Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ombre sulla via della seta” as Want to Read:
Ombre sulla via della seta
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ombre sulla via della seta

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,218 ratings  ·  265 reviews
La storia millenaria, e in gran parte consegnata alla leggenda, della Via della Seta continua ad affascinare segretamente la modernità. In un viaggio tra misticismo, conflittualità, mistero, Colin Thubron ripercorre le strade che per secoli hanno dato vita a una «globalizzazione», arcaica quanto febbrile, di cui la seta divenne il simbolo. Il confronto con l’attualità sugg ...more
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published October 19th 2006 by Ponte alle Grazie
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ombre sulla via della seta, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ombre sulla via della seta

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
It would be a waste of time to recreate the reviews already posted here, all glowing and full of accolades, many deserved, though I was less enchanted with the book overall than some readers. I thought it was a solid and interesting piece, recounting some of his earlier travels, but I was not blown away. I enjoyed some of the historical information, especially tidbits such as that remnants of a Roman legion settled in China, but his focus seemed to consistently zero in on the crumbling world he ...more
Style detracted from content.
there are parts of this book that are amazing (Xian comes to mind and several of the strangers he meets on his journey) but sadly the author's writing style is very much one that I don't like - overly descriptive almost as if he was being paid by the word. If you like old British travelogues - where the flowery prose is more important than the tale - this may be the book for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for something more - its still here - but its buried.

One of my favorite genres is the travel narrative--Paul Theroux, Tony Horwitz, Bill Bryson. And one of my favorite travel narrative locations is China--it’s vast, geographically, socially.. any way you look at it. I was looking forward to this book because it combined a couple of my favorite genres. But I’m under whelmed. It seems Thubron was on journey to work out some personal demons or issues. This would be fine, but combining it with a travel narrative is confusing--is it a travel book? A me ...more
Tony Taylor
Shadow of the Silk Road records 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, the mythic progenitor of the Chinese people, to the ancient port of Antioch—in perhaps the most difficul ...more
Shadow of the Silk Road is a phenomenal book. The author, British travel writer Colin Thubron, traveled from Xian, an ancient capital of China, to Antioch in Turkey along the silk road, blending broad historical knowledge with acute observations of contemporary life.

Thubron speaks Mandarin and Russian, and was able therefore to speak directly with many of the people on his journey, at least until he arrived in Afghanistan. A theme throughout the book is the mix of peoples, with tribes and nation
Colin Thubron's account of an epic journey along the Silk Road is an interesting mix of history and travelogue. He has a good eye and ear for detail and a knack for finding interesting people. His determination to find important historical sites that have been overlooked/sanitized is impressive. The pace, maybe like that of travelers on the Silk Road of old, is slow. I wish there were photos, but I don't think he'd have gotten access to some sites if he'd traveled with a camera.

His writing is oc
Colin Thubron is not only "the pre-eminent travel writer of his generation" as The SUNDAY TELEGRAPH says about him...he is much, much more than that and his latest book is his legacy for this genre.
Delving into the milleniums of history while going along what used to be the Silk Road, from Xian to Antioch, he diggs out stories on people, temples,tombs,cities-that-have-been, abandoned citadels, forgotten villages, disappeared civilizations.... and tells them with such a melancholic, melodic thril
I totally loved this book, specially the travels through China! Perhaps I shouldn't say that - the travel through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan were also fascinating. The peoples, the faiths, the customs - both over centuries passed and now today - all were discussed. Little things like the facial characteristics and body forms and hats worn were so well described. Each cultural group became an identity. I have to visit China ..... I don't know if I would be brave enough for ...more
Shadow of the Silk Road is a book about a journey that took Colin Thubron through the countries in Central Asia where the famous trading route ran across. Starting in Chinese Xian and finishing in Antakya (Turkey).
As any other book of this genre, the narrative heavily focuses on descriptions about the places Thubron visited and their history. By history I mean brief remarks, for the most part, that Thubron added to give some historical background to the narrative.

20 years before this journey, Th
Mindy McAdams
I do not read a lot of travel narratives, but now and then I select one because each page I open while thumbing through (or previewing on Amazon) holds something interesting and makes me want to keep on reading. This book passed my small test, and I was not disappointed.

Many others have praised Thubron's way with words. I would join them but for a small caveat: sometimes he overdoes it. Sometimes the poetry overexerts itself and threatens to smother the prose. But not too often!

This was a long j
I read doggedly to make it to 118 pages, then skimmed the rest of the book, making sure to read the detailed description of his 4-hour-long root canal sans anesthesia. I read the part of the book detailing Mr. Thubron's travels in China and Tibet. I couldn't tell you what he described; I found that when I would be done reading a passage, I would be unable to picture what he was talking about. One of my friends put it best when she said, "He is not very painterly." I found the lofty vocabulary an ...more
Janet Eshenroder
The author wove stories of the Silk Road's history with memories from his own trips 10 or more years earlier and with minute details of what he found at sites just prior to 2008(the book's publish date). If I pulled out single sentences I could marvel at their descriptive qualities, yet(for me) the prose often got in the way of the story. I grew tired of so many nouns having adjectives, of landscape and buildings so often being anthropomorphized. I do give kudos for a very thorough picture of se ...more
Jun 26, 2011 Juha rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in cultural history, especially along the Silk Road.
This book records the eight-month journey that the author took through what is probably the most fascinating part of the world, traveling west from China through Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, ending in Turkey. He writes amazingly beautiful prose and his observations are deep and heartfelt, often containing intricate details about the landscapes, cultures, people he encounters. He talks to a wide variety of people and, importantly, gets them to talk to him. A famous British travel writer, he h ...more
Thubron captures a panoply of voices from along the silk road, reflecting all the ethnicities that have intermixed through the last 3,000 years as traders and conquerors moved back and forth. He is an amazingly brave man to have moved through the deserts and battlegrounds of the Uigars, Iraquis and Iranians with nothing but a rucksack, some maps and whatever drivers and translators he could pick up along the way. But this made him approachable, and he had Russian and at least rudimentary other l ...more
in the shadow of (the scam from) "a million little pieces" i wondered about a third of the way into this book if it could be trusted: could this one man truly have traveled 7000 miles on his own? are the stories he relates so fantastic to be believed or has he invented them? how many languages DOES he know in order to successfully get through this journey?

half way through the book i decided to give mr. thubron the benefit of the doubt not least because i looked him up on the web and decided tha
Thubron's story, which essentially is his travels interspersed with digressions of rumour, history, memory and observations, was well written and mostly interesting. I enjoyed his route (starting in Xi'an) and his explanation for his path. All in all I was mildly interested but can see his forte lies in true historical analysis and I found my mind wandering during his seemingly self-indulgent rambles down various routes.

I was galvanised by his description of the importance of the Silk Road in hi
It took me a long time to work through this, as it often does with non-fiction. I liked the blend of history, description, and people's stories. I didn't know much about a lot of the areas Thurbon traveled. My only complaint was that, while Thurbon was upfront about a lot of the current realities, there were obvious places where he glossed over things. The amount of latitude given to him to just wander around China was a little hard to credit, for example, and at key moments, rides just amazingl ...more
Un gran bel libro, perfettamente nello stile di Thubron.
Grazie alla sua bravura nello scrivere mi permette di visitare paesi nei quali, onestamente, non credo di andare a breve e soprattutto fa spesso interessanti divagazioni storiche raccontando i luoghi che va vedere. I suoi incontri con le persone, poi sono sempre fonte di riflessione e conoscenza e da appassionata di antropologia non posso che apprezzarli moltissimo.
Nancy Jurss
4 stars for his descriptions of encounters of the people he met during his travel through China, Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey. 2 stars for his endless descriptions of landscapes that sounded the same as the previous one. 4 stars for his interesting insights into the history of some of the areas. 2 stars for his descriptions of one ruined mosque after another.

Colin Thubron has a very distinguished pedigree as a writer, but the prose in this book was a little overly florid for this travelogue.
For Shadow of the Silk Road, Thubron traveled the entire length of the former Silk Road between China and the West, and as such, two-thirds of the book focus on locales outside of Central Asia. Nonetheless, it too was thoroughly engrossing, and I highly recommend it. However, since the space of time which Thubron spent in Central Asia in this book was much less than the time spent in this region for The Lost Heart of Asia, it isn’t as detailed or informative. If you can only read one of the two ...more
Babak Fakhamzadeh
This is no frivolous account of a journey along the Silk Road. Introspective, in depth, almost scholarly. I had to read slowly to fully grasp the whole text. A joy.
The author traveled from beyond Xian, in the heart of China and once the imperial capital, also the home of the terra-cotta warriors, to the Mediterranean at Antioch, now Antalya.

Not only is Thubron's journey epic, his retelling is fantastic. His prose is gorgeous, his sentiment melancholic. Interspersed with in-depth histories of peo
Mr. Thubron is a brave man. His travels were often dangerous as he made his way through areas of remote China and war torn Afghanistan. He rode on camels through the deserts and hitched rides in cars that often broke down while driving over the mountains.

His story told of the wares that were traded and of the cultures and religions that were spread along this famous path.

I found the history of the people who lived in the countries that he traveled through to be the most interesting part of the
Scriitorul britanic Colin Thubron, călătorește de la Xian, o veche capitală chineză, la Antiohia în Turcia, de-a lungul drumului mătăsii, amestecând cunoștințe istorice cu observațiile despre viața contemporană. Thubron oferă, prin subiectul ales, atât de multe informații istorice și culturale încât poți spune la un moment dat că exagerează. Dar nu, aceasta e singura modalitate pentru a creiona cât mai bine lungul drum al mătăsii.

Drumul mătăsii nu a fost niciodată un simplu drum, ci un fel de si
Oh, dear. I did SO want to like this book! I certainly like the idea of it, and I enjoyed it on some level (I only abandoned it after reading 300 of 350 pages!). But I wasn't enthralled, and then it became a chore, and then I found myself skimming..... I wish he had had more of his interactions with locals, as I enjoyed all of those. It was his meanderings through and descriptions of ancient religious sites that eventually wore me down.
Max Carmichael
A stylistically murky journal of a frustrated search for old buildings.

I read travel literature to learn about the ways of life of people I'm not likely to visit myself. Thubron has little interest in living people and no interest in stable cultures; his interest is in the silk-robed elites of the past and their monumental architecture.

Those who like the misogynist Paul Theroux will probably like Thubron, although Thubron's style is more idiosyncratic and obscure. Unlike his "loved friend" Freya
An interesting tour of the ancient caravansary' s of the Silk Road. He traveled over 7,000 miles and endured bad food , bad weather and bad people. Only one thing irritated me, he tended to challenge officials. I really wonder if that was true. An American traveling alone in hostile territory, it was a little unbelievable. His description of the countries and the people were wonderful though and held my interest.
Pentru pasionaţii de istorie, geografie, călătorii, antropologie, istoria culturii şi a mentalităţilor sau istoria religiilor, Redescoperind Drumul Mătăsii. Din China şi munţii Asiei Centrale în Iran şi Turcia de Colin Thubron oferă o lectură densă, plină de cunoştinţe inedite din toate aceste domenii. Cartea se încadrează într-un gen literar pe cale de dispariţie sau care nici măcar nu a existat vreodată ca o categorie de sine stătătoare: o carte de călătorii care este şi ficţiune, poezie în ac ...more
João Duarte
"A Sombra da Rota da Seda" é um livro que conquista facilmente. Com uma escrita simples mas elegante, o autor britânico guia-nos desde o coração da China até à costa da Turquia, seguindo o percurso da rota da seda.

Ao longo da viagem, acabamos a conhecer melhor, quer a realidade dos vários países que Colin Thubron atravessou (na primeira década deste século), quer a sua história, tendo sempre como fio condutor a ancestral rota que trazia a seda chinesa até ao mundo ocidental.

Contudo, apesar de se
I was excited to read this book, and while I enjoyed it, I can't say I remember the details of it too well, so I'm not sure if that's the author's writing or me (or it could be that reading 6-7 books at once isn't good or the e-reader thing made the experience different).

Thubron definitely went into a lot of detail and covered a lot of territory, yet as other readers have mentioned, I never felt sucked into the writing. There's something somewhat cold around the edges, with a lot of first-perso
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze & Back in Chinese Time
  • From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East
  • Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land That Disappeared
  • The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes
  • Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran
  • Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land
  • Slowly Down the Ganges
  • Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
  • News From Tartary
  • A Time of Gifts
  • The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan
  • Foreign Devils on the Silk Road
  • Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
  • The Road to Oxiana
  • The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed
  • Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present
  • So Many Enemies, So Little Time: An American Woman in All the Wrong Places
  • Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia
Colin Thubron, CBE FRSL is a Man Booker nominated British travel writer and novelist.

In 2008, The Times ranked him 45th on their list of the 50 greatest postwar British writers. He is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Times, The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Thubron was appointed a CBE in the 2007
More about Colin Thubron...
In Siberia To a Mountain in Tibet The Lost Heart of Asia Among the Russians Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China

Share This Book

“Sometimes a journey arises out of hope and instinct, the heady conviction, as your finger travels along the map: Yes, here and here ... and here. These are the nerve-ends of the world ...” 3 likes
“mountains, and cried: ‘That is the tomb of Kochoi, the companion of Manas!” 0 likes
More quotes…