Saturday, September 26, 2015
Last week I visited Jyväskylä in central Finland for business. The day was pretty much a disaster otherwise, but I did stumble into the local old book store, Päijänne Antikvariaatti. They had a decent collection of Asia-related books. Many titles I already had, but quite a few were new to me. Above is the catch of the day. From left to right:
Suomalaiset Aasian-kävijät (Finnish travelers in Asia), by Kerkko Hakulinen and Olavi Heikkinen (editors), 1980.
The Great Himalayan Passage - Adventure Extraordinary, by Michel Peissel, 1974 (the Finnish edition).
The Timely Rain, by Stuart and Roma Gelder, 1964 (this Finnish edition from 1965)
A Person from England and other travellers, by Fitzroy MacLean, 1958 (German edition).
I started reading the first one: Several authors write about seven Finnish orientalists, explorers and military spies. One of the authors, incidentally, is Harry Halen, a former amanuensis of my Alma Mater, the Department of Asian and African Languages and Cultures at the University of Helsinki, writing on the epic 10000 km horse-back ride through central Asia and China of C.G. Mannerheim, Finnish military commander during World War II and former president.
The other passages in the book describe the lives of M.A. Castren, an ethnologist who traveled for years in Siberia, researching the lives of fenno-ugric tribes, G.A. Wallin, great traveler of Arabia, A,E, Nordenskiöld, the mariner-explorer, who opened up the Northeast Passage, J.G. Granö, geographer, who roamed Siberia, Mongolia and Japan, G.J. Ramstedt, first ambassador of Finland to Japan and former ethnologist and explorer of Mongolia and Sakari Pälsi, who followed Ramstedt to Mongolia and also spent time in Siberia.
The book is concise, just under 150 pages, with illustrations. Very happy with this one, if you're Finnish and like histories of exploration, get your hands on a copy.
The other books I have not yet opened. Michel Peissel is usually always interesting. The Gelders' book about Tibet I have no clue about, but will let you know after I finish it. Maclean is a former British diplomat who was the inspiration for James Bond, so I have high hopes for this one.