The Silk Road, which linked imperial Rome and distant China, was once the greatest thoroughfare on earth. Along it travelled precious cargoes of silk, gold and ivory, as well as revolutionary new ideas. Its oasis towns blossomed into thriving centres of Buddhist art and learning. In time it began to decline. The traffic slowed, the merchants left and finally its towns vanished beneath the desert sands to be forgotten for a thousand years. But legends grew up of lost cities filled with treasures and guarded by demons. In the early years of the last century foreign explorers began to investigate these legends, and very soon an international race began for the art treasures of the Silk Road. Huge wall paintings, sculptures and priceless manuscripts were carried away, literally by the ton, and are today scattered through the museums of a dozen countries. Peter Hopkirk tells the story of the intrepid men who, at great personal risk, led these long-range archaeological raids, incurring the undying wrath of the Chinese.
A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China
Author: Eric Enno Tamm
On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg, charged by Czar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynastys sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. The last czarist agent in the so-called Great Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of Chinas modernization, from education reform and foreign investment to Tibets struggle for independence. On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boards that same train, intent on following in Mannerheims footsteps. Initially banned from China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces Mannerheims route across the Silk Road, discovering both eerie similarities and seismic differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today and a century ago. Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into Chinas past that raise troubling questions about its future. Can the Communist Party truly open China to the outside world yet keep Western ideas such as democracy and freedom at bay, just as Qing officials mistakenly believed? What can reform during the late Qing Dynasty teach us about the spectacular transformation of China today? As Confucius once wrote, “Study the past if you would divine the future, and that is just what Tamm does in The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds.
The relationship between man and horse on the Eurasian steppe gave rise to a succession of rich nomadic cultures. Among them were the Mongols of the thirteenth century – a small tribe, which, under the charismatic leadership of Genghis Khan, created the largest contiguous land empire in history. Inspired by the extraordinary life nomads still lead today, Tim Cope embarked on a journey that hadn't been successfully completed since those times: to travel on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary. From horse-riding novice to travelling three years and 10,000 kilometres on horseback, accompanied by his dog Tigon, Tim learnt to fend off wolves and would-be horse-thieves, and grapple with the extremes of the steppe as he crossed sub-zero plateaux, the scorching deserts of Kazakhstan and the high-mountain passes of the Carpathians. Along the way, he was taken in by people who taught him the traditional ways and told him their recent history: Stalin's push for industrialisation brought calamity to the steepe and forced collectivism that in Kazakhstan alone led to the loss of several million livestock and the starvation of more than a million nomads. Today Cope bears witness to how the traditional ways hang precariously in the balance in the post-Soviet world.
The other report is published by the U. S. State Department and is more "committed," but only as far as the national interest of the world's only su perpower is concerned. Therefore, the State Department report must be read while keeping in mind the state of U. S. relations with the countries concerned. This report is accompanied by the so-called "certification" process, whose ar bitrary character has often been stressed. For instance, Iran, a country whose determination to fight the drug transit on its territory is well-known - more than 100 Iranian law enforcement agents die every year as a restult - was removed from the "blacklist" of "decertified countries" in the spring of 1999, precisely as it was inaugurating a policy of opening itself to external influ ence, including that of the United States. In retrospect, this demonstrates that the U. S. government had decertified Iran in past years because it was viewed as an Islamic and terrorist country, not because of its supposed involvement in drug trafficking. Neither does the last State Department report explain why Haji Ayub Afridi, a major Pakistani drug baron, who had voluntarily surrendered to U. S. authorities, returned to Pakistan in 1999 after spending a mere three and a half years in a U. S. prison.
When women from different parts of the world get together around a dining table what do they do? They tell stories. Each person sparks memories and imagination in the others until experience and invention are stitched into a rich patchwork. Join the Dining Table Writers; Vim, Urmilla, Rose, Marlene, Ki, Isabelle and Denise with their tales of a right of passage in traditional Sri Lanka, the art of making dahi in rural India and mysterious events in New Zealand. Uncover family secrets in a wardrobe in Mexico. Find out how a marriage is saved by timely advice from a Filipino nun, how living with the man you love in Lyon is quite a different matter from being a bride in rural Zimbabwe, and what one Oxford student came up against when seeking to visit the capital of seventeenth century Persia. Each story in this collection represents a highly individual interpretation of a situation or relationship where one culture bumps into another and the world tilts, if ever so slightly. Patchwork is the result of collaboration by seven writers and the proceeds will go to the Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, a charity which awards grants to women from developing countries.
To understand business and its political, cultural, and economic context, it helps to view it historically, yet most business histories look no further back than the nineteenth century. The full sweep of business history actually begins much earlier, with the initial cities of Mesopotamia. In the first book to describe and explain these origins, Roberts depicts the society of ancient traders and consumers, tracing the roots of modern business and underscoring the relationship between early and modern business practice. Roberts's narrative begins before business, which he defines as selling to voluntary buyers at a profit. Before business, he shows, the material conditions and concepts for the pursuit of profit did not exist, even though trade and manufacturing took place. The earliest business, he suggests, arose with the long distance trade of early Mesopotamia, and expanded into retail, manufacturing and finance in these command economies, culminating in the Middle Eastern empires. (Part One) But it was the largely independent rise of business, money, and markets in classical Greece that produced business much as we know it. Alexander the Great's conquests and the societies that his successors created in their kingdoms brought a version of this system to the old Middle Eastern empires, and beyond. (Part Two) At Rome this entrepreneurial market system gained important new features, including business corporations, public contracting, and even shopping malls. The story concludes with the sharp decline of business after the 3rd century CE. (Part Three) In each part, Roberts portrays the major new types of business coming into existence. He weaves these descriptions into a narrative of how the prevailing political, economic, and social culture shaped the nature and importance of business and the status, wealth, and treatment of business people. Throughout, the discussion indicates how much (and how little) business has changed, provides a clear picture of what business actually is, presents a model for understanding the social impact of business as a whole, and yields stimulating insights for public policy today.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is renowned the world over for his unswerving dedication to non-violence in his efforts to achieve justice for Tibet, yet the Chinese call him 'a wolf in monk's robes'. He is fourteenth in a lineage whose history is every bit as bloody and intrigue-laden as that of the Papacy. The sixth Dalai Lama was a notorious womaniser, four successive ones were almost certainly murdered and the present Dalai Lama has himself been the target of attacks that resulted in the brutal murder of a close colleague THE LIVES OF THE DALAI LAMA gives a fast-paced and absorbing insight into the real story of Tibetan culture, politics and spirituality, and shows the Dalai Lama as a man of courage, compassion and honesty.
Part travelogue, part narrative history, Colour unlocks the history of the colours of the rainbow, and reveals how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. This remarkable book remembers a time when red paint was really the colour of blood, when orange was the poison pigment, blue as expensive as gold, and yellow made from the urine of cows force-fed with mangoes. It looks at how green was carried by yaks along the silk road, and how an entire nation was founded on the colour purple. Exciting, richly informative and always surprising, Colour lifts the lid on the historical palette and unearths an astonishing wealth of stories about the quest for colours, and our efforts to understand them.