The Desert Road to Turkestan The Desert Road to Turkestan 评价人数不足

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大A
2017-09-28 23:25:31

The lives of nomadic peoples have been a great topic of theoreticians and historians the world over. Herodotus has his stories of Scythian nomads, Ibn Khaldun, I'm told, wrote about their own impact on civilization in the Muqaddimah, and Deleuze and Guattari talk about 'nomadology'. Few, however, have taken the enormous step to take a journey with them and eat and live as they have.

The Desert Road to Turkestan is a long travelogue, where Lattimore sets out west from Beijing towards Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, then down the old camel caravan roads to the city of Qitai in Xinjiang (then Turkestan). The author is delayed multiple times by border guards and warlords, but shows an admirable persistence in wanting to continue down this shifting path.

Though Lattimore here only touches upon the history of the nomads and civilizations as he would in his later books (again, so I'm told), he focuses here in seeing how they live and understanding their traditions. It seems like a f

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The lives of nomadic peoples have been a great topic of theoreticians and historians the world over. Herodotus has his stories of Scythian nomads, Ibn Khaldun, I'm told, wrote about their own impact on civilization in the Muqaddimah, and Deleuze and Guattari talk about 'nomadology'. Few, however, have taken the enormous step to take a journey with them and eat and live as they have.

The Desert Road to Turkestan is a long travelogue, where Lattimore sets out west from Beijing towards Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, then down the old camel caravan roads to the city of Qitai in Xinjiang (then Turkestan). The author is delayed multiple times by border guards and warlords, but shows an admirable persistence in wanting to continue down this shifting path.

Though Lattimore here only touches upon the history of the nomads and civilizations as he would in his later books (again, so I'm told), he focuses here in seeing how they live and understanding their traditions. It seems like a fragile way of life, often dependent on the randomness of weather patterns, but he gains a keen understanding of their life and a working knowledge of the Mongolian language. But even then he notes that this way of life is dying out in China - pushed aside by railroads and agriculture in the early 20th century and vast highways now. 'Inner Mongolia' is now 90% Han Chinese.

Still, this is a charming look at the most distant possible life from ours and its common humanity. He writes with interest and respect. Here is an author who sleeps under the stars, endures the weather, steers the camels.

Final note: The book contains multiple black and white photographs, a decent map, and a list of place names. The transliteration system he uses is so old that the cities are unintelligible if you only know pinyin, but you can learn with some effort.

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