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Preview — Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
Shadow of the Silk Road
To travel the Silk Road, the greatest land route on earth, is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions, and inventions. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart, and camel, Colin Thubron covered some seven thousand miles in eight months—out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanista...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
His writing is oc ...more
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 ...more
I was galvanised by his description of the importance of the Silk Road in hi ...more
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.
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 ...more
Drumul mătăsii nu a fost niciodată un simplu drum, ci un fel de si ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
The subject matter was interesting but I wasn't always convinced that the author was doing it full justice. There seemed to be a very heavy amount of history which wasn't always related to any relevance today.
The scenes with human interaction with the locals he came across during his journey from China through the "stans", Iran and Turkey, were fascinating - not least due to their impressions of life in the west. Part of his journey had to ...more
I do like his place and people descriptions-I feel like I am traveling with him exploring long forgotten places, peoples and times. I was hooked after reading his "spot-on" description of Xian and the noodle restaurant by the Ming dynasty bell tower- and across fro ...more