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The Lost Heart Of Asia
 
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The Lost Heart Of Asia [Format Kindle]

Colin Thubron
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Amazon.com

West of China, south of Russia, hemmed in by mountains, steppe, and desert, lie the five Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. Cut loose from Moscow in the early '90s, the five "Stans" (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan) discover that their newly found freedom plays tug-o-war with despair and a nostalgia for the certainties of the Soviet past. It's during this time that author Colin Thubron travels the width of central Asia, asking questions about the past, present, and future. Not content to simply bounce from place to place, Thubron travels from person to person, uncovering their many vibrant stories and developing a deep understanding of the area's lesser-known history. Kyrgyz and Uzbeks debate the place of Islam. Koreans and Germans, descendants from forced migrants, wonder if they know enough of their ethnic tongue to return to their homelands. Russians find themselves left behind, disbelieving, as the tide of Russian power recedes toward Moscow.

Central Asia was mostly off limits to foreigners during the Soviet years, and while officials are still uncertain about how to deal with a backpack-wearing solo traveler, the locals Thubron meets are not. Thubron finds the heart of Asia in the hearts of its people, swimming in a sea of tea, vodka, and hospitality. From the oldest-known Quran to a deserted Soviet naval base on the shores of a high mountain lake 1,500 miles from the ocean (used to test torpedoes far from spying eyes), Thubron's writing echoes the melancholy emptiness of the wide spaces he passes through. The Lost Heart of Asia is a rare meeting of a marvelous writer and a mysterious land. --Ken Peavler

From Publishers Weekly

A 6000-mile journey takes Thubron (Where Nights are Longest) through Central Asia to the countries of the ancient Mongol empire of Tamerlane-Tashkent, Kazakh, Samarkand, Bukhara-more recently part of the Soviet Union. He supplies helpful historical background and a multitude of conversations with residents. He shows that while several generations grew to adulthood under communism, previously proscribed nationalist, Muslim and other religious practices have quickly reasserted themselves as these republics have gained nationhood. Thubron finds a range of reactions to the collapse of the Soviet Union: some people are nostalgic for the unity it provided, however repressive the regime, but many seem overjoyed and look forward to material improvements even though the problems confronting each country are sobering. Thubron has a gift for describing the ambiences of unfamiliar villages and cities, but his self-conscious literary style sometimes distracts from the instructive content. First serial to Conde Nast Traveler.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 648 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 386 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0099459280
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital; Édition : New Ed (29 février 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B006X0M3BU
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°158.590 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the lost heart of asia 15 juin 2009
Format:Broché
as with all of Colin Thubrons books this one does not dissappoint. It is enrapturing.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  21 commentaires
37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent piece of soul-searching 3 juin 2002
Par Carool Kersten - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
British travel writer Colin Thubron is one of the most accomplished representatives of the trade. The trilogy about his exploits in the former Soviet Union: 'Among the Russians', 'Siberia', and 'The Lost Heart of Asia' are literary masterpieces.
Thubron has that rare ability to find the strangest out-of-the way places, meet weird people, and then render his observations and encounters in beautiful prose.
It is always dangerous - and somehow also unfair - to compare writers, for every writer deserves to judged on the basis of his own merits. However, perusing the oeuvre of Thubron, his descriptions often remind one of fellow travel-writer Norman Lewis (heralded by Graham Greene as the best of the twentieth-century), while his prose appears to betray Conradian influences.
Thubron takes us on a simultaneous journey through the enormous landmass of Central Asia and history. Most of the lands he visits lie along the Silk Road. Throughout the centuries these steppes and mountain ranges were invaded by Scythians, Huns, Mongols, Turks, and Russians. Prosperous cities such as Samarkand and Bukhara saw the great Buddhist and Islamic civilizations come and go. Under the Communist Soviet Union they were reduced to squalid backwaters. Polution has destroyed the region's lakes and rivers, and disastrous agrarian reforms have depleted the soil, turning once fertile lands into desert.
Along the route Thubron meets some amazing characters. Somehow he manages to find that curious balance between being an observer, not getting in the way of the narrative, and establishing a true rapport with the people he meets, so as to give us a rare insight into their lifes.
In view of the current worldwide attention for Central-Asia, and the new 'Great Game' that is presently being played out there, everybody who is trying to understand this enigmatic area should read 'The Lost Heart of Asia'.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thurbon does it again!! 4 juin 2001
Par Richard Kurtz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I ordered this book after having been blown away by his later book --the third book in his Soviet Union trilogy --IN SIBERIA, which I thought was absolutely amazing and incredibly involving and one of the best travel essays I ahve ever encountered--this book was good, but not quite up to my expectations which may have been too high based on the earlier read--in any event Thurbon is truly my hero, my soul -mate and I admit I have lived vicariously through these two books -- he is, if half of his adventures are true, an amazingly persistent and daring traveler. He has obviously done extensive research in anticipation of his travels to these remote and apparently soemwhat dangerous spots and I look forward to spending more time this Summer sharing more of his adventures --though many iof his earlier books are, unfortunately, currently out-of-print.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating, well-written review of volatile area 30 mai 2000
Par Linda F. Wood - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Mr. Thurbron's prose is beautiful and informative, and he offers a depth of understanding of this little-known area of the world that is generally not seen in travel logs. This book is particularly helpful in understanding the consequences of Soviet Communism and the Cold War on the environmental and socio-economic issues confronting Central Asia today. This was a real joy to read and has opened my eyes to the importance of this region of the world to modern politics.
46 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Talented writing, but with flaws. 5 juin 2006
Par Vincent - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
From the get go it is abundantly evident that Colin Thubron is an extremely talented writer. He has a way with words that I have not seen in any other travel writing I read; his book is the first I have went through that transcended a quaint, shallow, "Let's Go Travel Guide" type of narrative that storms through cities in a few days, marvels at surface elements, then moves on. There is nothing rushed about Thubron's writing style, his descriptions are thought out, in depth, and delicate. This unique distinction I think is vital for anyone doing travel writing in Central Asia: in the minds of Westerners (who will compose the bulk of people reading this kind of writing), Central Asia is a vacuum, both geographically, culturally, and historically. Few Westerners know much about this area, which is a shame, since geographically, culturally, and historically Central Asia is perhaps one of the most evocative places in the world. It is therefore vital for any travel writing to bring Central Asia to life, which Thubron definitely succeeds at.

It is also clear that Thubron is an excellent traveller, so this book is an good read not only to learn about Central Asia, but also to learn about travelling in general. Despite claims of modesty at the beginning of the book, Thubron seems to have a pretty solid command of Russian, which has permitted him to conduct complex conversations with the people he meets along the ways about politics, history, culture, and religion. Morever, Thubron has a unique talent in being able to locate people who are willing to talk to him about these things, which he does often. Finally, Thubron seems to have a near encylopaedic knowledge of the history of the area, indicating quite a load of research before he set off on his travels. Every place he goes, from large cities like Ashgabat and Tashkent, to tiny villages and even long abandoned forts, Thubron is able to provide extensive historical commentary, which goes far in "brining Central Asia to life."

All this is five star material, except for one particular issue I ran into several times reading The Lost Heart of Asia. All throughout the writing, I continuously detected subtle tinges of superiority and prejudice. As I mentioned before, Thubron is a talented and obviously culturally aware author, having travelled to Central Asia in the first place, so this prejudice is not blatant or blunt, but the subtlety of it all almost makes it worse. For example, Thubron often chats with locals about the history of their cities, cultural heroes, etc. Many times, these locals are historically inaccurate, and Thubron seems to have a smug glee in correcting these inaccuracies, sometimes in the actual conversation, sometimes in the narrative. I see no fault in pointing out historical inaccuracies, but the manner in which Thubron does it ("actually...; but...") harbors a sense superiority. Never does Thubron bother to analyze the unfortunate state of education in the thrid world as an explanation for this, instead, readers are left with the idea that English people just know better. Sometimes, Thubron just seems plain contrarian, like when the caretaker of Tamerlane's tomb pridefully counts Tamerlane as a Turk; Thubron finds it necessary to remind him Tamerlane actually was of Mongol and Tajik (Persian) descent. This bleeds into pettiness: culturally, Tamerlane was from a Turkic environment, and so can legitimately be claimed by Turks as a Turkic icon. I could easily see Thubron criticizing Americans for praising George Washington, since biologically George Washington was of British stock, not "American."

Also bothering me was the role of Islam in Thubron's narrative. Again, he is not blunt about this, but constantly Thubron seems to evoke Islam as the terrible, ghastly force of barbarism that will soon overtake the region, since he visited the area right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Often, as people he interviewed discussed their hopes and worries about their new future, Thubron would often quixotically quip, "What about Islam?" as if it were some bogeyman to check under the bed for. Irritatingly, Thubron also found it necessary to ask almost every "progressive" woman he met their thoughts on the dreaded "veil." I truly can understand fears about fundamentalist Islam and women's rights in Central Asia, but this comes across as a slight Islamophobia because Thubron, who rarely inserts his own actual conversation or opinions in the narrative in the first place, only seems to talk about Islam as a terrorizing force and the veil as Islam's only feature vis-a-vis women. I would accept his criticism if he bothered to explore other theological aspects of Islam other than the veil, but he doesn't. Actually, near the end of the book he even seems to look back on the Soviet years nostalgically as days of peace and order.

Thubron is a superb writer, with talent that neither I nor many people could hope to equal in a lifetime. However, his cultural attitudes seem inappropriate for someone as well travelled as he. Perhaps I should read his other books for further background, as I know he travelled extensively through Russia, China, and the Middle East before writing this, so perhaps taken as a whole Thubron's works can elaborate more on his cultural opinions.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a far away trip to a faraway land 21 décembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
A terrific introduction to a part of the world that most people know little about. This is a book that compels you to read on...not because you expect a plot twist or some dangerous turn. No, you read on to find out more about the people and places Mr. Thubron meets during his most amazing journey. Your knowledge of this part of the world grows as you advance page by page, chapter by chapter. It's written in an easy to follow style. The only thing I would have added were more maps to highlight the specific areas we were visiting.
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