Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia Paperback – Illustrated, 27 March 2006
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'Highly readable and elegant' (Times Literary Supplement)
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- Publisher : John Murray; Revised ed. edition (27 March 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0719564484
- ISBN-13 : 978-0719564482
- Item Weight : 206 g
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 1.91 x 19.69 cm
- Country of Origin : United Kingdom
- Best Sellers Rank: #102,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The author has done a fine job.
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The main protagonists in the book are explorers, archaeologists, adventurous historians and soldiers with interest in these field who ,in the late 19th century, sough for their countries the artefacts and literature from the early Buddhist mini states that circled the Takla Makan dessert today in western China and a probably but not mentioned in this book some earlier materials. If you knew nothing of this story then I'm sure you would have found this book 5 star but unfortunately this is the second book I have read covering the topic so I didn't get buzz from learning something completely new. Hopkirk does add however plenty of details about the protagonists that I had been unaware of and did broaden my knowledge of this period of history.
This was my 3rd Hopkirk book and the two books I have read previously were gripping so I don't doubt that this book will rate highly for anyone who has read any of his other titles.
Not as long as "The Great Game" but still worth the money.
Literally thousands of artefacts were discovered by these intrepid individuals and mostly removed to museums in the west, notably but not exclusively to London, St Petersburg and Berlin. The stories of the extreme hardships that accompanied these expeditions are gripping, often awe-inducing. But Hopkirk doesn't neglect the moral issues: the vast majority of the items removed belong - spiritually at least - to China. The question is: had China been left to its own devices would these items have been recovered for the pleasure and education of later generations, or were the explorers saving them from degenerating to dust, never to be seen? In short, were the Foreign Devils saviours or criminals? Even if the reader comes down, as Hopkirk seems to himself, on the side of the former, there remain other serious issues; the British Museum, which displays a mere fragment of its huge collection, comes in for particular opprobrium.
This is more than just a vicarious adventure story; with the romance of the Silk Road that drew Marco Polo and so many questing travellers at an end, the reader will be left with much food for thought.
The items taken ended up in museums all over the world but the question remains were the activities of these men acts of looting or the saving of relics that would be destroyed by the environment or the ignorant.
Very well written and a good read.
A 5 star book with 1 star maps -they are apallingly amateurish and useless
The book is well written, it flows through in a sequential manner and is easy and compulsive reading. What a great book.