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The Flying Carpet: Adventures in a Biplane from Timbuktu to Everest and Beyond

The Flying Carpet: Adventures in a Biplane from Timbuktu to Everest and Beyond
Richard Halliburton

Foreword by: Tahir Shah

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'I've just given myself an airplane and I want you to fly us to all the outlandish places in the world, Turkey, Persia, Paris and - Pasadena. We're going to fly across deserts, over mountains, rescue imprisoned princesses and fight dragons. We must have the world. We can have the world!' Thirsting for a new adventure and announcing that 'an adventure not in the air is obsolete', Richard Halliburton hired pioneer aviator Moye Stephens in 1931 and fearlessly set out to circle the world in an open cockpit biplane optimistically named The Flying Carpet. For Halliburton it was the ultimate in romantic, risky exploration and was a means of seeing the world in a way that few had ever seen it before. True to form, his journey was breathtakingly audacious. They performed aerobatics in Fez, landed in mysterious Timbuktu, spent time with the French Foreign Legion in Algeria and explored Cairo, Damascus and Petra. In Iran, they met legendary aviatrix Ella Beinhorn and gave Princess Mahin Banu a ride. In Iraq, it was the turn of King Faisal's young son, Ghazi, who was escorted by two RAF fighter planes.

In India, they flew over the Taj Mahal - upside down - and, soaring over the Himalayas, Halliburton took the first aerial photograph of Everest. In Borneo they were entertained by Sylvia Brooke, the 'White Queen of Borneo', and by the chief of the Iban Dyak headhunters, who gave them dozens of shrunken heads. A journey as dazzling as Halliburton himself and, with the world at war less than a decade later, marking the end of an era, the story of The Flying Carpet is as captivating today as it was to the world 80 years ago.

Author Info

Richard Halliburton (1900-1939) was America's great adventurer and one of the most successful adventure travel writers of the 20th century. Through a life spent chasing horizons and concocting ever more daring schemes - from swimming the length of the Panama Canal to flying around the world in an open cockpit plane or crossing the Alps on an elephant - Halliburton dazzled the western world. His final adventure, sailing a junk across the Pacific, was also his last. Halliburton disappeared in March 1939 and was never seen again. His wild adventures live on in the books that have captivated millions of readers and inspired generations of writers.


'Halliburton made me lustfully aware that the world was very big and very old; that its seeable wonders and its learnable stories were innumerable; and that I might see these wonders myself and learn the stories attached to them.'
Susan Sontag

'Richard Halliburton did more than most to give travel writing its reputation as a dream job.'
Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

'Richard Halliburton was a man who grasped the pulse of the time better than almost anyone else alive.'
Tahir Shah

'From the Jazz Age through the Great Depression to thge eve of World War II, he thrilled an entire generation of readers.'
James O'Reilly

'He swam the Hellespont and crossed the Alps on an elephant. So what reader could resist an invitation to travel the world with Richard Halliburton?'
David Shariatmadari, Guardian


Read an extract from the book where soaring over the Himalayas, Halliburton took the first aerial photograph of Everest.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: Tauris Parke Paperbacks
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781848859142
Publication Date: 29 Oct 2011
Number of Pages: 264

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