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Richard Halliburton
(1900-1939)

 

 

 

Some lives are too big to fit into one book. Some men cannot be contained by their country of origin. Richard Halliburton was such a man, and led such a life. Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1900, the well-to-do only child left behind the comforts of home and embarked on a career of dare-devil deeds which has never been equaled. Halliburton rode an elephant over the Alps, flew a crimson red bi-plane upside down over the Taj Mahal, swam the length of the Panama Canal, explored jungles, climbed mountains, and laughed in the face of danger for nearly twenty years. 

Movie-star handsome, Halliburton's exploits made him a living legend and provided five best-sellers to his eager American audience.  Yet he was destined to die, like the bright human comet that he was, in a blaze of glory and mystery that has never been solved. It was 1939, at the height of his career, when Death snatched Richard Halliburton from the stage. He was attempting to sail a Chinese junk, the Sea Dragon, from Hong Kong to San Francisco, when the leaky wreck disappeared without a trace. His last message was, "Southerly gales, squalls, lee rail under water, wet bunks, hard tack, bully beef, wish you were here, instead of me".  America's greatest adventure travel writer was never heard from again. Listed below are Richard Halliburton's five immortal classics, making this the first time in history that all of his books have been available at once. Yet these volumes are not just travel classics, full of photographs and surprises. They serve instead as a literary memorial to their dashing, globe-trotting author.  

So Rest in Peace under your waves, Richard. 

Your story will now be told, again and again .....

 

The Royal Road to Romance

Richard Halliburton

ISBN 1590480856 
 

He was the most dashing, handsome adventure travel writer America ever had!

During the roaring 1920s and 30s Richard Halliburton crossed the world like a whirlwind, all the while risking his life by performing stunts during the course of his travels like diving into the accursed Mayan Well of Death, not once but twice. He was welcomed by royalty, lived on Devil's Island, and enlisted in the Foreign Legion. Born in the USA, Halliburton called the world his home. 

"The Royal Road to Romance” was Halliburton's first book and doesn’t include a dull page. It details how the young Princeton university student cast aside any notions of a serious career, choosing instead to visit a vast array of countries from England to Japan. During the course of these travels he undertook every sort of madcap adventure that he could find, including swimming the famed Hellespont, exploring the jungles of India, and becoming the first foreigner to astonish Japan by climb snow-covered Mount Fujiyama in midwinter.  

"Let those who wish have their respectability - I wanted the freedom to search the farthermost corners of the earth for the beautiful, the joyous and the romantic," he wrote.

This is the exciting, and charming, story of how this famed traveler found all those dreams, and more.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble   or  Amazon.co.uk

The Glorious Adventure

Richard Halliburton
 

Before the advent of television, before the global destruction of the Second World War, every American sat glued to the radio, eagerly listening for news of what crazy young Dick Halliburton had done next. They didn't have long to wait!

Halliburton started entertaining the world in the early 1920s. “The Glorious Adventure” was his second book and details how he set out to follow in the path of Ulysses, that royal vagabond who mirrored Dick's own restlessness. The resultant book doesn’t lack for excitement. It details how Halliburton roamed the Mediterranean Sea searching for adventure and romance, both of which he was happy to report were still in abundant supply.

"I thought of Ulysses and his stirring drama, and then looked at my own life, imprisoned by apartment walls, surrounded by self-satisfied people who were caught in the ruts of convention and responsibility. All that seemed drab. I had tasted the drug of romantic travel, and I could not rest from it" Halliburton wrote before setting off for the blue Mediterranean. 

"The Glorious Adventure" is properly named, for seldom does one find a book so young in spirit and bubbling over with the joy of life.

Buy from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk

New Worlds to Conquer

Richard Halliburton

 

By the early 1930s America had one literary treasure that risked his life to please its readers. Richard Halliburton had already become a best-selling travel author and could have retired comfortably on the immense wealth gained from the sale of his first two books. Yet some men are born to dare, and Halliburton was one these.

“New Worlds to Conquer” was Halliburton's  third book and contains a knapsack full of that adventurer's gold - dreams brought to reality by the alchemy of his courage and daring. The book details how Halliburton set off for Latin America in search of adventure, and find it he did. He dived to the bottom of the Mayan Well of Death, from which hundreds of skeletons had been dredged, then swam fifty miles down the length of the Panama Canal. Not content, he climbed to the crest of Mexico's lofty Mount Popocatepetl, twice, and roamed over the infamous Devil’s Island. Yet his most amazing adventure occurred when he had himself marooned on the same island which had once held Robinson Crusoe captive. 

"Somewhere a lizard stirred the leaves ... Furtively I looked about me, realizing that in the darkness the boa-constrictors would be abroad creeping forth from the ancient tombs and slinking down the leafy avenues," Halliburton wrote. 

This is Halliburton at is best - fatalistic about his own safety, poetic about his chances of survival, and determined to bring home a hair-raising tale of adventure from the Latin lands of legend.  

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk

 

The Flying Carpet

Richard Halliburton

 

Richard Halliburton could be counted on to lead his readers into strange places, hilarious difficulties, and bizarre adventures. He had already proved that you could see the world without a dime in your pocket, and have a whale of a time doing it. Yet after various adventures on land and by sea, America's most dashing traveler decided there was only path left open for him - the sky itself.

“The Flying Carpet” was Halliburton's fourth and most famous book and details his epic adventures flying a bi-plane through remote parts of the globe. It recounts how Halliburton landed in Timbuctoo, passed over Mt. Everest, flew over the Taj Mahal upside down, and dropped down into the jungles of Borneo to visit native head hunters.

"Stephens," Halliburton told the pilot, "I've just given myself an airplane and I want you to fly us to all the outlandish places in the world, Turkey, Persia, Paris and - Pasadena. We're going to fly across deserts, over mountains, rescue imprisoned princesses and fight dragons. We must have the world. We can have the world!" 

If one book can summarize all the reckless love of life and romance that symbolized Richard Halliburton, then this is the book.
Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk.

Seven League Boots

Richard Halliburton

 

 

Some men lead lives of such rare intensity that they disappear into the mists of their own legend. Such a man was Richard Halliburton - Dreamer -Traveler - Poet - Bon Vivant and doomed to die. 

“Seven League Boots” was his fifth and last book, and details his epic adventures in a variety of remote places .

"I had been commissioned to go anywhere in the world I wished and write whatever pleased me. My only orders were to move fast, visit strange places, to meet whomever was interesting - and to start at once," Halliburton wrote.

His subsequent book illustrates how he followed these orders with passion and abandon. America's favorite adventure writer dined with Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, interviewed the infamous assassin of Czar Nicholas II in Russia, tried to sneak into the forbidden city of Mecca, and finally, rode an elephant over the Alps in the tracks of Hannibal. It is Halliburton at his best, reckless and romantic, and it is the last chapter of a life grown tragic.

Incapable of writing a dull page, Halliburton nevertheless was a captive of his own press. His insatiable readers demanded ever more death-defying accounts. Nearing forty, physically exhausted, and in financial trouble, Halliburton thought to roll the dice once again, hoping that the charm which had always saved him in the past would materialize one more time. It didn't!  Soon after finishing this book, the intrepid traveler ignored the warnings of seasoned sailors and set sail on the ship that would take him away from his book-hungry public and into the arms of a watery death. This, his final book, is the ink-stained headstone of Halliburton's amazing life.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk.

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