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The Road to Oxiana Paperback – May 18, 2007
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About the Author
Robert Byron was born in England in 1905 into a family distantly related to Lord Byron. He attended Eton and Merton College, Oxford, and wrote several travel books before his untimely death in 1941, while serving as a correspondent for a London newspaper during World War II.
Top Customer Reviews
This edition has the added bonus of a Preface by Rory Stewart, recent author of THE PLACES IN BETWEEN and THE PRINCE OF THE MARSHES, about Afghanistan and Iraq respectively.
My only quibble with this edition is with the photographs. They are printed on the same paper stock as the text. The publisher can do better than this with a classic.
I urge you to read this book. My copy is a small edition brought out by a now defunct publisher back in the 90s, and I waited about ten years before I got around to reading it. DO NOT take this long! If you are a reader who wants more than just the latest best seller, and you don't shy away from learning - this book is for you!
For those interested in reading high travel literature, or about the history of Jerusalem, Baghdad, Syria, Afghanistan and Persia, this book is wonderful. Because Byron was a highly cultured man, he doesn't merely relate a catalogue of sights he's seen, people he has met, and things he's done. His memoir is as much a survey of the history and anthropology of the places he visited as it is "travel book." Many of the monuments he visited are victims of savagery, and the lead Afghanistan had over Persia in those days in terms of modernization has been lost, perhaps forever.
So, the book is to be savored, since Bryon writes well, and is a perceptive observer, particularly of the status of the antiquities in the region, much of which cannot be really visited today by Westerners. In one case, the Buddhist statues at Bamian, which were viewed as "idols" by the Taliban, and destroyed; they will never be viewed by anyone again. Of course, in reading the book, part of the irony is that Bryon didn't think much of the Buddhist statues either! Specifically: "Neither has any artistic value. But one could bear that; it is their negation of sense, the lack of any pride in their monstrous flaccid bulk, that sickens.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of his personal interactions with certain people and officials are amusing and quaintly anachronistic, but on the whole, it seems like his trip was more bother than it was... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Francis Deighan
This book might have been groundbreaking when it was first published, but the problem is it isn't today. And I am reading it today. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jamie
Bear in mind it is a diary of one man's travels before the world wars. Tis almost quaint.Published 10 months ago by C. A. Wise
Wanted to read this again, as the library copy disappeared.
Ordered a copy for a friend, &, opening several pages at random,
I realised I need another for myself. Read more