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Silk Road

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

Item EXCAS102. Buy these 4 items as a set for $88 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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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)

DK Eyewitness Top Ten Beijing

DK Eyewitness Top Ten Beijing


by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 128 PAGES

A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Beijing. (CHN427, $14.00)

DK Eyewitness Top Ten Moscow

DK Eyewitness Top Ten Moscow


by Matthew Willis

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 128 PAGES

A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions. (RUS513, $14.00)

Samarkand

Samarkand


by Caroline Eden | Eleanor Ford

  • FOOD
  • 2016
  • HARD COVER
  • 256 PAGES

An excellent introduction to Samarkand (by turns inhabited by Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Koryo-Sarams, Jews and Afghans), this compendium brings the region to life with essays, photos and plenty of recipes little-known to the West. (CAS248, $34.95)

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)

Moscow, A Cultural History

Moscow, A Cultural History


by Caroline Brooke

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Caroline Brooke explores the birth and various stages and reinventions of Moscow, from a 12th-century fortress to invasion by Napoleon in 1812 to the rise and fall of communism. Part of the Cityscapes series. (RUS292, $35.00)

Red Fortress, History and Illusion in the Kremlin

Red Fortress, History and Illusion in the Kremlin


by Catherine Merridale

  • HISTORY
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 528 PAGES

Drawing on the archives of the Kremlin itself, Merridale uses the great fortress, which dates from the 15th century, as a lens, covering the history of Russia from its obscure origins through the times of figures including Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Lenin and Stalin. (RUS501, $25.00)

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 Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD

The Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD


by Julia Lovell

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 412 PAGES

The Who, Why and Wherefore of the Great Wall, this marvelous history demolishes myths (no, the wall is not a continuous structure of great antiquity, as much of it was built in the 1600s) with fresh insight and wit. (CHN308, $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)

The Silk Roads, A New History of the World

The Silk Roads, A New History of the World


by Peter Frankopan

  • HISTORY
  • 2016
  • HARD COVER
  • 656 PAGES

Tightly researched and filled with swashbuckling stories, this history by Peter Frankopan looks eastward, showing how the West grew out of a restless desire to access Asian trade. (CAS246, $30.00)

The Terra Cotta Army, China's First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation

The Terra Cotta Army, China's First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation


by John Man

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

Man recounts the 1974 discovery of the 8,000 terra cotta soldiers and uses the legend, lore and facts associated with Emperor Qin's Tomb to speculate about the mysterious emperor himself. (CHN518, $19.99)

Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond

Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond


by Kenneth Nebenzahl

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 176 PAGES

This visually stunning collection of 80 rare illuminated manuscripts, early modern masterpieces and archival maps traces two millennia of exploration across Asia. (CAS113, $29.95)

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)

Riding the Iron Rooster

Riding the Iron Rooster


by Paul Theroux

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 528 PAGES

A wry account of utterly exhausting, exasperating travels, mostly by rail, throughout China for an entire year. Theroux gets himself to every corner of the huge country and includes memorable passages on his experiences in Mongolia, Xinjiang, Manchuria and Tibet (where his journey ended). (CHN133, $16.95)

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)

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China


by Jung Chang

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 524 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

In this riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China, Mao's regime and the Japanese occupation, Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929. (CHN04, $18.00)

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.