'The soldier, mystic and explorer Francis Younghusband, who fulfilled the romantic dreams of the late British Empire, was once as legendary a figure as Lawrence of Arabia. He lives again most vividly and entertainingly in this remarkable book. ' Michael HolroydIn this travelling biography, Patrick French tells the story of the man who held the world record for the 300-yard dash, discovered a new overland route from China to India, and organized the early assaults on Mount Everest. In 1904 it was Francis Younghusband who single-handedly turned a small diplomatic mission into a full-scale military invasion of the last unexplored country on earth: Tibet. Younghusband spent much of his early life as a leading player in the Great Game -- the battle of wits over the uncharted territory of High Asia -- and his presumed death as a spy in the Pamirs almost sparked off a war between British India and Tsarist Russia. But despite being a classic Edwardian, full of pomposity and repression, in the post-First World War era, he led the way in outlandish, mystical philosophical and sexual free-thinking.
Winner of Somerset Maugham Award 1995.
Patrick French's first book, Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer, won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize. For his second, Liberty or Death: India's Journey to Independence and Division, he was named the 1998 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Patrick French is a director of Free Tibet campaign, and a former editor of Tibet News.