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Maillart was the adventurous Swiss woman who made her name as an intrepid
explorer and one of the most remarkable woman travelers of the early
twentieth century. An amazing sports woman, she first represented her
country as the only woman competitor at the 1924 Paris Olympics in the
single-handed boat-sailing contest, then later raced for Switzerland as a
member of the international ski team.
Yet these outdoor activities only developed Maillart’s insatiable
curiosity to travel east, leaving behind the confines of her early life in
Geneva in search of the perfect life that she was instinctively seeking.
Her later adventures took her across many continents and various oceans.
Maillart sailed the Mediterranean in a yawl, traveled with famed travel
English travel writer Peter Fleming from Peking to Kashmir, explored Tibet
with a half-wild tiger-cat in search of spiritual enlightenment, and
finally drove 4,000 miles from war-torn Europe to the fabled Khyber Pass
in a battered Ford car.
Ella Maillart's solo journey through Central Asia in the early 1930s was
considered to be a highlight of her adventure-filled life. Setting off
from the Tien Shan mountains of Mongolia, Maillart rode horses and camels
to the far away walls of fabled Bokhara. “Turkestan Solo” is her vivid
account of this wonderful, mysterious and dangerous portion of the world,
complete with its Kirghiz eagle hunters, lurking Soviet secret police, and
the timeless nomads that still inhabited the desolate steppes of Central
If any book can give its reader the ability to look back in time, this one
does, written as it was by one of the world’s foremost female equestrian
explorers. Amply illustrated, it remains a timeless adventure classic.