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The 'coveted lands' of Landor's title are Afghanistan, Beluchistan and Persia (Iran) at the turn of the 20th century, because at that time Britain and Russia were competing for commerce there, with Russia predominant in the north and Britain in the south. As such, this fascinating and exhaustive travel book is as much as anything else an information resource for statesmen and businessmen about the people and resources of the region. It's a contest that Landor foresaw Russia winning, most obviously due to her proximity, but more tellingly due to her greater observation and respect of the 'oriental' culture. On his countrymen in Iran and elsewhere, Landor laments the proclivity to 'habitually treat natives with much needless harshness and reserve, which far from impressing the natives with our dignity—as we think—renders us ridiculous in their eyes'.