Murderers in Mausoleums: Riding the Back Roads of Empire Between Moscow and Beijing
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Murderers in Mausoleums: Riding the Back Roads of Empire Between Moscow and Beijing

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A gripping journey through some of the planet’s most remote and challenging terrain and its peoples, in search of why democracy has yet to thrive in lands it seemed so recently ready to overtake Across the largest landmass on earth, in lands once conquered by Genghis Khan and exploited by ruthless Communist regimes, autocratic and dictatorial states are again arising, grow...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2009)
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This is a very interesting and timely journey - it is definitely about "roads less traveled" in the old USSR. (The China segment is almost an afterthought to the majority of the book).

If you still believe that the fall of the USSR made a big positive difference to life in the old Soviet republics - then read this book and be forever disabused of the notion.

Tayler describes a populace that is largely longing for the old Soviet days, and most of the new/old republics have reconstructed (or allow...more
Tayler is an American journalist living in Moscow who travels by train, bus and hired car across Central Asia from Moscow to Beijing. Along the way he talks to rabid Cossack nationalists, drunken expats and nouveau-Capitalist Kazakhs all trying to earn a buck, a yuan, a rouble. Ultimately it's all rather depressing: so this is what democracy has wrought. Enlightening, but I'm not sure it's what I wanted to know.
Wisteria Leigh
Reading Murderers in Mausoleums, you will gain a vital understanding of Russia and China; their culture, their ideals, their fears, their struggles as our global neighbors. Jeffrey Tayler, is a correspondent whose purpose in writing the book is to find out for himself how the people who were once the oppressed are now viewing a renaissance taking place in their countries. He also wants to talk with the people deep within the country, to get a sense of how they feel about the West, especially the...more
Jul 27, 2011 Ilsabe added it
I wish Visual Bookshelf provided the option of "couldn't be bothered to finish it." Mr. Tayler has written some very good books, but this was not one of his better efforts. It was like reading the remarks of a journalist on a business trip. Okay, I'll go here, give you an overview of the country, interview someone and move on. It didn't seem like he wanted to be on the trip or really talk to that many different people. As a result, many descriptions of hotels and what a pain it was to travel.

From Moscow to Beijing, specifically from Red Square to Tiananmen, rather than via the popular Trans-Siberian railway, the author travelled through the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The preface was a condensed history and extended political commentary. The theme of the 'murderers' - Lenin, Genghis Khan, Mao and (almost) Stalin - was a thin thread to connect the dots. It was a grand backdrop for a rather superficial observations of the places visited.

I enjoyed the Caucasus section most. However, less...more
Aug 01, 2011 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
Mr. Tayler truly does an excellent job of placing his readers alongside him in his travels. Buttressed by his decade-plus residence in Moscow, Mr. Tayler articulates a post-Cold War Central Asia that is diametrically opposed to the view I would imagine to be held by many Americans. Western culture and Western values are not universally successful in penetrating new markets and, I would imagine most surprising to many Western minds, do not move in lock-step. Mr. Tayler's journey illustrates that...more
A good way to travel through the various hard-drinking, un-restful states surrounding Chechnya without actually having to go there. He explores some other God-forsaken corners of Kazakhstan, goes through Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang on the way to Beijing. Generally, he reports that most of these back road regions are forbidding, dull and dusty full of various obscure ethnic minorities that continue to loath one another for reasons outsiders will find difficult to understand. But Kyrgyzstan still come...more
I've read two other Jeffery Tayler books and this one is as good as the others. In this story he takes a 7,000 mile journey from his home in Moscow to Beijing. Like "The RIver of No Reprieve" in this story he counters many citizens of the former Soviet Union. His encounters with these people reveal a lot about the rule of the soviets and also offers the local's views on why there is so much strife in these areas.
Not quite as captivating as 'River of No Reprieve', but still a fun read for that narrow band of folks interested in the former Soviet states. A good look at the unusual cultures and rituals of the Russian Caucasus and Central Asia, and some great stories on the night club scene of Chinese youth as well. All-in-all a fun read for those wishing exposure to such material, done in good form.
It was a tough read and in my opinion the writing wasn't too captivating, but it was a great idea for a book and I learned alot. This was a part of the world I think many of us know little about and after reading it I realized we NEED to know more about Central Asia because of it's future role in world politics and economics.
Thought-provoking - and at times very disturbing - travel memoir, also published as 'In the Bloody Footsteps of Ghengis Khan: An Epic Journey Across the Steppes, Mountains and Deserts from Red Square to Tiananmen Square'.
excellent travelogue detailingwhat life is like in the countries and cultures that make op the old silk road. A very interesting and insightful look at the world and America's role or lack there of in this area of the world
Provides an intersting take on how people in Central Asia perceive the world and the United States. The prose is not quite as poetic as the prose in Tayler's other books, yet it remains a good read.
really interesting trip through parts of Russia and what was going on there earlier this decade and written in 2009
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Jeffrey Tayler is a U.S.-born author and journalist. He is the Russia correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a contributor to several other magazines as well as to NPR's All Things Considered. He has written several non-fiction books about different regions of the world which include Facing the Congo, Siberian Dawn, Glory in a Camel's Eye, and Angry Wind, the latter being a portrait of a journ...more
More about Jeffrey Tayler...
Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel River of No Reprieve: Descending Siberia's Waterway of Exile, Death, and Destiny Glory in a Camel's Eye: A Perilous Trek Through the Greatest African Desert Siberian Dawn: A Journey Across the New Russia

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