Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?

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Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow?s oil... Combines articles with comics chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the ?The ?Stans? where Rall had the temerity -or was it blustery stupidity?- to go back, including once with a ...

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Overview

Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow’s oil... Combines articles with comics chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the “The ‘Stans” where Rall had the temerity -or was it blustery stupidity?- to go back, including once with a group of listeners to his radio show, on a dare. It’s exotic adventure, satire and a fun way to find out more about a part of the world that looms in importance with its immense reserves of oil...

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Francisca Goldsmith
Rall, a cartoon journalist who is both well informed about cultural and political upheavals in the contemporary Middle East and Central Asia and an adventurous traveler (to put it mildly), offers a great read that is packed with facts, accessible dissection of thorny issues, and a narration that reads like suspense fiction. Moving between narrative and graphic novella interludes, he recounts several trips that he has made in the past decade to the five "Stans," those Central Asian nations that were so recently part of the USSR. Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan share not only a Soviet history from which aspects of today's governments seem loathe to break away, but also a far older history as substantial areas of the Silk Route. Here Rall takes readers on scary bus trips where armed guards threaten Westerners-especially Americans, of course-but relent if the bargaining is conducted properly. Diarrhea is a constant and bloody companion. Sports include a deadly horseback event in which opponents whip one another in the eyes. Rall manages to discuss it all with respect and understanding for the people of these countries, albeit not for their governments nor that of the United States. Politically savvy teens will be fully engaged and find a role model in Rall. Their parents can hope that modeling is limited to his art and incisive reporting and not his affection for exotic danger.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Part travelogue, part primer, Road meanders through the often-overlooked "stans" of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, with occasional excursions into the Xinjiang province of China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. From 1997 to 2002, Rall endured a series of treks through the deserts and mountains of Central Asia. He had a knack for showing up at exactly the wrong time: he traveled through Kashmir just as the Taliban entered Pakistan as part of General Pervez Musharraf's 1999 coup, only to return a year later to lead a group of tourists into the middle of a siege as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan invaded Osh. Interspersed throughout this text, Rall's editorial cartoons provide breathing spaces in the form of graphic novellas. The author's travels are rife with indigestion, extortion, and 120-degree heat. Nevertheless, his awestruck descriptions of the region's natural beauty, crowded bazaars, and chaotic sporting tournaments will make adventurous readers want to see it all firsthand. The author takes a serious subject and infuses it with humor, examining the corruption, poverty, and political struggles that define Central Asia. Each page includes at least one illustration-photographs and maps as well as cartoons-and the volume includes historical summaries and country profiles that contextualize the events depicted.-Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561634545
  • Publisher: N B M Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Twice winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Ted Rall is a syndicated editorial cartoonist and columnist for Universal Press Syndicate. His previous books include To Afghanistan and Back, Revenge of the Latchkey Kids and 2024.

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