The Last Overland

The Last Overland

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Singapore to London : The Return Journey of the Iconic Land Rover Expedition (with a foreword by Tim Slessor)

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Review by Steve (retired Booksellers); I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 
In 1955 six adventurist’s set off to drive from London to Singapore, in two brand new Series 1 Land Rovers.  This book is about the return trip made in 2019, the aim to drive one of the original vehicles now 60 years old back from Singapore to London.

Alex Bescoby, an adventurer and documentary maker, hatched a plan to complete that first journey by driving the return trip from Singapore to London in one of the original Land Rovers with 86-year-old, Tim Slessor, one of the original First Overlanders.

His use of Slessor’s account of the original expedition adds nuance, contrasting the world of 1955 with the one we know today. “We’re safer than the First Overlanders,’” says one of the party, as they cross another Central Asian autocracy, “but much less free.”  The world has since changed dramatically politically.
In a vehicle that had no power steering, power brakes, cruise control, comfortable seating, etc, makes driving challenging.

Bescoby is a likeable travelling companion and able storyteller, distilling the histories and current affairs of a range of nations in a concise, even-handed way while striking the right balance between what goes on inside the expedition vehicles and what happens outside. 
This is a thrilling true story that will appeal to all that enjoy travel and adventure, it is irresistible reading.

Karen read & reviewed (Retired Bookseller) I loved this amazing, exciting & mad Landrover Overland adventure.  It is packed full of lively, fascinating accounts of travel, people, places, countries, history & the authors very personal thoughts & experiences.

Great writing with plenty of real danger, extreme weather, fustrations, beauty, humor, amazing team work, breakdowns, repairs & of course Landrovers, including the very special, one & only Oxford.

An uplifting, delightful read.  A great gift or treat yourself - you'll be glad you did.

In 1955, a young TV producer named David Attenborough was approached by six recent graduates from Oxford and Cambridge universities determined to drive the entire length of Eurasia, as it was then known, from London to Singapore. It was the 'unclimbed Everest of motoring' - many had tried, none had succeeded. Sensing this time might be different, Attenborough gave The Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition enough film reel to cover their attempt. The 19,000-mile journey completed by Tim Slessor and the team was told in Attenborough's Travellers' Tales, and captivated a nation emerging from postwar austerity. Tim's book, The First Overland, was published shortly after and soon became the Bible of the overlanding religion.

Inspired by Attenborough's comment fifty years on that it was a journey 'that I don't think could be made again today', Alex made contact with now eighty-six-year-old Tim and together they planned an epic recreation of the original trip, this time from Singapore to London. With their improbable team and the prospect of getting the original 'Oxford' - arguably the world's most famous Land Rover - home to London, their goal was to complete the heroic journey started more than sixty years earlier.

In awe of the unstoppable Tim, and haunted by his own grandfather's deterioration due to tragedy and then dementia, Alex soon finds himself on the defining trip of his lifetime and discovers how the world has changed for better, and for worse, since the First Overland.

Travel & Adventure


Alex Bescoby

304 pages

H: 234mm W: 23mm Spine: 23mm

Weight: 425 grams