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The Great Game

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

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The Great Game

The Great Game

by Peter Hopkirk

  • HISTORY
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 565 PAGES
  • FAVORITE
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

Hopkirk's spellbinding account of the great struggle for European supremacy in Central Asia takes us over the high mountain passes and through the scorching deserts and caravan towns of the Silk Road, capturing the glamour, intrigue, treachery and adventure of the time. (CAS09, $18.00)

The Lost Heart of Asia

The Lost Heart of Asia

by Colin Thubron

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 374 PAGES

In this classic narrative, Thubron recounts his travels to Samarkand, Bukhara and throughout Central Asia in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union. A fine writer, intrepid traveler and insightful observer, he's an outstanding guide to the history, people and culture of the region. (CAS07, $15.99)

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

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 270 PAGES

Wood draws on hundreds of archival photographs, manuscripts and paintings from the British Library in telling this lively story of the art, culture and history of diverse trade routes. (ASA36, $30.95)

Lonely Planet Central Asia

Lonely Planet Central Asia

by Lonely Planet

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

A comprehensive, detailed guide to travel in the region, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. (CAS42, $34.99)

Central Asia Map

Central Asia Map

by Nelles

  • 2011
  • MAP

An up-to-date, double-sided shaded relief map at a scale of 1:1,750,000. (CAS37, $13.95)

 
The Ancient Silk Road Map

The Ancient Silk Road Map


by Odyssey Maps

  • 2011
  • MAP

Three large annotated color maps, which include dozens of photographs, expert commentary and illustrated Silk Road sites. (ASA58, $15.00)

Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebook

Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebook


by Justin Jon Rudelson

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 239 PAGES

A handy pocket phrasebook that focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler on the Silk Road. (CAS38, $8.99)

A History of Inner Asia

A History of Inner Asia


by Svat Soucek

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

A compact, accessible introduction to the history of Eurasia from the arrival of Islam to Russian conquest, covering the present-day countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Sinkiang and Mongolia. With 13 maps and dynastic charts. (CAS51, $45.99)

Empires of the Silk Road

Empires of the Silk Road


by Christopher I. Beckwith

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 504 PAGES

Beckwith rescues Central Asia from the periphery of world affairs with flair and scholarship, depicting millennia of empires, trade and cultural life on the Silk Road. (CAS171, $16.95)

Everyday Life in Central Asia, Past and Present

Everyday Life in Central Asia, Past and Present


by Jeff Sahadeo

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 401 PAGES

Dozens of scholars and ethnographers contributed to this lively reader on the peoples, cultures and customs across Central Asia. (CAS148, $28.00)

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road


by Peter Hopkirk

  • HISTORY
  • 1984
  • PAPER
  • 252 PAGES

Hopkirk's rousing tale of Sven Hedin and other larger-than-life archaeological raiders of the early 20th century captures the excitement of discovery -- and the glories of the Silk Road. (CAS22, $26.95)

Lost Enlightenment, Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane

Lost Enlightenment, Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane


by S. Frederick Starr

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 680 PAGES

Starr brings to life the great flowering of ideas and advances of Central Asia's medieval enlightenment, showing how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asian societies led the world in trade and were at the vanguard of mathematics, philosophy, history, geology, astronomy and science. (CAS227, $22.95)

Religions of the Silk Road

Religions of the Silk Road


by Richard C. Foltz

  • RELIGION
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

A scholarly survey of cultural traditions, and especially religions, along the trade routes through China and Central Asia from antiquity to the 15th century. (CAS52, $34.00)

Silk Road: Monks, Warriors & Merchants on the Silk Road

Silk Road: Monks, Warriors & Merchants on the Silk Road


by Luce Boulnois | Helen Loveday

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 575 PAGES

A history and guide to the Silk Road, organized chronologically and featuring a nice selection of contemporary photographs. (CAS111, $26.95)

The New Great Game, Blood and Oil in Central Asia

The New Great Game, Blood and Oil in Central Asia


by Lutz Kleveman

  • HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 291 PAGES

An eyewitness account of current policies and conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia, full of interviews, anecdote, history and polemic. (CAS112, $15.00)

The Silk Road, A New History

The Silk Road, A New History


by Valerie Hansen

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

A professor of Chinese and world history at Yale, Hansen draws on original sources and the latest archaeology for this magnificently illustrated tale of the overland routes across Asia and the life, history, and culture of fabled Silk Road cities Niya, Kucha, Turfan, Samarkand, Chang'an, Dunhuang and Khotan. (CAS214, $21.95)

The Silk Road, A Very Short Introduction

The Silk Road, A Very Short Introduction


by James A. Millward

  • HISTORY
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

Millward's pocket history highlights the important exchanges of goods, ideas and spiritualities that traveled the Silk Road, the Mediterranean's link to Persia, India and China. (CAS212, $11.95)

Islamic Arts

Islamic Arts


by Jonathan Bloom | Sheila Blair

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 445 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

A comprehensive survey of 1,000 years of Islamic architecture, design and decoration. Illustrated throughout with color photographs, maps and site plans. (ISL01, $29.95)

Traditional Textiles of Central Asia

Traditional Textiles of Central Asia


by Janet Harvey

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

Harvey surveys the embroidery, silks, velvets, felts and other rich textile traditions of the Silk Road in this spectacularly illustrated guide. (CAS19, $24.95)

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World


by Jack Weatherford

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Weatherford interweaves his own travels and field work on the Central Asian steppe, much of it on horseback, with a lively portrait of Genghis Khan and the world of the medieval Mongols (CAS106, $16.00)

In Xanadu, A Quest

In Xanadu, A Quest


by William Dalrymple

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 314 PAGES

An intrepid traveler and entertaining writer, Dalrymple deftly observes the people and places he encounters on a journey from Jerusalem across Central Asia to China along the Silk Road, ending, like Marco Polo, at Xanadu, the summer palace of Kubla Khan. (CAS50, $15.95)

Life Along the Silk Road

Life Along the Silk Road


by Susan Whitfield

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 312 PAGES

With insight, scholarship and dramatic flair, Susan Whitfield recounts the lives of ten diverse individuals on the ancient Silk Road, including four tales set in Dunhuang. With a superb 15-page history of Central Asia. (CAS44, $29.95)

Marco Polo, The Journey That Changed the World

Marco Polo, The Journey That Changed the World


by John Man

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 396 PAGES

John Man travels in the footsteps of Italian merchant Marco Polo, bringing to life the exotic world that he uncovered, one of huge armies, untold riches, unusual spices and the great Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. (CAS240, $15.99)

Shadow of the Silk Road

Shadow of the Silk Road


by Colin Thubron

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 363 PAGES

Thubron returns to Central Asia in this lyrical, erudite account of a 7,000-mile trek across Asia, visiting archaeological sites, people and cities from Xi'an and Dunhuang to Samarkand, Bukhara, Afghanistan and Iran. (CAS133, $15.99)

The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane

The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane


by Beatrice Forbes Manz

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 231 PAGES

A portrait of the great nomadic conqueror who rose to power in 1370 on the ruins of the Mongol Empire and led campaigns from Moscow to Delhi. (CAS11, $35.99)

The Travels of Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo


by Marco Polo | Cliff Nagel

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES

The memories of a 13th-century journey to China along the Silk Road, among the most famous travel accounts ever. Describing exotic plants, birds, precious gems, silks and spices with a merchant's eye, this superb geographer recounts his 20 years of travel. (CAS05, $16.00)

Birds of Central Asia

Birds of Central Asia


by Raffael Aye

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

This compact Princeton Field Guide features 141 superb color plates and excellent introductory chapters on the region. (CAS209, $39.50)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.