The best books describing the Great Game

Riaz Dean Author Of Mapping the Great Game: Explorers, Spies and Maps in 19th-Century Asia
By Riaz Dean

The Books I Picked & Why

The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia

By Peter Hopkirk

The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia

Why this book?

This is one of the best popular history books describing the Great Game and is regularly referenced by later writers, including more serious works of history. Written in a truly engaging and exciting style by a former journalist turned accomplished author, it is also very thorough (562 pages) and covers the full historical spectrum as the game played itself out. It is a beautifully produced book with five hand-drawn maps and many illustrations and photographs.


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Playing the Great Game: A Victorian Cold War

By Michael Edwardes

Playing the Great Game: A Victorian Cold War

Why this book?

This is a shorter book by a well-established historian, who nevertheless writes in an accessible manner for the general reader. It is a good introductory text to the Great Game and contains a good map of the region and several illustrations and photographs.


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Anglo-Russian Rivalry in Central Asia 1810-1895

By Gerald Morgan

Anglo-Russian Rivalry in Central Asia 1810-1895

Why this book?

This is a medium-length book by another well-established historian, who writes in a reasonably accessible manner. His is a more in-depth treatment of the Great Game, aided by Geoffrey Wheeler, an expert on Central Asia, who wrote the book’s Epilogue. It contains three maps and appendices (but no illustrations).


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Kim (1901) by: Rudyard Kipling

By Rudyard Kipling

Kim (1901) by: Rudyard Kipling

Why this book?

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907, Kipling immortalized the phrase ‘the Great Game’ in what was a masterpiece of writing and surely one of the best-loved English language novels of all time. His fictional portrayal of the Great Game forever touched it with a flavor of imperial romance.


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Flashman

By George MacDonald Fraser

Flashman

Why this book?

This often-hilarious bestseller, which went on to spawn a dozen Flashman novels in total, is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It represents historical fiction at its best, covering the Great Game, the region (India and Central Asia), and the era (British Raj).


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