Newby, Eric 1919-2006 (George Eric Newby)

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Newby, Eric 1919-2006 (George Eric Newby)


See index for CA sketch: Born December 6, 1919, in London, England; died October 20, 2006, near Guildford, England. Newby was a popular travel writer best known for his book A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. As a child, he was enthralled by the stories his father told him about British explorers, and this inspired his later wanderlust. Newby left school at the age of sixteen and worked at an advertising agency. However, the career was unsatisfying and he longed for the adventure of travel. He quit his job and worked on the Finnish grain ship Moshulu from 1938 to 1939 before enlisting in the British army. During World War II, he was captured by the Italian army. A young woman helped him escape his prison camp in Sicily, but he was later recaptured and spent the rest of the war in camps in Germany and Czechoslovakia. Newby never forgot his rescuer, Wanda, and after the war he tracked her down and they were married. To support his family, he worked as a manager for the garment company Worth-Paquin for ten years. He quit this job in 1956, however, to go on his adventure in Afghanistan. Newby was possessed by the urge to climb the 20,000-foot peak Mir Samir, and he traveled to Afghanistan with no previous experience in mountain climbing. He failed to reach the top of the mountain, but his humorous, self-effacing account would become the memorable travel book A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958). Returning home, Newby worked for publisher Secker & Warburg for a year and then was a buyer for the dress company John Lewis Partnership from 1959 to 1963. Travel would become his life-long passion. He would embark on many other trips around the world, often accompanied by his wife, and write about them with characteristic good humor. Among these titles are Slowly down the Ganges (1966), The Big Red Train Ride (1978), On the Shores of the Mediterranean (1984), and A Merry Dance around the World: The Best of Eric Newby (1995). His last books include Departures and Arrivals (1999), Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice in the Last of the Windjammers (1999), Around the World in Eighty Years (2000), and Books of Lands and Peoples (2003). Also a former editor for the London Observer from 1964 to 1973, Newby recalled his wartime love story in his 1971 memoir, Love and War in the Apennines. The memoir, released in the Unites States as When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away, was made into a CBS television movie in 2001.



Newby, Eric When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away, Scribner (New York, NY), 1971.


Chicago Tribune, October 24, 2006, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2006, p. B9.

New York Times, October 24, 2006, p. A27.

Times (London, England), October 23, 2006, p. 50.

Washington Post, October 26, 2006, p. B8.

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Newby, Eric 1919-2006 (George Eric Newby)

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