Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

TRAVELS IN A DERVISH CLOAK by Isambard Wilkinson

  • Written by  Kit Gillet
  • Published in Books
TRAVELS IN A DERVISH CLOAK by Isambard Wilkinson
18 Oct
2017
When Wilkinson set off to become the Telegraph’s Islamabad correspondent in 2006, the War on Terror was in full swing and Pakistan was caught up in the new, post-9/11 world

Three years later, when he packed his bags to leave, the country had gone through assassinations, terrorist attacks and political upheaval. In the intervening years Wilkinson wandered the humid terrain, trying to get under the skin of a nation that few visit and even fewer understand.

Travels in a Dervish Cloak is an evocative portrait of Pakistan. Through Wilkinson’s eyes we experience the stifling heat, the chaotic streets, and a host of wild and improbable characters. In congested cities we see the clashes between conservative elements of society and those with more liberal, Western leanings, while in rural areas we see another side: ‘with each mile the government’s control became weaker as the voluminous turbans, black beards and Kalashnikovs... became more prevalent.’

This is predominantly a series of standalone chapters; scenes that when pieced together create a rich tapestry of modern Pakistan. Wilkinson spends time with enticing women and corrupt officials, holy men and militant tribal leaders. In one memorable scene he travels far into guerrilla territory to spend several days holed up in mountain caves with an 80-year-old tribal leader, who his peers say would have ‘rivalled Tamerlane for blood and slaughter’ had he been born in another era. A few months later the leader is killed in a shoot-out with government forces.

Wilkinson has a flair for descriptions, and the Pakistan that comes through the pages of the book is a world of vivid smells, sounds and colours, along with clashes of cultures and intense traditions. It’s a fitting and evocative look at the country.

Click here to purchase Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson via Amazon

red line

NEVER MISS A STORY

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our free weekly newsletter!

red line

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The green dragon awakens
    China has achieved remarkable economic success following the principle of developing first and cleaning up later. But now the country with the world's...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Exhibitions

It’s hard to imagine life without the visual world upfront…

Books

by Patrick Winn • Icon Books • £14.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mark Nelson • UA Press • £21.99 (paperback)

Books

by Ed Douglas and John Beatty • Vertebrate Publishing •…

Books

by Tristan Gooley • Sceptre Books • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Weymouth • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by David Runciman • Profile Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Films

Blockbuster dinosaur sequel asks probing questions about humans’ ethical responsibilities…

Films

Are kangaroos a great icon for Australia? Or a natural…

Exhibitions

New exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery by photojournalist Lizzie Sadin,…

Books

by Tim Marshall • Elliott & Thompson • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Inara Verzemnieks • Pushkin Press • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Andy Kirkpatrick • Vertebrate Publishing • £24 (hardback)

Books

edited by Paul Hawken • Penguin • £16.99 (paperback)

Books

by William Frame and Laura Walker •British Library Publishing • £40…

Books

by Tom Young • Oneworld • £12.99 (hardback)

Exhibitions

An up-market Chinese-art gallery in Mayfair is trying something new,…

Exhibitions

A colourful vision of saddle-billed storks collects the top prize…

Exhibitions

To reflect the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage…

Exhibitions

From 18-22 July, photography tour company Light and Land will…