The Brahmaputra is one of the world's great rivers. Beginning as a tiny glacial stream in Western Tibet it flows through India and Bangladesh before gushing out into the Bay of Bengal.
Unable to reach the northern part of the river due to Chinese intransigence, Mark Shand nonetheless set out to attempt what no foreigner had ever done: complete the huge journey from the unexplored jungles of the Indo-Tibet border to the largest river delta in the world.
RIVER DOG is a chronicle of that journey, a remarkable story encompassing sublime landscapes - in Assam where the River begins to broaden into its full majesty - and rather odd encounters - including a bizarre group of identical-looking monks in Majuli (the largest river island in the world). But it is also a celebration of a river that flows with mystery and legend, the men who have set out to discover it and a rather charming canine travelling companion called Bhaiti.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Mark Shand has worked at Sotheby's and as a jackaroo in Australia, has completed the London-Sydney motor-race and been shipwrecked in the South Pacific. In 1991 he received the accolade Travel Writer of the Year at the British Book Awards for TRAVELS ON MY ELEPHANT.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for 'River Dog' as the Brahmaputra is a unique wonder of a river, but this is more of a personal diary than a travel log. We get to know a bit about the adventurous Mr. Shands and his new dog Bhaiti. Hints of the troubled history of India's eastern states peek through, but there's disappointingly little that describes the role the river played. And Mr. Shands is admittedly not taken with Bangladesh, so while it's almost half of the distance he traveled, the Bangladesh part of his journey gets about 10% of the pages. It's not a waste of time, though. It's a fast read and it opened my eyes to this incredible river. The first part of his adventure as he joins a hunt for Shangri La is edgy and exciting, and we get a great feel for the roots of this river at the top of the world. But after that we need to wade through altogether too much material about his new pooch. Clearly, the dog had a great time on this trip. As for us, we do get glimpses of the river and snippets of quotes from some early British explorers. And we have several detailed descriptions on how to deal with government administrators. But while we learn that eastern India is adisputed area, we don't get a lot of insight beyond that. He mentions in passing, for example, that the Chinese army had made its way far into what is now India. This must have some kind of residual impact on the people who live there now. But we wouldn't know that through this work. We also get bits of Hindu culture that flow throughout as he occasionally mentions a religious foundation to what is driving actions for his fellow travelers and himself. It's hard to tell for this novice, though, how much of this is real and how much is just for fun. When he, for example, encourages his friend to help him find a pet by envoking a heritage of dog worship. Sure this was funny. But it's hard to tell if there was any real foundation. So River Dog is a fun fast read, and it relays a touch of cultural insight while you learn a bit about this incredible river as it roams through eastern India. Just don't pick it up if you're looking to learn anything about Bangladesh.