Books about Central Asia, Page 5

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 [form link] and I will add your comments. A red diamond next to a book indicates that it has been added in the last month.

Alphabetically by author, T-Z, none

The Lost Heart of Asia The Lost Heart of Asia
by Colin Thubron, published January 2000
"A land of enormous proportions, countless secrets, and incredible history, Central Asia - the heart of the great Mongol empire of Tamerlane, site of the legendary Silk Route and scene of Stalin's cruelest deportations - is a remote and fascinating region. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of newly independent republics, Central Asia - containing the magical cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and terrain as diverse as the Kazakh steppes, the Karakum desert, and the Pamir mountains - has been in a constant state of transition. The Lost Heart of Asia takes readers into the very heart of this little visited, yet increasingly important region, delivering a rare and moving portrayal of a world in the midst of change."

Shadow of the Silk Road Shadow of the Silk Road
by Colin Thubron, published July 2007
"In his latest absorbing travel epic, Thubron follows the course - or at least the general drift - of the ancient network of trade routes that connected central China with the Mediterranean Coast, traversing along the way several former Soviet republics, war-torn Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. The author travels third-class all the way, in crowded, stifling railroad cars and rattle-trap buses and cars, staying at crummy inns or farmers' houses, subject to shakedowns by border guards and constant harassment - even quarantine - by health officials hunting the SARS virus. Physically, these often monotonously arid, hilly regions of Central Asia tend to go by in a swirl of dun-colored landscapes studded with Buddha shrines in varying states of repair or ruin, but Thubron's poetic eye still teases out gorgeous subtleties in the panorama. Certain themes also color his offbeat encounters with locals - most of them want to get the hell out of Central Asia - but again he susses out the infinite variety of ordinary misery. The conduit by which an entire continent exchanged its commodities, cultures and peoples - Thubron finds traces of Roman legionaries and mummies of Celtic tribesmen in western China - the Silk Road becomes for him an evocative metaphor for the mingling of experiences and influences that is the essence of travel. Thubron's chosen route passes through China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey."

Mounted Archers Mounted Archers: The Beginning of Central Asian History
by Laszlo Torday, published January 1998
"Way back in the second century BC, on the remote north-western frontier of China, a tribe of mounted archers overran the land of another. Though a commonplace event in those days, this incident initiated a nomad migration which threw the whole of Central Asia into turmoil and led to the fall of a remarkable Greek kingdom in distant northern Afghanistan."

Russian Regional RecipesRussian Regional Recipes
by Susan Ward, published in 2003, ISBN 1931040249. It is divided up into Moscow/St. Petersburg, From Russia's Heartland, Westward from the Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), From Farmland and Breadbasket (Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova), From Sunny Lands between the Seas (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and The Steppes of Tartary (Central Asia and Kazakhstan). It has a brief description of each area, and pictures of some of the recipes. Best of all, ingredients are listed in metric and US measurements. I found mine at Half Price books; you can also find it by searching Barnes & Noble or Advanced Book Exchange. I still have a few copies left, so just e-mail me [e-mail link] if you would like to buy one.

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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
by Jack Weatherford, published March 2005
"The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols' "Great Taboo" - Genghis Khan's homeland and forbidden burial site - tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world."

Rethinking Kazakh And Central Asian Nationhood: A Challenge to Prevailing Western Views Rethinking Kazakh And Central Asian Nationhood: A Challenge to Prevailing Western Views
by R. Charles Weller, published June 2006.
"After summarizing the five main views of nationhood, including the central debate between 'naturalists-perennialists' and 'Western modernists', a critique is offered of Western modernist writers treating the Kazakh and Central Asian nations. These writers insist on applying the cardinal Western doctrine of 'the separation of ethnicity and state' in the Central Asian context in an effort to conform the post-Soviet Central Asian nations to Western norms of multiethnic 'democratic' nationhood.... As a challenge to these prevailing Western views, the author offers a perspective on Central Asian ethnonational identity which affirms its 'complex unity' and depth of historical rootedness, recognizing the long-standing intimate connection between the ethnosocial, ethnocultural, ethnolinguistic, ethnoreligious and ethnopolitical dimensions of nationhood in the Central Asian tradition." You can read the Preface on the publisher's website Asia Research Associates .

The Alluring Target: In Search of the Secrets of Central Asia The Alluring Target: In Search of the Secrets of Central Asia
by Kenneth Wimmel, published June 1997
"Daring expeditions on camel and yak; biplanes buffeted by gales in the Himalayas; shootouts with bandits as paleontologists race across the Mongolian steppes; lost cities beneath desert dunes, priceless art treasures and manuscripts along the ancient Silk Road - here are real-life adventures in the great uncharted "alluring target" of Central Asia at the dawn of the modern age. Rescued from obscurity and profiled in compelling detail are eleven explorers, scientists, mystics, and just plain adventures - including two indomitable women - who journeyed through this forbidding region between 1890 and 1935 and brought back its secrets, its treasures, its knowledge, and, as vividly presented in The Alluring Target, fascinating accounts of their travels."

The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia
The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia

by Frances Wood, published October 2003
"Covering more than 5,000 years, this book, lavishly illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and paintings from the collections of the British Library and other museums worldwide, presents an overall picture of the history and cultures of the Silk Road. It also contains many previously unpublished photographs by the great explores Stein, Hedin, and Mannerheim."

Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook
published November 1990
"Please to the Table encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking - of robust Ukrainian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, and healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the deliciously perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan. Its 400 recipes are a revelation."


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Page last updated on 31 August 2011.

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