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Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central Asia Hardcover – May 21, 2013


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Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central Asia + Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia + Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300184360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300184365
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fast-paced, intricate and humanistic work of reportage... Restless Valley is filled with unforgettable characters, eloquent vignettes and searing imagery... starts to read like a novel" -- Asian Review of Books

“…sharp and entertaining… [The stories] are vigorous and bold.” – The Wall Street Journal

“The weird, the strange, the corrupt, and the grand are all evident in Philip Shishkin’s Restless Valley. …he relentlessly pursues and then tells the stories of the most corrupt and powerful and also the most sincere and admirable characters who inhabit these mountains.”—Ahmed Rashid, the New York Review of Books

"Shishkin's book reads like a novel but is the stuff of hard won journalism. Central Asia finally gets the treatment it damn well deserves."—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan

"This one's a thriller... exciting and absorbing" -- Los Angeles Review of Books

"Philip Shishkin illuminates this tale with uncommon skill. Whether curious tourists or students of 21st-century geopolitics, readers would be hard-pressed to find a better guide."—Andrew Meier, author of Black Earth: A Journey through Russia after the Fall

"Rarely does an outsider get to experience Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as intimately as Shishkin, [...] who has made his way into virtually every turbulent moment in the recent history of these countries" -- Foreign Affairs

"You'll finish the book with a greater understanding of Central Asia and the feeling that you yourself have been on a journey that you'll never forget, and made some friends along the way.... a mesmerizing read." -- Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice

"Shishkin shines as a reporter" -- Foreign Policy magazine

"Absorbing.... an investigative eye for detail, probing interviews, biting wit..." -- The Atlantic sister publication qz.com

"Enlightening... Shishkin vividly explores, through first-hand experience, interviews, and public record, the sort of events which could fuel a dozen action movies... A fascinating exposé..." -- Publishers Weekly

"skilled reportage in which he displays a fine eye for detail and particularly for the human touches that underscore major events" --The National

Book Description

An award-winning reporter provides a vivid account of Central Asia’s wild recent history, its role as a staging ground for U.S. military actions in nearby Afghanistan, and its struggles against violence, corruption, and the ruinous heroin industry.


More About the Author

Philip Shishkin is an award-winning journalist who spent a decade as a staff correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, reporting from all over the world. He ran WSJ's Baghdad bureau during the height of Iraq's sectarian war, and has written extensively about Turkey, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Central Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

A fellow at the Asia Society, Philip has also written for Newsweek, Foreign Policy, World Affairs Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg. He now lives in Beijing.

Customer Reviews

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Very well written!
Barbara Wetzell
Very well written, informative, and insightful look at recent events in a part of the world that few Americans know anything about.
john w. townsend
In every chapter, he gives two sides of the story leaving the reader with food for thought.
Nodir

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Himes on July 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Kyrgyzstan during the 2010 Revolution, I can tell Peter Shishkin knows his stuff about Central Asia. I'm only ~70% through the book but it has provided a great deal of insight and information that I would have never known without reading, even though I learned Kyrgyz during my time there. A great work on Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nodir on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If it was not for Philip Shishkin's language skills and cultural background, Restless Valley perhaps would not be as genuine and forthright, informative and multifaceted.

As other reviewers noted, there are limited publications covering Central Asia. So when I learned about the upcoming release of Restless Valley, I signed up to get a copy as soon as it was available on Amazon. While I had not known Philip Shishkin personally prior to reading this book, reading Restless Valley felt as if Philip was an old friend telling anecdotes and stories about people that we know in common.

Covering political intrigues, corrupt schemes at the top level, and revolutions mostly in Kyrgyzstan, the author does take the reader on a political travelogue to Uzbekistan, as well as to neighboring Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and briefly to Kazakhstan. He invites the reader to join his private conversations with top government officials and human rights activists, with law enforcement officials and outlaws, with journalists and ordinary people. The transitions from one chapter to another in the book are smooth, usually through an intriguing story that connects at-first-sight irrelevant stories to each other.

When it comes to ethnic conflicts, it's hard to be both truthful and unbiased. Philip Shishkin does manage that fine line in his analysis of the ethnic conflict between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. In every chapter, he gives two sides of the story leaving the reader with food for thought.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Central Asia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Denis I-S on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I began reading this book with some trepidation, as so much of the scarce writing on Central Asia is badly written and/or distorted (by ignorance, by political or cultural biases, by academese, etc), but it's genuinely good. Having lived in Kyrgyzstan during and immediately after some of the events described in the book, it was a joy to read such a well-crafted narrative that doesn't twist the complicated reality of the place to achieve that narrative. A riveting book that finally gives me a book to recommend without reservations to people who want to understand Central Asia better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris on October 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is good that Shishkin wrote this book and added a quality volume to the remarkably small number of recent books about Central Asia. I really did enjoy the book; my one criticism is that his language becomes exhausting rather quickly--too many colloquialisms and cheap phrases. If the reader can move past this (or accept it, as I did) he/she will experience a fantastic history of the past 8 or so years in Kyrgyzstan. And what characters you will meet!

3/5 stars from me. I would be willing to pick up another book by Shishkin.
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