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The Road to Oxiana
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I love literary travel books and this is the best one in the English language. Scholarly, eccentric and wildly opinionated -- Tudor Parfitt * Geographical * My favourite travel book is Robert Byron's The Road To Oxiana, which started a new wave of travel writing. I took it on my first trip to Iran. I always take books about the places I'm visiting: I sat in a ruined mosque now populated by sheep and read Byron's wonderful descriptions of it. I think that sowed a seed for the Travel Bookshop -- Sarah Anderson, founder of The Travel Bookshop The Road to Oxiana is an informed, somewhat high-flown account of the early Islamic architecture of Persia and Afghanistan wrapped in a comic narrative that ensured a far wider readership... Funny, didactic and biting, Byron's masterpiece transports us across the world and, better still, across the decades to splendidly alien lands * Independent * The Road to Oxiana is part travelogue, part aesthetic manifesto and part social observation; it remains the most thoroughly readable of all books. And Byron is the ideal companion, witty, charming, irascible, and content to leave and be left alone * The Times * A brilliantly-wrought expression of a thoroughly modern sensibility, a portrait of an accidental man adrift between frontiers * New York Review of Books *
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Robert Byron was born in England in 1905 into a family distantly related to Lord Byron. He attended Eton and Merton College, Oxford, and wrote several other travel books before his untimely death in 1941 when his ship to West Africa was torpedoed while serving as a correspondent for a London newspaper during World War II. Among his other books are The Station (1928), The Byzantine Achievement (1929), and First Russia, Then Tibet (1933).