39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
This book is costing me money!!, 7 May 2003
After reading each spell-binding chapter, I find I am noting down the name and details of the original works quoted by Hopkirk. First, Hedin's "Through Asia", then Stein's "Ruins of Desert Cathay", then von Le Coq's "Buried Treasures of Chinese Turkestan". These are not cheap books! My bank manager mutters about Mr Hopkirk's negligence in writing such a compellingly addictive book.
"Foreign Devils on the Silk Road" tells the stories of European explorers who searched for - and found - legendary lost cities in the sands of the Taklamakan Desert in what is now Xinjiang province in western China. Most of the treasures were removed and sent to museums in Europe, the US, Japan and Korea, and these explorers are increasingly seen as criminals (at least in China). Regardless of the politics or the benefit of hindsight, the adventures of these men makes Indiana Jones look tame.
My only complaint is that the need to cover the expeditions of all the main explorers means that each is told in a mere chapter. It just whets the appetite to know more. Hence the seemingly endless purchases of the original books.