Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things: An Impossible Journey from Kabul to Chiapasby Gary Geddes
From the very first page, Gary Geddes’ Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things entices readers to join in an awe-inspiring, humbling, and intriguing journey. Written in the prose of a poet, this travel journal is not only a poignant account of one man’s experiences traversing the over 1,500-year-old journey of the Buddhist monk, Huishen. It is also an important and timely account of the conditions of war-torn Afghanistan, the vicious rule of the Taliban prior to 9-11, accompanied by a much needed history of inter-Muslim relations.
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I read to the end, seeking some revealing truth, some self discovery. All I discovered was how an obsession with a scrap of historical information, an unlimited budget, and plenty of time can give license to write a book. Previously know facts are revealed such as riding mass transit in the third world is uncomfortable, women in Afghanistan are oppressed, and refugees harbor bitterness. World events swirl by with minimal comment while the author meticulously records the name of every person with whom he had a conversation on the journey. I expected beautifully turned phrase from a poet but was quite disappointed. The only adventure is in the Author's occasionally fertile imagination, the remainder is mundane. Perhaps that is the point - A kingdom of ten thousand things is a lot about nothing.