Life Along the Silk Road kindle ñ Paperback Û susan whitfield

epub Ï Life Along the Silk Road ñ Susan Whitfield

In the first 1000 years after Christ merchants missionaries monks mendicants and military men traveled on the vast network of Central Asian tracks that became known as the Silk Road Linking Europe India and the Far East the route passed through many countries and many settlements from the splendid city of Samarkand to tiny desert hamlets Susan Whitfield creates a rich and varied portrait of life along the greatest trade route in history in a vivid lively and learned account that spans the eighth through the tenth centuries Recounting the lives of ten individuals who lived at different times during this period Whitfield draws on con Life Along The Silk Road by Susan Whitfield presents a highly original version of history In some ways it is historical fiction but she doesn’t make anything up But then neither does she merely describe events It’s not really fiction but then it’s not a completely factual account of a turbulent period in the history of Central AsiaIn 1999 when the book was published Susan Whitfield ran the International Dunhuang project in the British Library This gave her access to tens of thousands of documents scrolls and books that were discovered in sealed caves at the turn of the twentieth century The texts present an admixture of material some of it religious some administrative Some of it is trivial thus material of invaluable contextual importance for the historian while some is poetic and that helps the creation of fictionUsing the contents of this written material Susan Whitfield has assembled a set of stories She creates individuals who illustrate contemporary life as they live through if they are lucky enough to survive the great events of their times We meet merchants soldiers courtesans artists monks nuns and officials Their lives intertwine as they span the eighth ninth and tenth centuries a period when overland trade via the Silk Road flourished and then began to decline It was also a period when in China the Tang gave way to the Song and when numerous religions competed for adherentsSkilfully Susan Whitfield uses each of her characters almost all of them at least partly real the rest created by amalgam to illustrate how lives are transformed by the great events of their times They witness the attempted Arab conuest They trade along the Silk Road They visit Chinese emperors in their capital Chang’an the modern day Xian They deal with Sogdian rulers speak Chinese Turkic Mongolian and Tibetan and deal daily with Manicheans Nestorian Christians Buddhists Confucians Hindus and Muslims Their history thus comes aliveDunhuang with its stunning complex of Mogao caves is central to these stories At the end of the Tang dynasty in the tenth century some of its artwork and statuary was already old enough to be in need of restoration I have had the privilege of visiting the site and I rate the experience among the most impressive of all I have seen on all my travels Susan Whitfield’s book took me back there and brought the experience to life It’s an easy read but then it needs to be because the subject matter is uite challenging for someone who is unfamiliar with the era and its events The book is undoubtedly entertaining and at the same time informative Through it the reader can join these characters in their own time and experience a culture and way of life that will be immediately foreign but ultimately understood

text Life Along the Silk Road

Life Along the Silk RoadTemporary sources and uses firsthand accounts whenever possible to reconstruct the history of the route through the personal experiences of these characters Life along the Silk Road brings alive the now ruined and sand covered desert towns and their inhabitants Readers encounter an Ulghur nomad from the Gobi Desert accompanying a herd of steppe ponies for sale to the Chinese state; Ah long widow of a prosperous merchant now reduced to poverty and forced to resort to law and charity to survive; and the Chinese princess sent as part of a diplomatic deal to marry a Turkish kaghan In the process we learn about women's lives modes of co A curious work of history that uses short stories about imagined people to explore the cultures and events of the 700s 900s in Central Asia Doesn't uite land as well as it's intending reads a lot like a history text than as fiction but it's really rich with detail and looks at the lived reality of real people rather than kings or generals It's very richly researched and gives a sense of life in an area that doesn't get much historical attention It's an unusual structure but I got a lot out of it Recommended for big history nerds; it's not uite engaging enough if you're not the sort of person who reads all the placards in museums

Susan Whitfield ñ Life Along the Silk Road ebook

Life Along the Silk Road kindle ñ Paperback Û susan whitfield Û [Epub] ➚ Life Along the Silk Road By Susan Whitfield – In the first 1000 years after Christ merchants missionaries monks mendicants and military men traveled on the vast network of Central Asian tracks thatMmunication weapons types of cosmetics methods of treating altitude sickness in the Tibetan army and ways that merchants cheated their customers Throughout the narrative Whitfield conveys a strong sense of what life was like for ordinary men and women on the Silk Road everyone from itinerant Buddhist monks to Zoroastrians and Nestorian Christians seeking converts among the desert settlers to storytellers musicians courtesans diviners peddlers and miracle workers who offered their wares in the marketplaces and at temple fairs A work of great scholarship Life along the Silk Road is at the same time extremely accessible and entertaini Of all the books I've read on this topic this is the only one that makes this period come alive Highly recommended