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.
All-in-all, reading this book is a worthwhile trip.
Add to that his sharp insight into human nature combined with an excellent grasp of history, and you have one fantastic piece of journalism.
Anyway, MY recommendation is that you read this book, if you want to understand the world we live in today, and, most likely, it's future...
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 3 months ago by Lawrence of Stock
this is a great history and journey through the Balkans. very informative and well writtenPublished 7 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 14 months ago by Roger Gay
A good look at a historically complex area at the juncture of east and west. A peek at the political and cultural mixture of an area not generally known.Published on December 14, 2012 by Jim Flynn
The book arrived in perfect new condition. The price of $13.74 included tax and shipping, very affordable. Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by Jan Paulsen
This book is a sequel to Mr. Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts", but will stand alone for someone who as not read "Balkan Ghosts". Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by D. D. LeDu
When I first read about Mr. Kaplans Book "Eastward to Tartaty", I was thrilled to read it. I always dreamed of making travels through the Middle East and the Caucasus. Read morePublished on January 15, 2012 by MichalBabik
Robert Kaplan's book is a little long in the tooth now; it's a product of the 90s. The gritty flair of his writing, and his ability to capture small but telling vignettes, is well... Read morePublished on June 16, 2011 by Sylvia Weiser Wendel
I enjoyed getting a concise history each of the countries he traveled through, especially considering all the turmoil in the region right now. Read morePublished on April 10, 2011 by R. Wolford