Book Review: ‘Tales From The Himalaya’ By Henry Edmundson (ISBN 9789937933032) £34.99 [PB]

One of the most comprehensive books on the Himalayan mountain range on the market, Henry Edmundson’s Tales from the Himalaya was published by Vajra Books in June 2019. It provides readers with an in-depth look at the religious, scientific, political and cultural aspects affecting the region, from the perspective of a seasoned mountaineer.

What’s ‘Tales From The Himalaya’ About?

Henry Edmundson has spent many years of his life getting to know the Himalayan region, both by climbing its majestic mountains and by studying the area’s history and culture. His remarkable new guide to the area, Tales from the Himalaya, is divided into four sections, each of which considers the region from a different angle.

Firstly, the author investigates religion, telling the tale of Tibetan Buddhism and its impact on the area. Secondly, he examines the mountains from a scientific point of view, discussing the efforts made by experts to understand how they were formed and the fact that earthquakes pose a constant threat.

In the third section, Edmundson talks about how the political situation in the region has changed throughout history. He details how the area fared under the British Raj, for example, as well as how it was affected by the Chinese takeover of Tibet. In the final section, ‘Society’, he discusses rural life in the Himalayan foothills, focussing on the challenges that those living and working there have faced over the years.

Featuring 171 stunning illustrations, including both modern and archival photographs, as well as 11 detailed maps of the area, this fascinating work will delight readers everywhere. A blend of reference book and travel guide, it boasts an extensive bibliography.

The Himalayan Journal 2019 released a glowing review, of which we provide a short excerpt:

‘With remarkable pictures, illustrations and maps, Henry Edmundson has brought to life each of these stories [religion, science, politics, society]. The gripping accounts, his insight and depth while presenting an understanding of the entire Himalayan region is unique and outstanding. This book is a rare combination of history, geography, society and politics that can cater to a wide range of audience.’

You can check out more reviews of this incredible release on the title’s official website here, but here are some choice quotes that I think perfectly capture what this book truly means to us:

‘A tour de force if ever there was one! Wide-ranging doesn’t even start to describe the book! It is wonderfully well produced, and the great photos and images add so much. Many congratulations! It deserves to be very widely read.’

General Sir Sam Cowan, Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas, author of “Essays on Nepal”

‘Edmundson has set himself a wonderful canvas. Tales from the Himalaya recounts gripping episodes whose political fallout continues and will affect the region for the foreseeable future. This is a timely book. The author brings to the subject a unique perspective as both explorer and analyst.’

Suman Dubey, former editor of Indian Express, managing editor of India Today and one-time media advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Who Is The Book Written For?

Mountaineers, trekkers, travel lovers, and geography buffs will all adore Tales from the Himalaya. If you’ve never been lucky enough to visit the region, Edmundson’s work may well inspire you to book a trip. Those who’ve already experienced what the Himalayas have to offer, meanwhile, will be able to remind themselves about their journeys while learning more about the awe-inspiring mountain range. This book will also appeal to history fans, those seeking to gain an understanding of other cultures, and anyone who loves photography.

As the Nepali Times recently stated, ‘’Edmundson has put a huge amount of work into this book, in terms of research, gathering illustrations and maps, and the sheer exertion of undertaking trips across some of the most arduous terrain on Earth.’

The review sums up our feelings quite succinctly with its opening line: ‘If there is one book you must set aside, either for new year holiday reading or as a Christmas gift to a fellow traveller, it would be Tales from the Himalaya’.

About Henry Edmundson

Edmundson is a member of the Himalayan Club. He has trekked and climbed the Nepalese, Bhutanese and Indian Himalayas, as well as other well-known mountain ranges. Tales from the Himalaya is his second published work of non-fiction.

How To Purchase

You can purchase trade copies of Tales from the Himalaya from Motilal, at attractive prices on sale-or-return. Please get in touch to find out more.