AN ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER’S HISTORY OF THE SILK ROAD

by Jonathan Clements


The Silk Road is a route from the edges of the European world to the central plains of China. For thousands of years, its history has been a traveller’s history, of brief encounters in desert towns, snowbound passes and nameless forts. It was the conduit that first brought Buddhism, Christianity and Islam into China, and the site of much of the ‘Great Game’ between Victorian empires. Jonathan Clements guides the reader through the trackless wastes of the Taklamakan Desert, its black whirlwinds and dead lakes, its shimmering mirages, lost cities and mysterious mummies, but also its iconic statues and memorable modern pop songs. He explains the truth behind odd tales of horses that sweat blood, defaced statues and missing frescoes, and Marco Polo’s stories of black gold that seeps from the earth. For travellers looking beyond their armchair, the book includes a gazetteer of important sites and practical travel tips, from both the author himself and earlier traveller’s diaries.

JONATHAN CLEMENTS is an author and TV presenter specialising in the history and cultures of the Far East. He speaks both Chinese and Japanese, and has been a consultant and talking head on numerous TV programmes, including New Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors (Channel 4), Koxinga: Sailing into History (National Geographic), China’s Jade Empire (Channel 4), and TheChinese Chariot Revealed (PBS). Since 2016, he has fronted the award-winning series Route Awakening (National Geographic Asia). His most recent documentary as presenter is Shandong: Land of Confucius, also for National Geographic. Visit Jonathan’s blog, here

Also by this author, An Armchair Traveller’s History of BeijingMannerheimAn Armchair Traveller’s History of FinlandA History of the Silk Road, A Short History of TokyoAn Armchair Traveller’s History of TokyoAdmiral Togo, and Mao Zedong


January 2014 | £12.99 | 320 pages | Hardback | 9781907973789

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