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Publisher's Summary

The Silk Road is as iconic in world history as the Colossus of Rhodes or the Suez Canal. But what was it, exactly? It conjures up a hazy image of a caravan of camels laden with silk on a dusty desert track reaching from China to Rome. The reality was different - and far more interesting - as revealed in this new history.  

In The Silk Road, Valerie Hansen describes the remarkable archaeological finds that revolutionize our understanding of these trade routes. For centuries, key records remained hidden - sometimes deliberately buried by bureaucrats for safe keeping. But the sands of the Taklamakan Desert have revealed fascinating material, sometimes preserved by illiterate locals who recycled official documents to make insoles for shoes or garments for the dead. 

Hansen explores seven oases along the road, from Xi'an to Samarkand, where merchants, envoys, pilgrims, and travelers mixed in cosmopolitan communities, tolerant of religions from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. 

There was no single, continuous road, but a chain of markets that traded between East and West. China and the Roman Empire had very little direct trade. China's main partners were the people of modern-day Iran, whose tombs in China reveal much about their Zoroastrian beliefs. 

Silk was not the most important good on the road; paper, invented in China before Julius Caesar was born, had a bigger impact in Europe, while metals, spices, and glass were just as important as silk. Perhaps most significant of all was the road's transmission of ideas, technologies, and artistic motifs.  

The Silk Road is a fascinating story of archaeological discovery, cultural transmission, and the intricate chains across Central Asia and China.

©2012 Valerie Hansen (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Silk Road

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bad bad bad

a frustrating example of poor narration. superfluous and extraneous information.
given in book. no dice

3 people found this helpful

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Boring

This book is a class on how to bore you to death. And the monotone narrator was overkill. I think a robotic voice like Siri or Alexa would have sounded more human. I wish I could have all this hours and money back.

2 people found this helpful

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terribly nerrated no intonation and pronounce

dont bye the audio book.
it's a good book, but very badly nerrated. no innovation, just like a machine. no pronouncing of the names of the places, people and dynasty.
I'm so sorry that I bought the audio book and not the text one.

5 people found this helpful

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Central Asia medieval history

I enjoyed this well researched book focused on Central Asia medieval history. There were interesting stories of trade, travelers, the development of languages and hidden manuscripts sealed off in caves with beautiful artwork. I liked that it was primarily focused on the people of the area with only a few stories on European contact. I agree with other reviewers that the narrator sounded robotic.