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Apples are from Kazakhstan : the land that…
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Apples are from Kazakhstan : the land that disappeared (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Christopher Robbins

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127None94,957 (4.1)11
Member:melonbrawl
Title:Apples are from Kazakhstan : the land that disappeared
Authors:Christopher Robbins
Info:Ashland, OH : Atlas Books, c2008.
Collections:Your library, Non-fiction, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2012

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In search of Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins (2007)

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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Amazing, the things I don't know! ( )
  untraveller | Feb 20, 2014 |
A very interesting book about a place very few people have ever heard about, unless they have seen the annoying "Borat" (who is obviously not a reliable guide). The author includes some in-depth interviews with the country's controversial president and spent several years getting to know this oil-rich distant land. ( )
  sswright46168 | Aug 29, 2013 |
I think this quote sums up Robbins's primary reason for writing Apples Are From Kazakhstan, "Unexpectedly, vague curiosity developed into real interest during that time [two years], and continued to grow, until I became determined to visit the birthplace of the apple" (p 10). This comes after sitting next to an American who told him, "apples are from Kazakhstan." What follows is a delightful travelogue of all things Kazakhstan. The chapters bounce around, punctuated by delightful illustrations. While Robbins uncovers the skeletons in Kazakhstan's closet he also manages to unveil the beauty of a country few know anything about. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 6, 2013 |
This was an absolutely scrumptious travelogue/history book, chock-full of interesting tidbits and trivia. The author not only traveled basically all over Kazakhstan, but he also wrote about its history, particularly under Soviet rule, and interviewed loads of Kazakhs, including the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. (And, from Mr. Robbins's description, Nazarbayev sounds like a nice enough guy who genuinely cares about his country's welfare.)

Although there are a lot of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities in Kazakhstan, they all pretty much get along and there isn't a lot of prejudice or ethnic tension. I think other countries could learn something from Kazakhstan's example in that area (lookin' at you, Israel).

Robbins really makes the country come alive in his writing, and it made me want to go visit for myself and check out those enormous apples the size of a baby's head. Anyone who's into Central Asian or Russian history, or travel writing, would probably enjoy this book. ( )
1 vote meggyweg | Jan 12, 2013 |
The author traveled to Kazakhstan, a country about which he knew very little. He did a bit of research before going. The American title of the book comes from a comment one person made to him before he went there. The woman told him that "Apples are from Kazakhstan." Indeed, he knew little more about the country. The author tells us about the culture, geography, and recent history and politics of the former Soviet Republic. I learned a great deal about the country. It's not a particularly easy read, but the author manages to mix some humor into his narrative and does an excellent job describing what he encountered and learned from the Kazakhs. He even met the president of the country in his travels and met with him. The points dealing with the recent elections and with the current president at the time of the book's writing could have probably used a more objective voice than the author gave; however, this is a good book for someone to read who wants to become acquainted with the country without reading a scholarly volume. ( )
  thornton37814 | Sep 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0977743381, Hardcover)

"A captivating read notable for off-the-cuff candor and measured, eloquent prose."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A funny and revealing travelogue of Kazakhstan, a country rich with wild tulips, oil, nomads who hunt with golden eagles, and a disappearing landlocked sea.

Closed to foreigners under Tsar and Soviet rule, Kazakhstan has remained largely hidden from the world, a remarkable feat for a country the size of Western Europe. Few would guess that Kazakhstan—a blank in Westerners' collective geography—turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern, the country that gave the world apples, trousers, and even, perhaps, King Arthur.

Christopher Robbins enjoyed unprecedented access to the Kazakh president while crafting this travelogue, and he relates a story by turns hilarious and grim. He finds Eminem-worship by a shrinking Aral Sea, hears the Kazakh John Lennon play in a dusty desert town, joins nomads hunting eagles, eats boiled sheep's head (a delicacy), and explores some of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on earth. Observant and culturally attuned, Robbins is a master stylist in the tradition of travel writing as literature, a companion to V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:30 -0400)

Travel writer Christopher Robbins relates a story by turns hilarious and grim as he finds Eminem-worship by a shrinking Aral Sea, hears the Kazakh John Lennon play in a dusty desert town, joins nomads hunting eagles, eats boiled sheep's head (a delicacy), and explores some of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on earth. Meet the country that gave the world apples, trousers, and possibly King Arthur. --From amazon.com.… (more)

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