Bryn Hammond's Reviews > Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present

Empires of the Silk Road by Christopher I. Beckwith
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it was amazing
bookshelves: steppe-history, website-widget, currently-reading

Time for a re-read of this extraordinary and controversial book. Given its World History range, I imagine the arguments that tie it together are more digestible the second time. Perhaps even the ill-reputed chapter on Modernism can be seen to fit in.

I still think it underadvertised by the commonplace title.
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Reading Progress

December 22, 2011 – Shelved
December 22, 2011 – Shelved as: steppe-history
October 26, 2012 – Shelved as: website-widget
January 20, 2015 –
page 25
4.96% ""The Islamicized comitatus has been nearly universally misunderstood by Western scholars, who refer to it as a 'slave soldier' system and argue that it is an 'Arab' institution.""
January 21, 2015 –
page 35
6.94% "Disorganisation a shame. At p.35 I've read 143 footnotes and 29 Endnotes. Thing is, the notes are often his wickedest thrusts.
Endnote 29 on double standards:
“Virtually every account of successful Chinese campaigns into Central Eurasia includes information on the booty acquired, but it is generally ignored by modern historians, who… list only the ‘plundering raids’ by Central Eurasians against the Chinese...""
January 26, 2015 –
page 78
15.48% "Uncomfortable with a whiff of superiority on behalf of the Central Eurasian Culture Complex. (Which includes being strongly patriarchal. So how come much of the steppe ended up less patriarchal than such non-CECC centres as Ancient Greece and China?)"
February 4, 2015 –
page 92
18.25% ""At first, the Classical empires' relentless one-track-mind approach to Central Eurasian polities was successful...[But] The aggressive foreign policy successes of the Chinese and Roman empires ultimately had disastrous consequences. The partial closing of the frontier to trade by both empires, and their destabilization of Central Eurasia by their incessant attacks, resulted in... the end of Classical civilization.""

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