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In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared Paperback – 10 Apr 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (10 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861971095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861971098
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

...extremely entertaining and informative...hilarious. (Daily Telegraph)

cracking tale...both hysterically funny and surprisingly moving...you will savour every page. (News of the World)

Discovers a misunderstood and changing land ... a superlative addition to the literature of travel. (Observer)

Extremely entertaining and informative ... hilarious. (Independent)

... an entertaining and chatty guide to a country that has been shrouded in mystery. (Glasgow Herald)

A welcome antidote to the made up world of Borat. (The Times Magazine)

Book Description

Borat has got it all wrong. Kazakhstan is far more interesting and entertaining than he'd have us believe. In fact it's probably the most surprising country on earth, and certainly one of the most tolerant.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christopher Robbins begins as a travel book, telling of staying at the Cosmonaut hotel, where the receptionists would repeat 'would you like breakfast' or ' are you leaving today?' for no particular reason, on the day of arrival. Eating sheep heads with the President in a Yurt. Kazakhstan the butt of many a Borat joke but a country many of us knew nothing about. Further into this hugely informative book I understood the Influence this outpost had on the world particularly during the cold war. The 5th largest country in the world, also became the home of the Gulag, which one might think were only in Siberia, prison camps to which such illustrious people as Nobel winner, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Prior to this, Dostoevsky, Trotzky and the whole population of Chechnya were banished to Kazakhstan by Stalin, lots of miserable death ensued. The unfortunate population became guinea pigs for all types of nuclear testing, unwitting victims of a cruel regime headed by Stalin. This book has completely over turned my opinion of the current president (only president since independence) Nursultan Nazerbeyef is now in my opinion a hero to his country. Not many could have negotiated their way into independence and turn around a former communist country to become a free market, and relatively prosperous one too. He maneuvered his country out of crisis on many occasions such as the time when USSR called in all Rubles and didn't send replacements, leaving the whole of Kazakhstan without currency, just for the hell of it. Nazerbeyef took the chance and printed their own new denomination, flying them in from the UK on huge planes and distributing them everywhere.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robbins travels throughout Kazakhstan, visiting bleak industrial towns, nuclear contamination sites and apple orchards amongst other things. His accounts of travelling within the country are presented alongside sections detailing Kazakhstan’s fascinating history, which involves famous former residents like Trotsky and Dostoyevsky. The book is a fascinating and extremely well-introduction to Kazakhstan, but I found the praise heaped on the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, slightly worrying.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
BUT it's enlightening, too.
I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky, intriguing book.
In fact, I'm going there this year, and I learned tons from this book to go to Almaty with far more knowledge of the place than I would've had from dry travel guides.
Excellent!
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