Shadow of the Silk Road
Elsewhere US$23.99 US$14.74 Save US$9.25 (39%)
Free Shipping Worldwide
Ships from UK supplier
Available as an e-Gift
|Format:||Paperback, 384 pages|
|Other Information: ||maps|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 04 October 2007|
On buses, donkey carts, trains, jeeps and camels, Colin Thubron traces the drifts of the first great trade route out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey. Covering over 7000 miles in eight months Thurbron recounts extraordinary adventures - a near-miss with a drunk-driver, incarceration in a Chinese cell during the SARS epidemic, undergoing root canal treatment without anaesthetic in Iran - in inimitable prose. "Shadow of the Silk Road" is about Asia today; a magnificent account of an ancient world in modern ferment.
About the Author
Colin Thubron is an acknowledged master of travel writing, and the winner of many prizes and awards. His first writing was about the Middle East - Damascus, Lebanon and Cyprus. In 1982 he travelled into the Soviet Union in an ancient Morris Marina, pursued by the KGB, a journey he recorded in Among the Russians. From these early experiences developed his classic travel books: Behind the Wall (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award), The Lost Heart of Asia, In Siberia (Prix Bouvier), Shadow of the Silk Road and To a Mountain in Tibet (all available in Vintage). In 2010 Colin Thubron became President the Royal Society of Literature.
Colin Thubron has been described as 'one of the two or three best living travel writers, in some ways probably the best' - Independent
The routes taken by these two authors merge only briefly along the Silk Road. Geddes (Letters for Managua) hangs his multiple journeys upon the possibility that a Buddhist monk from Afghanistan by the name of Huishen traveled to China and then across the Pacific Ocean to America in 458 C.E., before returning to China 40 years later. There is no record of the route he might have taken, which leaves Geddes to roam about central Asia visiting historical and religious sites Huishen may have seen before entering eastern China. A later journey takes Geddes to Mexico and Central America. His writing is lively and best when describing the chaotic state of affairs that have boiled over onto the surrounding region from Afghanistan. This is not an easy area in which to travel, and Geddes approaches it mostly with courage and good humor. He does not make a convincing case for, or shed any new light on, the purported travels of Huishen. Thubron (Lost Heart of Asia), whose writings have established him as an expert on central Asia, here retraces some of his earlier journeys while taking many new ones. His travels took him west from Xian in China's Shaanxi Province through Kyrgyzstan and the historic cities of Samarkand and Bukhara; a brief dip into Afghanistan led to Iran before he ended up at Antakya on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Thubron writes of the recent imbalances in the region owing to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the westward expansion of the Chinese, and the growing restlessness of the followers of the various sects of Islam. His journey was interrupted once by fighting, and he faced additional difficulties during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. He travels hard but with remarkably little bragging or complaining. He understands the region well, and his writings are an important contribution to a West that hardly even knows the basic geography, let alone these cultures and sources of conflict. Geddes entertains, while Thubron both entertains and instructs. If libraries can select only one of these books, it should be Thubron's.-Harold M. Otness, formerly of Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"It is hard to think of a better travel book written this century" The Times "Shadow of the Silk Road is a work of boundless riches. Every paragraph carries a captivating phrase...offering up an understanding of our world today that is as immediate as tomorrow's news, yet infinitely profound" -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday "One of Thubron's great strengths is his compassion...his shimmering prose creates a wonderful book, so multilayered that, when I reached the end, I wanted to read it all over again" Sunday Times "Rich in humour, compassion and history, another confirmation, if any more were needed, that Thubron is the pre-eminent travel writer of his generation" Sunday Telegraph "A poetic volume - interesting, shocking and deeply engaging, the work of a mature writer at the top of his game" -- Sara Wheeler Daily Telegraph
In his latest absorbing travel epic, Thubron (In Siberia; Mirror to Damascus) follows the course-or at least the general drift-of the ancient network of trade routes that connected central China with the Mediterranean Coast, traversing along the way several former Soviet republics, war-torn Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. The author travels third-class all the way, in crowded, stifling railroad cars and rattle-trap buses and cars, staying at crummy inns or farmers' houses, subject to shakedowns by border guards and constant harassment-even quarantine-by health officials hunting the SARS virus. Physically, these often monotonously arid, hilly regions of Central Asia tend to go by in a swirl of dun-colored landscapes studded with Buddha shrines in varying states of repair or ruin, but Thubron's poetic eye still teases out gorgeous subtleties in the panorama. Certain themes also color his offbeat encounters with locals-most of them want to get the hell out of Central Asia-but again he susses out the infinite variety of ordinary misery. The conduit by which an entire continent exchanged its commodities, cultures and peoples-Thubron finds traces of Roman legionaries and mummies of Celtic tribesmen in western China-the Silk Road becomes for him an evocative metaphor for the mingling of experiences and influences that is the essence of travel. (July 3) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
|Dimensions: ||19.0 x 12.0 x 2.0 centimeters (0.27 kg)|