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Great Silk Road

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

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 EXCAS45. Buy these 5 items as a set for $93 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Odyssey Guide The Silk Road, Xi'an to Kashgar

Odyssey Guide The Silk Road, Xi'an to Kashgar

by Judy Bonavia

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

With photographs, maps, essays and lively sidebars on people, literature, food, religion, nature and customs, this is a terrific guide. (CAS13, $24.95)

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)

Life Along the Silk Road

Life Along the Silk Road

by Susan Whitfield

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 253 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)

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)

China North Map

China North Map

by Nelles

  • MAP

A detailed travel map of North China, at a scale of 1:1,750,000. (CHN40, $13.95)

 
China Adventure Map

China Adventure Map


by National Geographic

  • 2011
  • MAP

A double-sided, full-color map of China, at a useful scale of 1:4,375,000, which shows roads and cities. Printed on tear- and water-resistant paper. (CHN06, $11.95)

The Ancient Silk Road, An Illustrated Map

The Ancient Silk Road, An Illustrated Map


by Odyssey Maps

  • 2011
  • MAP

Three large annotated color maps, which include dozens of photographs, expert commentary and illustrated Silk Road sites. (ASA58, $14.95)

Culture Smart! China

Culture Smart! China


by Kathy Flower

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

This is a handy guide to local customs, etiquette and culture. (CHN434, $9.95)

Eyewitness Top 10 Beijing

Eyewitness Top 10 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)

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)

Odyssey Guide Xi'an, Shaanxi & the Terracotta Army

Odyssey Guide Xi'an, Shaanxi & the Terracotta Army


by Kevin Bishop

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

With color photographs, insightful essays on culture and history, site plans and places of interest in and around China's ancient capital. (CHN34, $24.95)

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)

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, $24.95)

Religions of the Silk Road

Religions of the Silk Road


by Richard C. Foltz

  • RELIGION
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 186 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, $29.00)

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, $27.95)

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City


by Geremie R. Barme | Mary Beard

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

A compact, elegant volume in Harvard's excellent Wonders of the World series, this pocket history illuminates the culture, mystique, architecture and politics of imperial Beijing. Fittingly, the book opens with Mao's symbolic address from the Gate of Heavenly Peace. (CHN468, $16.00)

The Forbidden City, Center of Imperial China

The Forbidden City, Center of Imperial China


by Gilles Beguin | Dominique Morel

  • HISTORY
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 144 PAGES

This slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations. With a useful chronology and a carefully chosen selection of writings over the ages, it's an indispensable guide to the Forbidden City and the history of Imperial China. (CHN32, $15.95)

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. With chapters on jade and silk, trade during the Han Dynasty, Dunhuang, the Great Game, explorers and the Silk Road today. (ASA36, $30.95)

The Spice Route, A History

The Spice Route, A History


by John Keay

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

John Keay draws on ancient logs, traveler's accounts and maps for this rousing history of trade in cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pepper, gums, resins and other costly goods from antiquity to the 17th century. (ASA52, $29.95)

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China


by William Lindesay

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 32 PAGES

A beautiful introduction to the extraordinary tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China, this concise visual overview features richly colored illustrations and photographs accompanied by detailed captions. (CHN126, $12.95)

The Arts of China

The Arts of China


by Michael Sullivan

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

A lively survey of Chinese visual arts and culture through the ages, thoroughly illustrated and accessible. With a new chapter on the 20th century and beyond, this fifth edition covers bronzes, ceramics, painting and architecture from the Neolithic to now. (CHN16, $41.95)

The Caves of Dunhuang

The Caves of Dunhuang


by Fan Jinshi

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 256 PAGES

This richly illustrated survey presents the ancient murals, silks, manuscripts and other treasures within the 50 extraordinary cave temples of Mogao, used as a monastery for a millennium. With 350 color photographs. (CHN534, $70.00)

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, who has lived and studied in Mongolia, interweaves his own travels and field work on the Central Asian steppes, much of it on horseback, with a lively portrait of Genghis Khan and the world of the medieval Mongols. The Mongols introduced not only mayhem, but also paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass and trousers to their far-flung empire. (CAS106, $15.00)

News from Tartary

News from Tartary


by Peter Fleming

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

Fleming's rousing account of a 3,500-mile jaunt from Peking to Sinkiang and on to India, a classic of imperial British wit and style. (CAS46, $18.95)

Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road

Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road


by Stuart Stevens

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1988
  • PAPER
  • 239 PAGES

An entertaining account of hard travel from Beijing to Kashgar, following the route of Peter Fleming and his classic News from Tartary. (CAS77, $13.00)

Out of Steppe, The Lost Peoples of Central Asia


by Daniel Metcalfe

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Metcalfe journeys throughout the five stans, Pakistan and Afghanistan in search of the Jews of Bukhara, Karalpaks, Hazaras, Kalashas. Yaghnobis and other threatened ethnic people of the steppes for this erudite, illuminating report from the field. (CAS191, $16.95)

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, $15.95)

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 Travels of Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo


by Marco Polo | Ronald Lantham

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1975
  • PAPER
  • 380 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, $15.00)

Flashman in the Great Game

Flashman in the Great Game


by George MacDonald Fraser

  • LITERATURE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

What caused the Sepoy Mutiny, a pivotal moment in the Raj? How about Harry Flashman, the reluctant, much-decorated coward, cad and womanizer at the center of George MacDonald Fraser's wildly entertaining, irreverent series of historical novels. (CAS120, $16.00)

A Field Guide to the Birds of China

A Field Guide to the Birds of China


by John MacKinnon | Karen Phillipps

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 586 PAGES

A comprehensive field guide to the birds of China, featuring 128 color plates illustrating 1,300 species of birds. Contains introductory chapters on the history of ornithology in China, biogeography, and conservation. (CHN85, $124.00)

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.