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Eastward to Tartary is a fascinating exploration of places Kaplan has not written about in depth before: "Third World Europe" (Romania and Bulgaria), Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and the confusing conglomeration of countries and peoples in the Caucasus. Smart observations leap off almost every page. "In every Arab city I have ever visited, people were polite and honest, running after you to return a loose coin you have left at a soft-drinks stand," he writes. So why hasn't democracy taken hold in the Islamic world? "The very perfection of the Islamic belief system begot a naive absolutism that made the compromises of normal political life impossible." In an aside on ancient Assyria, Kaplan notes, "The theme is always the same: Highly militarized and centralized states and empires, so indomitable in one decade or generation, hack themselves to pieces or are themselves conquered in another." Then he reminds readers that Assyria once bestrode present-day Iraq and Syria--a "hauntingly appropriate" coincidence. And surprising facts abound: "Turkey represents the most stable governmental dynasty in world history, with the Turkish soldiery able to trace the roots of its power to the Roman emperors." Fans of Kaplan's previous books won't want to miss this one, and neither will new readers interested in this part of the world. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus is a documentary-style travelogue in three parts. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Martina A. Nicolls
took me to places that the American education system ignores, to our peril. I'm glad this book was recommended to me.Published 15 days ago by Lady Lee
Events have overturned the period of the book. It's interesting to see how prescient KaplAn was but not sufficiently interesting to justify finishing the book.Published 1 month ago by ecotraveler
As always, Kaplan goes deeper, draws on history and provokes thought about the future. Brings humanity to his subject matter.Published 1 month ago by careful consumer
Kaplan has a gift of geography and geopolitical insight. Every book I have read has been enlightening .Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Kaplan takes us where most have never been or dreamed of going, but these are pivotal states and regions with tons of history. Read morePublished 8 months ago by D. B. Hopkins
I just returned from the Caspian Sea in the region of the Caucusus mountains. Reading Kaplan while traveling in this region is rewarding on many levels. Great book.Published 12 months ago by Lawrence of Stock
this is a great history and journey through the Balkans. very informative and well writtenPublished 16 months ago by Bruce S. Owen
Robert D. Kaplan is a master of old school travel books, walking directly into history and culture and sharing it with you. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Roger Gay