Books about Central Asia, Page 3
Have you read any of the books listed here? Would you like to let others know what you thought of it? If so, please fill out a Book Review and I will add your comments. A next to a book indicates that it has been added in the last month.
Alphabetically by author, I-M
Entering the Circle: Ancient Secrets of Siberian Wisdom Discovered by a Russian Psychiatrist
by Olga Kharitidi, published August 1996
"Olga Kharitidi's debut book is a remarkable account of her spiritual adventure in snowbound Siberia. Joining an ailing friend on a spontaneous trip to the Atai Mountains, Dr. Kharitidi is taken into apprenticeship by a native Shaman who guides her through bizarre, magical, and often terrifying experiences that open her eyes to a wellspring of deeper learning. On the road to Belovedia, a fabled civilization of highly evolved beings, she encounters revolutionary mystical teachings while discovering ancient secrets of magic and healing. At once a modern odyssey and a timeless dreamscape, Entering the Circle is an inspiring story of personal growth and an insightful work about the limitless potential of human spirit."
Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800
by Michael Khodarkovosky, published October 2001
"Drawing on sources and archival materials in Russian and Turkic languages, Michael Khodarkovsky draws a complex picture of the encounter between the Russian authorities and border peoples from the decline of the Mongol Golden Horde to the end of the 18th century. Not surprisingly, both sides viewed the other through the distorted lenses of their own societies, but what they saw had important consequences for the evolution of the Russian Empire and the fate of the indigenous peoples."
The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia
by Lutz Kleveman, published September 2003
"Crude oil, once seen as a wealth-creating blessing for mankind, is fast turning into the "devil's tears." The struggle to control the world's remaining energy reserves increasingly culminates in bloody conflicts and the killing of innocent civilians, with the war in Iraq being only the latest example. In The New Great Game, Lutz Kleveman gives us a fearless, insightful, and exacting portrait of a new battleground in the violent politics and passion of oil: Central Asia, known as the "black hole of the earth" for much of the last century. The Caspian Sea contains the world's largest amount of untapped oil and gas resources. It is estimated that there might be as much as 100 billion barrels of crude oil in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan alone."
Central Asian Republics
by Michael G. Kort, published December 2003, young adult - grade 7 and up
"The Nations in Transition series explores the independent governments formed after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Central Asia. The series is designed to give readers and researchers clear and thought-provoking portraits of each of these nations. Each volume surveys the history, culture, and political and social changes of the past few years and includes 25-35 photographs, a chronology of key events, easy-to-understand maps, and a further reading section. This new volume in the Nations in Transition series examines the problems confronting the five Central Asian Republics -- Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan -- as they adjust to their relatively new status as independent countries. With varying degrees of success and stability, the countries of this region are coping with a difficult transition. Famous historically for the great Silk Road, the area has recently drawn attention for its extensive energy reserves. The war in neighboring Afghanistan and proximity and cultural ties to the rebels in Chechnya have added to the difficulties these countries face. Central Asian Republics is an excellent introduction to the history, culture, and current state of affairs of these countries. Following a brief introduction to the region, the book is divided into five sections, one represneting each country. Each section is concise and informative, offering an overview that is easy to understand. The sections explore the geography, population, history, government, politics, economy, and daily life of each specific country and provide an outlook for its future."
↑ Top of page ↓ Bottom of page
Central Asia and Its Neighbors
by Rollie Lal, published July 2006
"China, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan are critical players in the security and economic issues that will determine the future of Central Asia and affect U.S. interests in the region. By assessing the developing relations between Central Asia and its neighbors, it is evident that each country stands to benefit from stability and economic growth in Central Asia, but opinion toward U.S. presence and policy in the region could be a point of conflict."
The Desert Road to Turkestan
by Owen Lattimore, published July 1995
Originally published in 1929. "In inner Mongolia in 1927, when travel by rail had all but eclipsed the traditional camel caravan, Owen Lattimore embarked on the journey that would establish him as a legendary adventurer and leader among Asian scholars. The Desert Road to Turkestan is Lattimore?s elegant and spirited account of his harrowing expedition across the famous ?Winding Road.?
Setting off to rejoin his wife for their honeymoon in Chinese Turkestan, Lattimore was forced to contend with marauding troops, a lack of maps, scheming travel companions, and blinding blizzard. Luckily he had with him not only his father?s retainer, Moses, but a team of camel pullers and Chinese traders he had assembled to teach him the ropes about their mysterious and now extinct way of life. Lattimore?s gifts as a linguist and his remarkable powers of observation lend his chronicle an immediacy and force that has lost now of its impact in the decades since its original publication."
Thinking Strategically: The Major Powers, Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian Nexus
edited by Robert Legvold, published March 2003
"More than ten years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, none of the major powers, including Russia, has developed a cohesive geopolitical strategy for dealing with the countries and regions that once made up the USSR. Even after September 11 and the sudden importance of Central Asia in the struggle against global terrorism, the United States continues to deal with the region in fragmented and incomplete ways.....The authors of each chapter, who come from Russia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Kazakhstan, address the security challenges posed by Kazakhstan and Central Asia from the point of view of their respective countries or regions. From the Russian perspective, for example, Kazakhstan itself is central--as a bulwark against instability and a close economic partner--and Central Asia subordinate; other countries tend to view the entire Central Asia region strategically."
The Transformation of Central Asia: States and Societies from Soviet Rule to Independence
edited by Pauline Jone Luong, published December 2003
"With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, former Communist Party leaders in Central Asia were faced with the daunting task of building states where they previously had not existed -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Their task was complicated by the institutional and ideological legacy of the Soviet system as well as by a more actively engaged international community. These nascent states inherited a set of institutions that included bloated bureaucracies, centralized economic planning, and patronage networks. Some of these institutions survived, others have mutated, and new institutions have been created. Experts on Central Asia here examine the emerging relationship between state actors and social forces in the region. Through the prism of local institutions, the authors reassess both our understanding of Central Asia and of the state-building process more broadly. They scrutinize a wide array of institutional actors, ranging from regional governments and neighborhood committees to transnational and non-governmental organizations. With original empirical research and theoretical insight, the volume's contributors illuminate an obscure but resource-rich and strategically significant region."
↑ Top of page ↓ Bottom of page
Decline of Russian Culture in Central Asia
by David Macfadyen, published November 2005
"Recent political changes in Central Asia, where the United States is replacing Russia as the dominant power, are having a profound effect on Russian speakers in the region. These people, formerly perceived as progressive and engaging with Europe, are now confronted by the erasure of their literary, musical, cinematic and journalistic culture, as local ethnic and American cultures become much stronger. This book examines the predicament of Russian culture in Central Asia, looking at literature, language, cinema, music, and religion. It argues that the Soviet past was much more complex than the simplified, polarized rhetoric of the Cold War period allows, and also that the present situation, in which politicians from the former Soviet regime often continue in power, is equally complex."
by John Man, reprinted February 2007
"Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals, alive in memory as a scourge, hero, military genius and demi-god. To Muslims, Russians and westerners, he is a murderer of millions, a brutal oppressor. Yet in his homeland of Mongolia he is the revered father of the nation, and the Chinese honor him as the founder of a dynasty. In his so-called Mausoleum in Inner Mongolia, worshippers seek the blessing of his spirit. In a supreme paradox, the world's most ruthless conqueror has become a force for peace and reconciliation.
As a teenager, Genghis was a fugitive, hiding from enemies on a remote mountainside. Yet he went on to found the world's greatest land empire and change the course of world history. Brilliant and original as well as ruthless, he ruled an empire twice the size of Rome's until his death in 1227 placed all at risk. To secure his conquests and then extend them, his heirs kept his death a secret, and secrecy has surrounded him ever since. His undiscovered grave, with its imagined treasures, remains the subject of intrigue and speculation. This is more than just a gripping account of Genghis' rise and conquests. John Man uses first-hand experiences in China and Mongolia to reveal the khan's enduring influence. He has traveled the length of the empire. He spotlights the tension between Mongols and Chinese, who both claim Genghis' spirit. He is the first writer to explore the hidden valley where Genghis is believed to have died, and one of the few westerners to climb the mountain where he was likely buried. This stunning narrative paints a vivid picture of the man himself, the places where he lived and fought, and the passions that surround him still. For in legend, ritualand intense controversy, Genghis lives on."
Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia
by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, published March 2006
"From the romantic conflicts of the Victorian Great Game to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Tournament of Shadows traces the struggle for control of Central Asia and Tibet. The original Great Game (1800-1917), the clandestine struggle between Russia and Britain for mastery of Central Asia, has long been regarded as one of the greatest geopolitical conflicts of the nineteenth century. The prize, control of the vast Eurasian heartland, was believed by some to be key to world dominion. Teeming with improbable drama and exaggerated tensions, the conflict featured soldiers, mystics, archeologists, and spies, among them some of history's most colorful characters."
The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland
by Karl E. Meyer, published July 2004
"In The Dust of Empire, Karl E. Meyer examines the historical impact of the Western encounter with Central Asia's fragile and volatile nations. Blending scholarship with reportage, Meyer provides detail about regions and people now of urgent concern to America: the five Central Asian republics, the Caspian and the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and long-dominant Russia. The Dust of Empire provides the context for America's war on terrorism, for Washington's search for friends and allies in an Islamic world rife with extremism, and for the new politics of pipelines and human rights in an area richer in the former than the latter. Meyer offers a complex tapestry of a region where empires so have often come to grief - a cautionary tale for Americans and their Western allies today."
Page last updated on 31 August 2011.