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Empires of the Silk Road

by: Christopher I. Beckworth

Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 2009, $16.95, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-891-15034-5

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(2) page(s): 26

This 476-page 2009 ‘PROSE’ winner award for excellence in World History and Biography details the history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to very recent ones. “Scholarly, thoughtful, and in some places turning conventional wisdom on its head,” says Professor VH Mair of the University of Pennsylvania, it does so making Central Eurasia the central part of human history, not the backwater as it is usually portrayed.

Others agree with this professor from Pennsylvania’s Indiana University whose expertise is Central Eurasian studies. An earlier volume titled The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia does set the stage for this book where the author provides new ideas and information that Central Eurasians are not and were not predatory raiders but simply traders along the Silk Road. He says they led the world economically and revolutionized Eurasian civilization in their time.

This book tells about the Sythians, Atilla the Hun, the Turks, and Tibetans; Mongols, too who led their world economically, scientifically, and artistically. It puts them in a historical framework and provides new understandings about them and how they revolutionized Eurasian civilizations. It is from the Bronze Age to the present.

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