An Incredible Journey: The lost world of the 1930s circled by two men in one small car

An Incredible Journey: The lost world of the 1930s circled by two men in one small car


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, January 24

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781787111653
Publisher: Veloce Publishing
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Maximilian Felix Gottfried Reisch (1912-1985) made his first pioneering long-distance journey when he was still a 20-year-old student in Vienna in 1933. Together with fellow-student Herbert Tichy on pillion, he rode a 250cc Puch light motorcycle from Vienna to Bombay, crossing Iraq, Iran and Baluchistan (as documented in his book India - The Shimmering Dream). In another break from his studies in 1935, Reisch undertook a motorcar expedition into Asia which became the round-the-world trip documented in this book. In WWII he served as a vehicle maintenance officer with Rommel in North Africa (which he later wrote about in Out of the Rat Trap). After the war, Reisch worked in the family wholesale grocery business, but by the 195’s he was again pushing back the boundaries of motor travel, using vehicles off the production line, which he converted to his own specifications. Many of his journeys were to the Middle East and the desert regions, which so attracted him. Keen to pass on the excitement of travel to the younger generation, he wrote up his adventures in a racy personal style which in no way obscures the carefully recorded details of the world he knew.

The book’s translator, Alison Falls, grew up in rural Herefordshire where her father was a general practitioner. A keen motorcyclist, he introduced each of his three children to motorcycles as early as possible, thus encouraging a love of independent travel. Alison studied modern languages at Newnham College, Cambridge and subsequently taught French and German. When her brother came across the story of Max Reisch and the journey by light motorcycle to India in 1933, she was able to translate it for him and in the process developed an enthusiasm for all Reisch’s books, including this four-wheel adventure.


Peter Reisch is the son of author Max Reisch and manages the photographic, vehicle and antiquities collection of the  Reisch-Orient-Archive.

Table of Contents

The lost world of the 1930s circled by two men in one small car

Prefaces 6

Chapter 1 Bitter pills, new plans 9

Examination pressure

A new project

The chairman makes a proposa19

Chapter 2 Four wheels 12

Learning to drive

Finding the co-driver

Helmuth Halmann

Bodywork to my own design

A quantity of luggage

Chapter 3 The oil road to Baghdad 23

By the Dead Sea

Guests of the Iraq Petroleum Company

A desert party in H2

Chapter 4 The lizard hunt 30

Temptations in Baghdad

Remodelling the car

Hunters and hunted

Stuck in the sand

A nod in the right direction

Chapter 5 Where the dead crowd close to Allah 35

A trip to An Najaf

City of the dead: wet and dry corpses

Familiar tunes

A serious injury: my lucky star High roads to Persia

Chapter 6 Dust to dust 41

The tomb of Omar Khayyam

Awkward guests

Persia's poet: Firdowsi

Chapter 7 Foreign devils 46

Eastern Persia: underground villages

Mashhhad: the dangers of photography

Helmuth in jail

An unwise jest

Chapter 8 Urlajat 55

A visa for Afghanistan

At the customs post: rough companions and a friendly host

The rules of hospitality

Confusing coinage

Afghan transport

Chapter 9 Hungarian Afghans, Bavarian Afghans 60

Among the harvesters


Six-legged donkeys

Robbers in chains

An engineer from Budapest

No salami

Numskull understands

Chapter 10 Closer to India 76

Along the Northwest Frontier

From Kabul to the ruins of Bamiyan

A permit for the Khyber Pass

In the British fort

Curfew at Peshawar

A film location

Cholera inoculations

In the Bibi bazaar

Chapter 11 Kashmir 81

In Alexander's footsteps

A houseboat in Srinagar

The ascent to Amarnath tent camp

The pilgrims of Shiva

Chapter 12 End of the first stage 86

Monsoon rains

We rescue the German consul

Return to Vaikunth - European drinking habits

The plight of the half-caste

A lecture in the Hindu University of Lucknow

Chapter 13 The land of the smiling Buddha 100

The trouble with travelers

Land of smiles

The Buddha of Pegu

A missionary priest

We collide with a vulture

Benighted in the Burmese jungle

Chapter 14 The Agency comes to call 111

With the Burmah Oil Company

Temporary marriages

No room in the car

Chapter 15 Deep in the jungle 115

Beyond Mandalay

Into the Golden triangle

Burmese hospitality

The versatile bamboo

The Dak bungalow

Chapter 16 Folk festival at Inle lake 119

The leg-rowers of Inle

Strange adornments: Red Kareni and Padaung women

Concepts of time

Chapter 17 Special delivery 123

Letters for Keng-Tung

An improvised dictionary

By cart trail to Thailand

A night by the river

Crossing the Salween

Rescued from a torrent

Up to the axles in mud

Fever The 'wanted poster'

Chapter 18 Dead prince and living prince 132

The Sawbwa of Keng-Tung

Tung oil

Hauled by an elephant

Chapter 19 Honour the yellow robe 136

Rainy season in Kcng-Tung

How to smoke opium - Helmuth's holiday: a Buddhist monastery and a night-time festival

Tauma Tillcc and the typewriter

Chapter 20 Laughing with Simba 144

Half a bridge to Siam


Simba's rattletrap

A skilled driver

The differential breaks

Chapter 21 Two motorcycle fiends 161

Borrowing a BSA

A boxing match

The car is dismantled

By boat down the Mekong - Into Laos

The French customs officer

Chapter 22 Success at last 166


Unloaded by convicts

A parcel from Austria

Modified rapture

The car is rebuilt

The golden Buddha

Pioneers of Route Coloniale Numéro Sept

Late for dinner

We reach Hanoi

Chapter 23 Held up in Hanoi 180

The ball-bearing visa

A rail excursion to Yunnan-fu

The Michelin Railcar

How to get to China

Misleading maps

Sounds of gunfire

Back to Hanoi

The effects of damp

Over the Red River Into China with the French consul

Chapter 24 Old Mr Lai Shi 187

An arms dealer in Nan-ning

A tooth extraction

The comforts of rice wine

Presenting ourselves in China

Hot wheels to Liu-chou

The advantages of Latin

Chapter 25 Motor car versus evil spirits 193

Life is cheap

Proper terms of address

The effects of a full beard

Behaviour of pedestrians explained

Chapter 26 In China it's different 197

A hazardous river-crossing

An invasion of evil spirits

Franciscans from South Tyrol

A roast dinner

The first car in Chî-Yang

Chapter 27 A war zone 203

Crossing the Hsiang-Kiang

Germans in Chang-sha

The boat not taken

Encounter with an army

Driving through road-blocks

An opium war

Chapter 28 What Marco Polo saw 225

King-te-chen: town of porcelain

Beauties of Haugchow

Chapter 29 Shanghai 228

Driving on the Bund

Signing chits

The international press

The high life of Shanghai

Sacrifice of the beard

Chapter 30 Problems for the foreign visitor 233

Crossing to Japan

Customs hold-up in Nagasaki

A traditional guest-house

Dangers of the bath


A driving test and a vehicle check

Permission to travel

We break a record

Chapter 31 'Yuku michi' in the land of delights 243

Landscapes of Hondo

The island of temples An American tourist

The year of flowers

Poor state of the roads

Politeness of drivers

No motoring atlas Place names

A helpful lorry driver Streetlighting

Chapter 32 The long goodbye 249

The volcano Aso-san

Repeated interrogations

View of Mount Fuji

Rucksacku rucksacku

Raincd off

Meeting with a film director

A mention in the newspapers

An excursion by train

We sail for America

Chapter 33 Crossing America 255

Entry formalities in Seattle

With Charlie to Mount Rainier

A forest fire

A ski pro in Yosemite

Death Valley

Chapter 34 The collector 269

The Greyhound buses

On show in Dallas

A tempting offer 269

Chapter 35 Mexico to Salzburg: disaster strikes! 272

Breakdown in Mexico

The technical genius of Mr Blair

Forty hours at the wheel

With Ford in Detroit

Washington and New York

We sail on the Bremen

A leathery tan

A dramatic ending

Chapter 36 Epilogue: the story continues 277

The survival of the Steyr 100 and its post-war career

A word from the author's son

Appendix 278

Index 287

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews