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The Travels (Classics) [Paperback]

Marco Polo , Ronald Latham
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

29 Jan 2004 Classics
Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kubilai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. The accounts of his travels provide a fascinating glimpse of the different societies he encountered: their religions, customs, ceremonies and way of life; on the spices and silks of the East; on precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts. He tells the story of the holy shoemaker, the wicked caliph and the three kings, among a great many others, evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440577
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Modern scholars have questioned the veracity of Marco Polo's account, but there's no doubt that his description of his travels through the Mongol Empire of the Middle Ages--with its spices, exotic animals, rare jewels and dancing girls--is enchanting. --Kathleen Keefe

Review

A timeless addition to any travel collection. " --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Survivor Participants Look Like Wusses 1 Dec 2002
Format:Paperback
This volume will enthrall anyone interested in true adventure. Marco Polo was the original Indiana Jones and then some. Please do not waste time on Gary Jennings' The Journeyer. This is the real deal and needs no dramatic embellishments.
The Travels takes you on a trip from 13th century Venice to "Cathay" and back again. You will learn how Europeans found out about fireworks, paper currency, printing and pasta. The harrowing journey across the Gobi desert is particularly well reported.
Marco Polo was more than an explorer. He was one of the world's first anthropologists. This is an exciting read, an account of how medieval Europe initially perceived China and the far east, and of how the Mongol rulers and Chinese emperors perceived them. Highly recommended. As to the print quality of Penguin editions, which some have denigrated, I have had my copy since the early eighties and it has yellowed only slightly. Viking is now printing on acid-free paper. One must remember that these editions were printed primarily to reach the widest audience for the least amount of expense at the time. For years, Penguins were accessible to students and to the collector who couldn't afford an elaborate, fully illustrated, fully mapped volume of a particular work. I couldn't have read as many of them as I did in my late teens and early twenties if that were not the case. I owe a lifelong debt to the editors for their efforts. I've also never read a bad translation in any Penguin Classic.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barely believable adventures 9 Nov 2003
By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Marco writes well enough of his travels and you feel that you are there. You can actually follow the trail if you have a map. He describes the flora and fauna of each region and describes the economics and industry of the region.
Example: "The women of the superior class are in like manner free from superfluous hairs; their skins are fare, and they are well formed."
It is interesting to see how little has changed from Marco Polo's 13th century and now.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic cross-cultural experience 29 July 2004
Format:Paperback
Every fantastic location and creature and event described and experienced by the Polo family really existed. And yet the world still doubts the authenticity of this 13th century trader's experiences.
I have seen many of these locations and cultures for myself, some of which have hardly changed, and I continue to be amazed by the detail of his descriptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sure, Marco, we believe you 9 April 2014
By Inspector Gadget VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
As a historical document this book has as much credibility as a McDonalds placemat. Anyone looking for insight into the Middle-East and Asia 800 years ago ought to look elsewhere. Polo's tall tales just do not wash with me.

Before I even start nitpicking the "facts" presented here I have to cast suspicion on the narration. Firstly, the book has a lengthy introduction by translator Ronald Latham, then we have a prologue in which we learn that the entire story has been relayed by a man Marco Polo was briefly imprisoned with. The whole thing? The guy in prison memorized ALL of this? All of the long, boring speeches made by characters who come and go with no effect? I doubt it.

So, apparently we have a very, very long 800-year-old narration, retold by another narrator, translated by Ronald Latham. And all of this sound and solid? I think not. If you thought that this might be a personal account by Marco Polo of his famous travels then you are wrong. In fact, Polo NEVER once actually goes into detail about any of his experiences - he merely recites the history of the places he visited.

The book is very, very, very repetitive, so much so that I kept having to check that I wasn't accidentally re-reading the chapters. I swear the words "The Great Kahn" appear once in every paragraph, if not several times. When it comes to the numbers that Polo spews out I am also very, very doubtful. He liberally uses phrases like "150,000 horsemen" when describing battles (historic battles that he never saw or took part in because, as I said, no actual experiences he may have had, if he even existed in the first place, are detailed). Compare these bloated numbers to actual global population at the time and you'll realize there's no way it can be true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a great book spoiled by a terrible translation 5 Jan 2014
By Mr. Nj Mcallister VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this as a paper back from a decent modern translation years ago and really enjoyed it. I decided to read it again and downloaded this Kindle version. It is terrible. Do not waste your money!!! A terrible translation and badly edited abortion of a book. It is bogged down with copious irrelevant translators notes in the middle of every page so that sometimes the notes take up more space than the actual book. which detracts from your ability to actually read the book in Kindle format and the translation is over 100 years old with all the english problems of what was even then a bad translation. Dont let this shoddy Kindle version prevent you from reading what is in essence a great adventure and an incredible read. But look for a decent translation. There are none in Kindle version. I think the paperback I read was a Penguin classic but I cant remember. But avoid this version like the plague
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Note, Note and Note, Note! Grrrrr! 12 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this impossible to read! How dam annoying! There are more NOTES than story! Look, get rid of the notes and just print the story OK! I'm not interested in the NOTES on the same page. Stuff them in the back where they belong! I never want to see another NOTE in my life!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
LOVED IT
Published 24 days ago by catherine fraser
3.0 out of 5 stars don't purchase
It wasn't what I expected. The writing style was poor. I would not recommend it
Published 1 month ago by Edgar Anstey
4.0 out of 5 stars All time classic
Read this and follow it up with "Invisible cities". This is one of the world's great travelogues, all across Eurasia, from Italy to Mongolia.
Published 4 months ago by H. G. Schmidt
3.0 out of 5 stars Dog Lover
This book is a bit long winded, but worth the money and I learnt a great deal about a time I knew nothing about previously.
Published 7 months ago by Andries Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars What was it Marco Polo discovered???
Everyone knows about Marco Polo's famous journey (the memory is kept alove by Venice's airport); but the text presented (here in a 19th-century translation) is actually by... Read more
Published 8 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Was in Real?
Debated and re-debated constantly. Loved the idea of Prester John. This is an interesting story of racism and prejudiced opinions with the acceptance of different peoples as long... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Scarlet
3.0 out of 5 stars More note than content
This is classic academic reading, there are more notes than original content. If you want a history lesson, or several rather, this is for you. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jens Schwarz-Nielsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Marco Polo
Good value and an interesting enough read. Especially helpful are the maps from the time period inside the front cover and the modern map outlining the journey. Read more
Published on 29 July 2012 by P. J. Moran
2.0 out of 5 stars Maps Disappointing
This book is OK text-wise but the maps are very small and hard to read - I suppose fold out maps would add too much to the cost.
Published on 24 Nov 2011 by Claire P
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but at times repetetive
'The Travels' is a frightfully interesting book, filled to the brim with tall tales, lavish description and contrasting cultures. Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2011 by Huw Davies
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