The first comprehensive account of the whole of Central Asia: the most important work of the British spy and diplomat Alexander Burnes

Burnes, Alexander. Travels into Bokhara: containing the narrative of a voyage on the Indus from the sea to Lahore [...].

London, John Murray, 1839.

8vo. 3 vols. XXIV, (2), 328 pp. XII, 304 pp. XII, 384 pp. With 8 plates, 4 of which are folding, and one folding map. 19th century cloth-backed brown boards, paper spine labels.


Second edition. "Acclaimed by critics as one of the most valuable books on travel that had ever appeared, it was the first comprehensive account of the whole of Central Asia" (Howgego, p. 83).

The best-known work of Alexander Burnes (1805-41), a Scottish diplomat, military officer, spy, and explorer who was once nicknamed "Bukhara Burnes" for his role in establishing contact with and exploring Bukhara, a historical stop along the Silk Road and today the seventh-largest city in Uzbekistan. Burnes began his career serving in the army of the East India Company and swiftly became enmeshed in what the British called The Great Game: a series of disputes between the British and Russian empires as each sought to acquire Afghanistan and surrounding areas under imperial rule. This had large ramifications in West Asia and the subcontinent, and Burnes was familiar with many of the local political actors who rose to become major players in the Game, such as Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) and especially Mohan Lal Zutshi (1812-77), an Indian fellow explorer and diplomat who guided Burnes on his trip to Bukhara. Zutshi and Burnes remain at the heart of Burnes's narrative. The folding map at the rear of vol. 1 illustrates the path Mohan Lal Zutshi and Burnes took through West Asia.

Light exterior wear with traces of professional repairs, but generally in good condition.


OCLC 3813162. Cf. Wilson 35 (1835 ed.). Howgego, 1800-1850, B77.