Epic stories of exploration and scientific discovery, power struggles, intrigue and political repression, mysteries unravelled and a rural society struggling to survive.

  • 432 pages
  • Paperback, 178 x 235 mm (7 x 9¼ inches)
  • Weight 1,380 g
  • 171 photos and illustrations in colour and monochrome
  • 11 maps
  • Extensive bibliography

“Special Mention”, the Kekoo Naoroji Book Award for Himalayan literature, 2019.

Published by Vajra Books. Every copy signed by the author.
ISBN 978-9937-9330-3-2
£ 14.99 + postage

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Tales from the Himalaya by Henry Edmundson

Tales from the Himalaya by Henry Edmundson


Who is this book for?
Who is this book for?


Tales from the Himalaya is fascinating reading for anyone captured by the allure of the high mountains, whether a first-time traveller to the Himalaya, a trekker, mountaineer, or someone with a more specialized interest in the region. You will love this book if you are:

  • visiting the Himalaya or dreaming of doing so
  • fascinated by Tibetan Buddhism and its history
  • intrigued by how the Himalayan peaks became the world’s highest
  • seeking to understand the complex political and social history of the Himalayan people

Really four books in one, Tales from the Himalaya is divided into four sections, each introduced by a prologue in which the author recounts one of the many treks and climbs he has made in the region during the last half century.

After over five decades of trekking and climbing in the Himalayan mountains, Henry is in a position of authority to mark the changes that have occurred over time and how people from various walks of life have been impacted by them… This book is a rare combination of history, geography, society and politics that can cater to a wide range of audience.

Tales from the Himalaya - reviews
Tales from the Himalaya - reviews


“This thoughtful and engaging book is an excellent introduction to the history of much of the Himalaya, but for those planning to visit the region, it should be essential reading. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with maps and photographs, both current and historic, paintings and illustrations, and geological cross-sections.

Edmundson divides his ‘Tales’ into four sections: religion, science, politics and society. Clever cross-referencing between these four themes provides links and continuity as the tales unfold in each section and also moments of ‘now I get it!’ for the reader.

There is an easy erudition to Edmundson’s writing. The first section of the book, ‘Religion: A Different Type of Reality’, provides the most readable primer on the complexities of Buddhism that I have found. Edmundson’s take on Buddhism (and to a lesser extent Hinduism) reveals a deep understanding and empathy. The history of Tibet and its religions are as entwined as the various strata of rocks that have created the Himalaya.

There is much more to this book than can possibly be covered in a review, but there is never a dull moment, nor a page without some new gem of discovery waiting. If you have any interest whatsoever in expanding your understanding of the Himalaya and its people, read this book before your next journey.”

John Porter
President of the Alpine Club, 2017-2019

“Edmundson has set himself a wonderful canvas. Tales from the Himalaya recounts gripping episodes whose political fallout continues and will affect the region for the foreseeable future. This is a timely book. The author brings to the subject a unique perspective as both explorer and analyst.”

Suman Dubey
Former editor of Indian Express, managing editor of India Today and one-time media advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“I have just finished reading your absolutely excellent book … it is worth every penny, over 400 pages with some lovely illustrations, excellent maps and photos–it is stuffed with information. It is beautifully organised, deeply researched and a lovely blend of your own personal experience of walking through the mountains with a profound knowledge of the region’s geology, history and culture. I cannot think of any recent book on the Himalayas from which I have learnt more.”

Alan Macfarlane
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Fellow of King’s College, University of Cambridge

“A tour de force if ever there was one! Wide-ranging doesn’t even start to describe the book! It is wonderfully well produced, and the great photos and images add so much. Many congratulations! It deserves to be very widely read.”

General Sir Sam Cowan
Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas, author of “Essays on Nepal”

A personal encyclopaedia of the Himalaya

“If there is one book you must set aside, either for new year holiday reading or as a Christmas gift to a fellow traveller, it would be Tales from the Himalaya by the British climber-turned-trekker Henry Edmundson, which has just been published by Vajra Books.

Edmundson was a boy when news came to his home in England that Hillary and Tenzing had climbed Mt Everest. His father, an outdoorsy type, immediately took the family out on a celebratory hike over the hills. Soon, Edmundson was devouring books on mountaineering and exploration …”
(Read more in the Nepali Times)

Kunda Dixit
Founder and managing editor of the Nepali Times

“Edmundson has picked a few of the most interesting episodes in Himalayan history, thoroughly researched them, and then woven them into a book of captivating interest. The scope is as wide as the Himalaya and the details equally fascinating. There are many climbing books, and many history books, but this is a rare combination. Tales from the Himalaya is not to be missed!”

Dan Jantzen
Former Nepal aid professional and Himalayan archivist.

Tales from the Himalaya is Henry Edmundson’s personal perspective of diverse aspects that impact life and living in this region. After over five decades of trekking and climbing in the Himalayan mountains, Henry is in a position of authority to mark the changes that have occurred over time and how people from various walks of life have been impacted by them. Having developed an affinity and understanding of the people he has interacted and associated with, Henry shows a deep insight into the cultural, religious, societal and political composition of the local inhabitants.

The book is categorised under the themes of religion, geological understanding, regional politics and societal constructs to highlight the life of people here. The impact of historical events has been analysed from the perspective of these four themes and how they shape and influence modern society in the Himalayas.

With remarkable pictures, illustrations and maps, Henry Edmundson has brought to life each of these stories. The gripping accounts, his insight and depth while presenting an understanding of the entire Himalayan region is unique and outstanding. This book is a rare combination of history, geography, society and politics that can cater to a wide range of audience.”

Smruthi Ranganthan
Himalayan Journal

“This excellent book is about people and peoples in and around the Himalaya. Dealing largely with Tibet and Nepal, it includes Bhutan, Sikkim, etc, as well. It is actually four books in one, covering the sub-title’s topics… and dealing in most detail with the people(s) involved. The treatment of the major topics in the book is such that all of it is fascinating; in addition to which it contains a large number of pictures. All of the latter are well reproduced, and almost all are good quality, many presented as impressive double-page spreads …”
(Read more in Geoscientist Online)

Jeremy Joseph
The Geological Society

‘Tales From the Himalaya’: Religion, Science, Politics & Society of World’s Highest Habitat Come Together in Uplifting New Book

“Inspired by a lifetime of climbing and exploring the Himalayas, Henry Edmundson’s ‘Tales from the Himalaya’ is vital reading for anyone who has visited the area, dreams of doing so or is simply fascinated by the people and culture that literally exist at the top of the world. Comprising 420 pages, 11 maps, 171 illustrations and an extended biography of the author, it’s a volume unlike anything else on the market. …”
(Read more in Boove)

Gabrielle Thompson

“Eating lunch in a remote lodge in Khumjung, Nepal in 2015, Henry Edmundson and his trekking companion experience a loud, violent and destructive earthquake. Such is the crucible of the science section of his Tales from the Himalaya. This is the work of a polymath, passionately interested in the way geology, geomorphology, climate, fauna, flora and ethnology are all intricately bound to the restless Himalayas.”

“Edmundson displays a true empathy with the early explorers for the simple reason that he has walked in their footsteps and has an equally keen eye for all about him; he is a latter-day Sir Joseph Hooker. Tales from the Himalaya is beautifully illustrated and a delight to read.”

Dr Peter Dolan
Fellow of the Geological Society of London

“One of the most comprehensive books on the Himalayan mountain range on the market, Henry Edmundson’s Tales from the Himalaya was published by Vajra Books in June 2019. It provides readers with an in-depth look at the religious, scientific, political and cultural aspects affecting the region, from the perspective of a seasoned mountaineer …”
(Read more in Motilal Books)

Ray McLennan
Motilal Books

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