Robyn Davidson explores yet another foreign country – the past

Robyn Davidson never set out to become a writer. ‘It did not form my identity,’ she tells us early on in her memoir Unfinished Woman. ‘In my own mind I had simply pulled another rabbit out of a hat. As I had done all my life with everything.’ The rabbit, in this case, is the ability to capture an exciting and complex life with insight and humour. When she decided to leave the underworld, she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint Born in 1950 on a cattle station in Queensland, Australia, Davidson was the second daughter of a handsome war hero from a privileged background. Home was a place full of

Meet climber, photographer and filmmaker extraordinaire Jimmy Chin

‘Why did you want to climb Everest?’ reporters quizzed mountaineer George Mallory in 1922. That the question even needed asking shows mountaineering is fundamentally different from other pursuits. No journalist would ever ask a footballer why they kick a ball around. But mountaineering is gruelling and you’re way more likely to perish from it than to make a fortune. So why would anyone climb any mountain, let alone Everest? Mallory’s rationale was short and sweet: ‘Because it’s there.’ And what about Jimmy Chin? Why does he climb? Chin, 48, is part Bear Grylls, part David Attenborough. He has not only climbed snow, ice and rock terrain on all seven continents,

China is testing the limits of India – and the world

When the Chinese Central Military Commission drew up plans for a ‘war of extermination’ which would ‘gnaw the flesh off the bones’ of Indian forces in the Himalayas in 1962, China’s leaders believed that they were solving a problem. ‘It was India,’ as vice minister Zhang Hanfu said to the Soviet ambassador at the time, ‘that rejected peace talks to solve the Sino-Indian border issue, while China consistently adhered to a peaceful solution.’ And so the China-India Border War began, with Chinese troops sweeping through the disputed Himalayan territories, driving Indian soldiers from their positions. To China’s Communist party, military victory meant that India and China would soon be friends.