New York: General Motors Export Co., .
6.5 x 8.75 inches, 30 pp, original stapled wrappers, with a map and many illustrations from photographs. Owner’s signature at bottom of title page, edgewear and a few short tears to wrappers; very good.
A lively account of Lowell Thomas’s journey through Afghanistan in a six-cylinder Buick specially outfitted to carry racks of photographic equipment and extra gasoline. On the final page, Thomas is quoted as declaring the Buick’s performance “one hundred percent perfect” throughout “one of the most remarkable feats of endurance ever accomplished by any motor car.” That said, the uncredited author is not overly concerned with the car (although there is a point where the vehicle is “wrenched, twisted, and shaken until it seemed it must break in two”), instead focusing on the more colorful details of Afghan life and scenery and the dangers encountered by travelers unprotected from “natives with accurate rifle-aim and sensitive trigger fingers,” who are “a bloodthirsty lot.” The party traveled over the Khyber Pass (then under British control), into Afghanistan, where they had been granted special permission by the Amir to make a documentary film. They visited Dekka, Jellalabad, and Kabul, and each place is described in some detail, as is their visit to the royal palace. They see “water-carriers, fakirs, hook-nosed money-lenders, coffee-sipping merchants,” and “wild tribesmen from every corner of Central Asia” who, although savage, had “a proud bearing and a self-respecting independence.” There are descriptions of exotic food and clothing, sandstorms, punishing heat, and perilous roads. The “pathetically secluded lives” and inferior treatment of women are noted with disapproval. Western prejudices notwithstanding, this is a very readable and interesting narrative. We locate just one copy in OCLC, at the Revs Institute in Florida.