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Shadow of the Silk Road (2006)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0701173637, Hardcover)There was never one Silk Road -- but several. The route chosen by Colin Thubron passes through China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, taking in the most sterile desert on earth (the Taklamakan) and the strife-torn mountain valleys of today's conflicts, as he travels from the tomb of the Yellow Emperor (the mythic progenitor of the Chinese people) to the ancient port of Antioch, by local bus, truck, car -- occasionally Landrover, horse or camel. He covers 7,000 miles in 8 months, and confesses that it is the most difficult, complex and ambitious journey he has undertaken in 40 years of travel.
The Silk Road is a huge network of arteries and veins, splitting and converging across the breadth of Asia. Chinese silk has turned up in the hair of a 10th-century-BC Egyptian mummy; equally, the tartan plaids of 3000-year-old mummies in the Chinese desert echo those of early Celts. To be travelling the Silk Road, writes Colin Thubron, is to be travelling the history of the world: tracing the passage not just of trade and armies, but of ideas, religions and inventions. Yet -- despite the lure of the history -- this book is as much about Asia today. Its themes include different Islams (oppressed in China; fervent in Afghanistan and Iran; cautiously monitored in Uzbekistan); contrast (no cities could be more different than ancient Samarkand and modern Teheran); and the way that today's borders are meaningless because the true boundaries are made by tribe, ethnicity, language and religion.
Shadow of the Silk Road is a brilliant account of an ancient world in modern ferment.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Apr 2011 08:30:34 -0400)
A journey along the greatest land route on earth: out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran and into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron covers some seven thousand miles in eight months. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart and camel, he travels from the tomb of the Yellow Emperor to the ancient port of Antioch. The Silk Road is a huge network of arteries splitting and converging across the breadth of Asia. To travel it is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions and inventions. But alongside this rich and astonishing past, this book is also about Asia today: a continent of upheaval. One of the trademarks of Thubron's travel writing is the beauty of his prose; another is his gift for talking to people and getting them to talk to him.--From publisher description.
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