The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal
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First edition, stated; first printing, full number line. Dated, inscribed, and signed by the author on the title page: "8-24-05 / To my dear pal F-- / What another great gift Ruth Harkness has given me--you. Thank you for coming and re-connecting.-- / Love, Vicki." Harkness is the lady of the title, a Manhattan bohemian socialite turned adventurer who trekked to Tibet in the mid-1930s. Book is slightly cocked; unmarked; corners sharp, spine ends bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $25.95; front flap creased; edgewear; small bleeding stain at top of spine. Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 002379
About this title:
Ruth was the toast of 1930s New York, a dress designer newly married to a wealthy adventurer, Bill Harkness. Just weeks after their wedding, however, Bill decamped for China in hopes of becoming the first Westerner to capture a giant panda?an expedition on which many had embarked and failed miserably. Bill was also to fail in his quest, dying horribly alone in China and leaving his widow heartbroken and adrift. And so Ruth made the fateful decision to adopt her husband?s dream as her own and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.
It was not easy. Indeed, everything was against Ruth Harkness. In decadent Shanghai, the exclusive fraternity of white male explorers patronized her, scorned her, and joked about her softness, her lack of experience and money. But Ruth ignored them, organizing, outfitting, and leading a bare-bones campaign into the majestic but treacherous hinterlands where China borders Tibet. As her partner she chose Quentin Young, a twenty-two-year-old Chinese explorer as unconventional as she was, who would join her in a romance as torrid as it was taboo.
Traveling across some of the toughest terrain in the world?nearly impenetrable bamboo forests, slick and perilous mountain slopes, and boulder-strewn passages?the team raced against a traitorous rival, and was constantly threatened by hordes of bandits and hostile natives. The voyage took months to complete and cost Ruth everything she had. But when, almost miraculously, she returned from her journey with a baby panda named Su Lin in her arms, the story became an international sensation and made the front pages of newspapers around the world. No animal in history had gotten such attention. And Ruth Harkness became a hero.
Drawing extensively on American and Chinese sources, including diaries, scores of interviews, and previously unseen intimate letters from Ruth Harkness, Vicki Constantine Croke has fashioned a captivating and richly textured narrative about a woman ahead of her time. Part Myrna Loy, part Jane Goodall, by turns wisecracking and poetic, practical and spiritual, Ruth Harkness is a trailblazing figure. And her story makes for an unforgettable, deeply moving adventure.
Title: The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures ...
Publisher: Random House, New York
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Very Good +
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition.
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