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The travels of Marco Polo (the Venetian) Unknown Binding – 1953


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Unknown Binding, 1953
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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright Pub. Corp (1953)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007F2BPU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nj Mcallister VINE VOICE on 5 Jan 2014
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brinsley on 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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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By bernie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Nov 2003
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 By Zohre Brown on 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 By P. J. Moran on 29 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. There is also a list of place names, given in both their 12th-Century and modern forms, but it only covers a very small number of the places actually mentioned in the book, so that's not as helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Huw Davies on 3 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
'The Travels' is a frightfully interesting book, filled to the brim with tall tales, lavish description and contrasting cultures. From the Arabian peninsula to the far east of China, right down to India and Sri Lanka, this book takes in all the great sights of Eastern Asia. It's debated nowadays whether Polo actually conducted all of these travels himself, or if he merely recalled stories he had been told by others on his journeys. However, cast away your doubts and just sit back and enjoy an interesting ride. R.E. Latham, the translator of this edition, had added in extra footnotes at appropriate points, adding extra details from different translations. These add a new depth to some stories. He also clears up any confusing descriptions and points out errors Polo made.

One issue I do have with the book is its repetition of key phrases, especially once we have reached China and the land of Kubilai Khan. Things like "the people here are idolaters" (aka Buddhists), or "they use paper money" quickly become dull, and one sometimes questions the sheer number of cities Polo mentions, when often he just glosses over them in a paragraph. I personally would have preferred more of the interesting stories, and less of the filler, but you can be assured of one thing - this is the definitive travels of Marco Polo, and nothing is missed out.
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