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30 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a travel book
It's marketed as a travel book but it's much more than that. It gives a very good insight into Kazakhstan past and present including the political/economic developments. The author spent days talking to and traveling around with President Nazarbayev. The president comes across as a very smart guy who has done really well given the appalling situation he inherited. The...
Published on 29 Dec 2007 by Book Reader

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too cosy
Not a bad book, and good holiday reading for people that have never come in to contact with the country and find it somehow 'exotic'. However, I would suggest that the basis for the book getting published was Robbins' contact with Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan. This is problematic.

In the three or so chapters featuring Nazarbayev (the only...
Published on 7 Mar 2011 by Christopher Rickleton


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a travel book, 29 Dec 2007
This review is from: In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared (Paperback)
It's marketed as a travel book but it's much more than that. It gives a very good insight into Kazakhstan past and present including the political/economic developments. The author spent days talking to and traveling around with President Nazarbayev. The president comes across as a very smart guy who has done really well given the appalling situation he inherited. The author obviously liked the country but the book doesn't come across as propaganda.

It contains the inside story on how the USSR really worked, what the gulag was like from people who survived it, how and why the new currency (the tenge) was secretly planned, how arab countries offered to pay them to keep their SS18 ICBMs, and how Iran and Iraq tried to buy weapons grade material.

This book is a serious bit of writing and impressed me a lot. If you want to know more about a country which is in the news because of oil then I recommend this book highly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 8 Feb 2009
By 
R. Pelly (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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Having been to Kazakhstan half a dozen times on business I found this an entertaining and fascinating description of the country, its people & history. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into Central Asia, 15 Sep 2008
By 
Anne M. Williams "jagz516" (Kazakhstan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Christopher Robbins has written an excellent travel book about his trip to Kazakhstan. It is beautifully described with interesting anecdotes. A very readable volume on a part of the world that few people know. However, be careful this is the same book as Apples are From Kazakhstan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book - whether or not you're going to Kazakhstan, 3 Jan 2010
Just before setting off on a trip to Kazakhstan I searched for a book that would tell me something about the country. However I don't really enjoy reading the typical country guides and was delighted to find this book which tells of the author's experiences over a prolonged period in Kazakhstan. It is hugely informative and I found that the people I met in Kazakhstan were pleased that I had done some research even if some of my facts were rather unusual. The book also helped me to understand the challenging history of the country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great review of a fascinating country, 14 July 2011
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Of course I'd heard of Kazakhstan - I couldn't tell you much about it though despite it being the 8th largest country in the world and the size of western Europe.

I bought this book as background reading for a business trip. It would be an equally good read even if you had no intention of visiting (it might just tempt you though!) It is an enjoyable romp through the country which introduces you to the history, geography, politics, culture and people in a conversational rather than lecturing manner. All travel books (although it's not just a travel book) should be written like this. I feel much more informed as a result.

Thanks for great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impossibly exotic - the last unknown?, 24 Jun 2011
By 
SAP (Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The cover of this book belies the scholarship and erudition contained therein - the cover looks like it heralds a humorous, frivolous, sarcastic travelogue by a satirical, complaining wag (how can I tell so much from a cover design?). But this is really a sober, occasionally droll, book. Described as "hilarious" and "offbeat" in the blurb, I can only assume the person who wrote that hasn't actually read the book because it is neither of those things. What it is is passionate, enthusiastic and entertaining. An unusual feature about this book is that the author is granted access to the popular president and the presidential inner sanctum over long periods. This gives an authoritative angle to the whole thing. You don't see that in many travel narratives. But some might say he didn't interview any dissenters. I don't know. Who could have imagined Kazakhstan could be so intriguing!? I hope he visits the other 'stans in the region, but something tells me that's not his style. Liked the pictures too. Great!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun book, 2 Feb 2011
Enjoyable, easy read. Not done in the "look at the funny foreigners" stance. Not the most in depth book but good for a brief insight
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great supplement to a travel guide, 13 Jun 2010
By 
This is a great book on Kazakhstan, its history and people. The book hillariously written and informative. It is not a travel guide though - to tell you where to go and what to see, etc.- but there are plenty of those around anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and laughed out loud. Cristopher Ronins is a great writer, very observant, witty and moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 17 May 2010
By 
Jeremy Hutchinson (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
We had no idea what Kazakhstan was like when we heard that our granddaughter was going there for two years. This book has told us. But it is written in the most interesting and enthralling way, with lots of personal stories - the author's meeting with the President, and their trip to the newly built capital, the story of a crazy 18th Century Englishman who crossed it in the winter with a horse pony and a dwarf servant and how some Cossacks manage to get his hands and arms back from frostbite. We visit the fishingport which is now 70 km from the Aral sea - the great inland sea that has shrunk because of a misguided venture by the Soviets to turn the surrounding steppe into a cotton-growing plain.
I have not come across any other travel book so excitingly written. Christopher Robbins makes you feel you are there. I quite envy our granddaughter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good background for a visit to K, 16 May 2010
By 
W. Jump (UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book before going on a holiday in Kazakhstan birdwatching. It's an easily readable book that gives a lot of information about the history and politics of the country; that makes it sound heavy going but it really isn't. The author is a journalist and so writes having not only experienced living in the country but also having researched the historical background. I have found the country amazing with tremendous space and contrasts. If you're going to Kazakhstan, definitely read this book.
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In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared
In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared by Christopher Robbins (Paperback - 24 May 2007)
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