Isabella Bird was a woman of remarkable gifts. In 1872, at the age of forty, this rather earnest daughter of a country parson abandoned the rectory nest and began her pioneering journeys to some of the most inhospitable corners of the world. Undismayed by discomfort or danger she was to spend almost thirty years travelling - to the Rocky Mountains, the Sandwich Isles, to Japan, Malaya, Kashmir and Tibet, to Persia, Korea and China - where an indomitable spirit, an unassuming cordiality and, above all, a limitless capacity for being interested won her universal welcome. Her accounts of her experiences became best-selling books and established for Isabella Bird a reputation as one of the great travel writers of her day. "Miss Barr has her measure. She and Miss Bird are well suited. The style of both is fresh, energetic, visual, making an enchanting book". ("Evening Standard"). "Rich and riotous as her intrepid heroine moves at the speed of a silent movie through landscapes lusher than any technicolour". ("Times Literary Supplement"). "A rare book". ("Sunday Telegraph").