Friday, September 07, 2012

The Silk Road by Mark Norell & Denise Patry Leidy: Book Review

I don’t remember when I first heard of Silk route but my extended fascination began with it when I was doing my research about Xuanzang while helping out with the words for a brochure for the Nalanda Area TouristGuides as a part of the Explore Rural India project and then again while I wrote the booklet for the Xuanzang Memorial Museum. The Life Story Chapter and the travel Maps took significant research along with the debate for the exact duration that Xuanzang stayed/traveled in India during the 7th Century.

It was interesting since we were trying to reconstruct history based on two different translations of his original account that he wrote for Emperor Taizong in Chinese. And while reconstructing the story, we were counter checking the details for facts as interpreted in both versions of the translations and also with other historic and Tibetan accounts that were available from the time. All in all, an interesting experience and it consumed me with the desire to see this route that he wrote about so insistently and its hardship made his resolution to travel to India, the land of Buddha equally fervent.
Books are the next best things to actually traveling and till the time that I actually feel the journey in my soul, I am living it through the rustle of the pages in the glowing warmth of my bedside table lamp via the book: ‘The Silk Road’ by Mark Norell, Denise Patry Leidy with Laura Ross along with American Museum of Natural History
The book covered in detail the entire route along with the Map and geological features, identifying the old city that must have existed along with the place and culture that survives today. The cultural and archeological references were particularly intriguing for me since my previous research didn’t focus on these aspects of the silk route. This book is all facts and information but written with language and nuances that make it a very interesting read if you’d like a virtual tour of the area and I’d totally recommend it.

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