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Shadow of the Silk Road | [Colin Thubron]

Shadow of the Silk Road

Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across Northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron undertakes a journey along the greatest land route on earth: the Silk Road. Travelling 7,000 miles in eight months, he traces the passage not only of trade and armies, but of ideas, religions and inventions.
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Publisher's Summary

Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across Northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron undertakes a journey along the greatest land route on earth: the Silk Road. Travelling 7,000 miles in eight months, he traces the passage not only of trade and armies, but of ideas, religions and inventions. With a gift for talking to others, and of getting them to talk to him, Thubron meets some fascinating people and encounters some of the world's discontented margins, where the true boundaries are not political borders but the frontiers of tribe, ethnicity, language and religion.

©2006 Colin Thubron; (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd.

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  •  
    C. Cobb Memphis, TN United States 03-30-09
    C. Cobb Memphis, TN United States 03-30-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent story"

    Use Encarta maps for reference

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Tucson, AZ, United States 01-02-12
    Linda Tucson, AZ, United States 01-02-12

    Sericulturalist and horticulturalist, mad scientist and earth oven baker.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thubron Goes Where Most of Us Can't"

    I have been an independant scholar of all things "Silk Road" for the last 23 years of my life. This book tells a little less of what the Silk road was, and more of what it is and what it means to us, through a modern lense.

    Thubron begins in China and ends in what was one of the ancient lynchpins of western civilization, Antioch. He takes 8 months to travel his chosen route (the Silk Road was really a series of many trade routes from as far east as Korea and Japan, and as far west as Venice.) and encounters greed, war, povery, and what some might call "terrible beauty". He revisits places he has been before, to find them forever changed, and this seems to change him as well. You can feel the wanderlust draining out of him as he goes. Aside from a near-bout with sepsis from a neglected dental problem, he emerges alive and realtively well, a much older man than can be measured by the date on his birth certificate.

    The only thing I could have done without was his imaginary companion, the "Sogdian Trader", who haunts his sleepless nights. Thubron is a good enough writer to have done better with this part of the narrative.

    Anyone interested in this part of the world would enjoy this book. Thubron has done the dangerous heavy lifting for us, and we can simply close our eyes and experience the journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Marvin, NC, USA 02-21-10
    Connie Marvin, NC, USA 02-21-10 Member Since 2005
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    3
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    "Beautifully written, evocative"

    This book is a wonderful blend of history -- much of which was new to me, though I have read some on this area before -- poignant vignettes of people met along the way, and poetic landscape descriptions that convey the feeling of being there more than a visual picture. The thought of the possibility of the descendants of Cassius' Roman legions in China is captivating ... The hopes, dreams and, sometimes, prejudices of people so far away touched me deeply and makes me even more angry at the actions of governments that keep us from knowing and understanding one another better. The narrator did a very good job, though some of the pronunciations did sound a bit peculiar -- not sure if it is a difference in that of British English or fault in the narrator, but it was only occasionally distracting. Loved the book and will no doubt return to it again and again. The author was/is a fan of Freya Stark -- if you've never read her you should. I know the recordings of her books exist as I've listened on cassette. I hope Audible will make them available someday (soon).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Vail, AZ, USA 05-01-09
    John Vail, AZ, USA 05-01-09 Member Since 2005
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    "The narrator detracts from the material"

    His unfamiliarity with certain pronunciations extends to Taoism (pronounced "daoism") and bodhisattva, which is most assuredly NOT pronounced "bodhitsattva." Where the extra T comes from is anyone's guess! A most interesting book nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LPricevuti CA, USA 11-25-07
    LPricevuti CA, USA 11-25-07 Listener Since 2007
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    "Travels through past and present"

    I found this book to be deep in the history of the regions as well as informative of currents of thinking of now. Highly engaging.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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