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292pp , IN ENGLISH, ABOUT THE AUTHOR ::: -Dame Freya Stark Madeleine , DBE ( January 31, 1893 , Paris , France - May 9, 1993 , Asolo, Italy) was an explorer and writer británica.Freya Stark was born in Paris , where his parents were studying art . His father, Robert , was a British painter and his mother, Flora, was Italian German-Polish descent. At age nine he read A Thousand and One Nights , and was fascinated by the Orient . Later he learned Arabic and Persian. During World War I he studied History in London and SOAS, University of London and worked with the Red Cross in Italy. In 1927 embarked towards Beirut with a friend . He traveled to the Middle East , sought and found the valley of the sect of the Murderers and Alamut . In World War II he worked for the British Ministry of Information , In 1953 he was awarded the Cross of the British Empire and was named Lady of the British Empire in 1972. He won several awards and literiarios 81 years and climbed some steps crossed the Himalayas.
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First published in 1934, Freya Stark's The Valleys of the Assassins and Other Persian Travels has been reprinted once again and is just as much of a gem now as then. At the age of 37, Stark shocked her fellow Brits by moving to Baghdad, befriending the locals, studying Arabic and the Koran, and then setting out on expeditions to remote and uncharted areas of the Islamic world by foot, donkey, camel and car. With her fascination for secret Islamic societies, she resolved to travel to former home of cult of the Assassins and locate an ancient fortress described by Marco Polo. There was only one problem: she couldn't find the valley on her map. Intrepid and indefatigable, she found a guide to lead her across the empty Persian planes and crested mountain ranges into the practically impregnable valley. There she found the castle ruins covered with wild tulips and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Elbruz Mountains, and charted the first accurate maps of the region.
Stark also used her charm and her understanding of Persian ways to infiltrate Luristan, a dangerous and forbidden place where she hunted for Neolithic Bronzes (by persuading the Chief of Police to help her loot graves) and searched for buried treasure. The Lurs, a mountainous tribe, were infamous for murder and thievery, but she found them "as cheerful a lot of villains as you can wish to meet, and delighted with us for being, as they said, brave enough to come among them".The Lurs were consistently generous hosts, but thought nothing of raiding her luggage while she slept (stealing being their national pastime and hence nothing to get upset about). While Stark began as an obscure and idiosyncratic adventurer, she was ultimately backed by the Royal Geographic Society, considered one of the best adventure writers of the century, and even knighted by the Queen of England. With her lively voice and natural perceptiveness she painted a picture of a fascinating world inhabited by charming bandits and armed tribesman now largely gone. While she did it for her own pleasure, in the end, the pleasure is ours.--Lesley ReedReview:
Freya Stark writes angelically in the great tradition of Charles Doughty and T. E. Lawrence. The pulse quickens as you read, because she can bring the sights and sounds of incredible countries before you in the twinkling of an eye. --New York Times Book Review
The Valleys of the Assassins remains a wonderful description of a people and a place, altered today by Progress, perhaps, but through Freya Stark's eyes still alive with bandits, dervishes, idol worshippers, armed tribesmen, and mountain scenery of great beauty --From the Introduction by Jane Fletcher Geniesse
Stark is constantly alive to her immediate surroundings: indeed, what gives her work its extraordinary depth and power is just this ability to focus past and present... stereoscopically, in a single image. --Times Literary Supplement
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