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The Lost Heart Of Asia [Kindle Edition]

Colin Thubron
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Thubron travelled throughout Central Asia in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union and documented the widespread social upheaval in a region reeling from political change. Thubron is an inspirational writer, intrepid traveller and insightful observer and his The Lost Heart of Asia is an outstanding guide to the history, people and culture of a vast region resonating with history and politics.

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"Thubron's journey takes him through a spectacular, talismanic geography of desert and mountain... a whole glittering, terrible and romantic history lies abandoned along with thoughts of more prosperous times... Thubon's grasp of this fantastical past is impeccable, and he weaves its mysteries with modern images into a dazzling embroidery" (The Times)

"Thubron writes with an originality and vividness that few contemporary authors can match" (Independent)

"Although the heroic age of travellers in Central Asia has gone for ever, this book will still deserve, for the intense beauty of its pose and the observant clarity of its visions, to stand alongside the best of those classic travel writings of the past" (Sunday Telegraph)

"This book is a masterpiece of travel writing... in plain English, it's a classic" (New Statesman)

Book Description

'I would rather read Colin Thubron than any other travel writer alive on central Asia' - John Simpson, Daily Telegraph

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1019 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (29 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.ą r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X0M3BU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,370 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A distinguished travel writer and novelist, Colin Thubron was named by the Times as one of the fifty greatest post-war writers. His books include Among the Russians, Behind the Wall, In Siberia and the New York Times bestseller Shadow of the Silk Road. He has won many awards.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling.. poetic.. and honest 18 Aug. 2006
When I read this book I had to carry a pencil around with me to underline phrases and sentences, the odd turn of phrase. I never wanted it to end and I thought he was writing just for me, just to entertain me and to tell me a story. It comes across as intimate - the writing is so emotive and sentient.

To me, this is what travel writing, indeed writing, is all about.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Colin Thubron, I wish I was carrying your backpack for you on these journeys. Among the Russians made me laugh, this book made me drool! I have worked extensively in the Caspian region and you write what I live!For lovers of travel writing - buy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as "In Siberia" 25 Mar. 2012
I agree with the reviewers stating that this book is very well written. As in «In Siberia» Thubron comes though as a very gifted writer in «The lost heart of Asia». Though the Lost heart of Asia is 80 pages longer than In Siberia, Thubron succeeds to go much more into depth and cover the region more thoroughly in «In Siberia» than in «The Lost Heart of Asia».

First «The lost Heart of Asia» is primarily a book about Uzbekistan (213 out of 367 pages) and Turkmenistan (50 pages). As long as a book about Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is what you search for, that is of course no problem. Be aware of this if you mainly are interested in reading about some other country in the region though. It is hardly fair to hold against a book the year of publishing, but also be aware that the book was published in 1994 and a lot has happened since then.

The manuscript for the rest of the region needs to be worked more on. The chapters about Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are simply weak (and short as if the writer know they are weak). The chapter on Kazakhstan has some great qualities but is not worked enough on to fulfill its full potential. The nuclear testing sites and the Soviet Nuclear program, the Gulags, the deported minorities and life in the mines, Bajkonur Kosmodrom and the Soviet Space program, the Aral sea, are some examples of topics that arguably need to be covered first hand in a travel book about Kazakhstan.

One can argue that the Aral sea is covered in the Uzbekistan chapter and that central Asia is more than Gulags and toxic waste. A problem though, is that the coverage of the Aral sea and the Karakalpakistan region is the weakest in the coverage of Uzbekistan (The Aral sea is covered excellent in «Chasing the Sea» by Tom Bissel though).
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Heart of Asia 27 Sept. 2008
Colin Thubron explored the western Asian countries - Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan, and Kazakshtan, all of which were formally governed and administered by the Soviet Union.

He provides an outstanding account of people, history, religious activities, and culture of a vast region in line with history and politics. It is interesting to note how Stalin intimidated Arabic speaking people and Islamic worshippers. He didn't only interrogate or penalise his suspects and people who had made comments about him. The people were also banned to use their language at home and schools, and sing at mosques. After the collapse of Soviet Union, they gained freedom of expressions. However, the number of production of literature and music pieces in their language have not been rising. Mr Thubron reveals that masses of people have lost their jobs after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they have been experiencing difficulties of obtaining everyday items, all of them have high prices. Ostensibly, there are loads of potential artists who are unable to buy stationery items.

Colin Thubron met several Muslim communities, and finds the reasons that they are one of the most strict and resilient communities in the world. They believe that all Muslim worshippers will be able to live on after their death if they have faithfully carried out their prayers five times a day.

The author discovers the fact of the countries which are not easy for everybody to visit. It is a very entertaining book and a good item while sitting in an armchair, and makes you feel that there is no need to visit those countries experiencing difficulties of inefficient transport, as well as dealing with complicated bureaucracies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insights into Central Asia 20 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Through 367 pages we follow Colin Thubrons journey by planes, trains and automobiles through the 5 stans of Central Asia. For anyone interested in the history and culture of these republics, "The lost hear of Asia" provides interesting and fascinating insights as we follow Thubron's encounters with a host of different people from various backgrounds across the region. You may wonder where he finds them all, but each person, some of whom come from surprising minorities such as Germans or Koreans, forms a thread in what becomes a beautiful tapestry of the region. From Tamerlane to Stalin, we also learn about the leaders of the region, who left their mark, often in cruel and oppressive ways, but are still revered by the people. They seem to like "strong" leaders?

Thubron may sometimes be hard to follow. His vocabulary is vast and prosaic style sometimes difficult to understand, making it necessary to read paragraphs more than once to grasp the meaning of what he is writing. Although the book is almost 20 years old, the national "psyche" of the region has probably not changed fundamentally, but some paragraphs may be somewhat dated. I had hoped for more detailed coverage of Kirghizistan and and Tajikistan, which are only briefly described compared to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Still, the book is hard to put down if you have an interest in the region and its people. Well worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Gloom and Doom
The writer seems determined to cast a melancholy pall over the whole experience. Of course, after such cataclysmic changes in their country, people are going to be nervous and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lindsay Rollo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
no comment havent read it yet arrived as expected
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. S. R. Cowell
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best of travel books. Damaged by unwieldy and obscure use of...
I find it hard to understand the reviews which state that this book is ‘well-written’. Thubron’s use of English is extremely obtuse and most particularly so when he’s (trying) to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JMWarren
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 months ago by Mrs Virginia L Holly
4.0 out of 5 stars A journal of soul-searching
This is quite a melancholy book. It principally deals with the identity crisis that the inhabitants of the former Soviet Asian states felt in the immediate aftermath of the break... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr Gordon Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 months ago by NICHOLAS ANDREW COATES
2.0 out of 5 stars The writing is good, but my goodness if the was your only ...
I have read several of Colin Thubron's books now, and he has quite the most relentlessly negative view about everyone and everything he encounters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ms Katalin M Svehla
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Glad to have my own copy!
Published 12 months ago by Elizabeth Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has cured me of my desire to travel there and I can only...
This is so well written I am transported to those deserts on the silk Road. This book has cured me of my desire to travel there and I can only hope that life is better for its... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nareva
3.0 out of 5 stars central asia
This is the story of one mans journey through the 5 stans of central asia namely -Turkmenistan,Tajikistan,Uzbeckistan,Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan shortly after they became... Read more
Published 17 months ago by G.I.Forbes
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