Home » Travel Writing » 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 has written books on several figures associated with the Silk Road, including Kubilai Khan, Marco Polo and Empress Wu. Haus published his biography of Carl Gustaf Mannerheim in 2011.

Publication Date: Jan. 2014
RRP: £12.99 (Haus price: £8.68)
320 pp
Linen HB
ISBN: 9781907973789