[CENTRAL ASIA / RUSSIA / THE GREAT GAME] Musavver Hive seyahatnamesi ve tarihi. Translated by Ahmed Sükrü

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MAGEMAN, AMERIKALI (J[ANUARIUS] A[LOYSIUS] MAC GAHAN), (1844-1878), Basiret Matbaasi, Istanbul (Constantinople), [AH 1292] = 1875.

Original quarter black leather. Ottoman title-lettered gilt on the spine with decorative elements in compartments. Demy 8vo. (22 x 14 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). 459 p., 32 woodcut plates with tissue papers and a folding color map of Khiva calligraphed by Mehmed Vasfi. AH 1292 = Gregorian: 1875.

Extremely rare first Turkish edition of this richly illustrated eye-witness travel account of the 1873 Russo-Khivan war and the fall of the Khivan Khanate, by the American war correspondent MacGahan (1844-1878), which was first published in New York in 1874 as "Campaigning on the Oxus and the fall of Khiva", translated by Ahmed Sükrü (?-1876-77) who was the first Postmaster General.

After a daring journey through the Kyzil Kum desert, McGahan joined von Kaufmann's army on the banks of the Amu-Darya, shortly before the fall of Khiva. Interesting and lively report with a description of Kazakh- (systematically called "Kirghiz", following the confusing habit of Russian historians) and Yomud Turkmen nomads, as well as of the settled Uzbek, Sart - and enslaved Persians of the Khanate. Probably one of the most complete and objective descriptions of the fall of the Khivan Khanate to three Russian columns which reach it from North and from East, after difficulties due to the climate and the huge distances. The young American makes many friends with Russian officers and gets a lot of information directly from the horse's mouth. There is also a well-documented report about previous Russian attempts to conquer Khiva, which all turned into disasters. The rather civilized behavior of the Russian army with the vanquished Khivans contrasts very much with their cruel and unfair treatment of the brave Yomud nomads, who offer only serious military opposition despite their heavy losses. The Khivan oasis is described as being very fertile and outstandingly well-cultivated. While Mac Gahan is impressed by the beautiful gardens and orchards of the Khanate, he is disappointed by the city of Khiva, the capital, the main residence of its ruler, and the second largest city of the Khanate. Even the Khan's palace (in which he is allowed to spend a few days by the Russian authorities) is disappointing. He visits the treasury room of the palace, in which the fleeing Khan left most of his possessions. He also left his whole harem behind, in his precipitous escape. The text is illustrated with numerous engravings from original designs and paintings by artists (and Russian officers), like Vereschagin and Feodoroff, and enriched with a great number of anecdotes. 

MacGahan was an American journalist and war correspondent working for the New York Herald and the London Daily News. His articles describing the massacre of Bulgarian civilians by Turkish soldiers and irregular volunteers in 1876 created public outrage in Europe and were a major factor in preventing Britain from supporting Turkey in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, which led to Bulgaria gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire. He learned in 1873 that Russia was planning to invade the khanate of Khiva, in Central Asia. Defying a Russian ban on foreign correspondents, he crossed the Kyzyl-Kum desert on horseback and witnessed the surrender of the city of Khiva to the Russian Army. There he met a Russian Lieutenant Colonel, Mikhail Skobelev, who later became famous as a Russian commander during the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78. In 1874 he spent ten months in Spain, covering the Third Carlist War. In 1875, he voyaged with British explorer Sir Allan William Young on his steam yacht HMS Pandora on an expedition to try to find the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The expedition got as far as Peel Sound in the Canadian Arctic before it met pack ice and was forced to return.

OCLC 1014870496.; Özege 7682.; Atabey 744 (Ed. in English).