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Posted April 19, 2005
a little disappointing
The title of the book had so much promise, and yet the actual content was so far from the title. As someone who has read a great deal on Central Asia and her history, I found this book to be very informative and light reading for the average person. Not too many people are familiar with Uzbekistan (or the rest of Central Asia for that matter) and Bissell's prose not only informs but entertains those with such a knowledge gap. I read this book as part of a directed study. The other books, listed in my recommended readings, catered a bit more to the theme of classic writing on Central Asia. I doubt very much Bissell will ever reach the distinction of 'classic' concerning Central Asian literature, though he certainly provides enough information for Central Asia 101.
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Posted December 1, 2004
Four stars if it stuck to the title subject
I enjoyed reading this book, but it really didn't tell me a lot about the Aral Sea. In fact, I don't think the author even set eyes on any (current or former) part of the sea until the last fifty pages of the book. I learned a lot about Cental Asian history, I learned some things about some major cities in Uzbekistan, and I learned a whole lot more about the author than I ever, ever wanted to know. I suppose other people will criticize the author for this, but I really enjoyed the parts in which he points-out mistakes other writers (such as Robert Kaplan) have made in writing about Central Asia. The book introduces a lot of characters, then never lets you know what happened to them. Most of these are only important from the author's standpoint, but if he's going to mention them, I'd appreciate his telling us what finally happened to them. I'd have enjoyed the book more if it either filled-in these areas, or stuck to current-day Uzbekistan and the Aral Sea. As the book is written, it's too little about other people, too little about Uzbekistan, and too much about the author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2009
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