stated plan to read only new books by new authors has been shelved, as I’ve just finished Peter Hopkirk’s brilliant The Great Game, and now I want to go off and read all the memoirs of all the people who charged up and down Central Asia in those years. I had an odd moment just after I finished the book, as I made a cup of tea and turned on Radio 4’s The World At One in time to hear an unpleasant Miliband pontificating about visits to Kabul and making peace with tribal chiefs, and so it was as if time had folded back on itself and the Game was still afoot. But I have no idea what to say about this Third Afghan War so I’ll leave it at that.

The Hopkirk, although it’s a history, is undoubtedly a ripsnorter so I’m going to add it to that list. I’ve broken my self-imposed Amazon embargo and ordered up Alexander Burnes’ two books of memoirs to go next. At the moment I’m too busy enjoying the ripping yarns to think too much about the hideous imperialist values on show, although the attitudes of both the Russians and the British are appalling. Perhaps I’ll have a more nuanced response to the morals of the Game after the initial thrill of adventure has worn off.


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