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on 7 June 2013
Really enjoyed this 'very short introduction' to a massive subject. I thought it would be hard to really cover much given the size of the book but actually you come away from it with a huge amount of insight. The history makes up the first section so that you have an understanding of what the silk road was and how it worked through different eras. Then the book goes into sections on the impact of the silk road on various aspects of culture: from warfare to decorative motifs. It also looks at the silk road as an idea rather than a physicality which gives it a very interesting finale. Very much recommend.
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on 19 October 2014
I approached this book, by James Millward, with the vague feeling that the Silk Road was a definable route to and from the East. In the first pages I realised my mistake. This fascinating history explains the way that there was never one single definitive 'Road' or route, but that the phrase describes the way that two millennia of trade have passed back and forth between the Orient and the West. Millward explains too how the word 'Silk' only became attached to this exchange well into that history. It was never just about silk, but all that passed between these two worlds.
In this book he explores those different kinds of exchange: biological, technological, cultural and commercial. I found that my awareness of the significance of this 'trade' became very much enhanced and enriched. Indeed this 'Silk Road' exchange of cultures and products is very much still going on. How much in all our homes is labelled 'Made in China'! And how many Eastern children are learning to play western classical instruments and to bring us their performances at the very highest level.
I have long been a huge fan of the 'Very Short Introduction' series. They attempt and achieve something enormously valuable and, I think, without equal: books for an intelligent, curious reader who is keen to learn but doesn't bring a specialist knowledge and who doesn't necessarily want to invest in hundreds of pages of time and text. This title, like most of the rest of the series succeeds brilliantly. If you are curious to learn more about the Silk Road trade of all kinds between East and West across two thousand years this book will not disappoint.
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on 1 November 2013
I am a big fan of the 'Very Short...' series and have to say that this volume once again kept me interested and engaged from start to finish. The author is extremely knowledgeable about the subject and clearly has a great passion for it as well - this really comes through in the writing, making it a very good reading experience.
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on 19 November 2014
A lovely, concise, mind broadening read. The "very short introduction" series is amazing.
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on 17 November 2014
Very good. I like these thirties.
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on 12 September 2014
Nice little book which takes an interesting and broader view if the silk road(s) than many other books on this subject. These books are concise and handy introductions to their respective subjects without being simplistic.
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