Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 2009
The trade route that connected the East with the West was not a single road but a network of land and sea paths: the Yellow River to the Ganges, Athens to Beijing, the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf. Its travelers were as varied as the itineraries. This book for middle grade and up follows three different historical figures who took to the Silk Road for three very different reasons: Chinese Xuanzang, whose quest for original Buddhist documents led him to India in the 7th century C.E.; Ghenghis Khan, who used the route to found the world’s greatest empire 600 years later; and the budding merchant of Venice, Marco Polo, who in the late 13th century set off after the scent of money. Adventures on the Silk Road is loaded with photos, illustrations, maps, and oasis sidebars where the pilgrim reader can stop and ponder ancient curiosities as well as the origins of modern technologies. A good choice for middle school libraries, and an excellent historical supplement to contemporary hotspot discussions.